What is certification?​

Forest certification is a well-established and important tool which enables conscious consumers to choose responsibly-sourced wood-based products. For Sappi North America, forest certification provides assurances to our consumers that the wood fiber used to manufacture our products originates from responsibly managed forests and has been legally harvested in accordance with sound environmental practices, and that social aspects such as indigenous rights have been taken into account.  Forest certification underpins our commitment to continuous improvement, our focus on being an environmentally responsible company operating according to the principles of sustainable forest management and our efforts to provide our customers with products that are responsibly sourced.

The leading global forestry certification systems recognize that sustainably-managed forests make vital contributions to society by providing economic, environmental and social benefits indispensable to our quality of life.  These certification systems ensure that responsible forest management practices are implemented in the forest and that wood fiber from certified forests can be identified throughout the supply chain. Certification systems establish specific wood fiber sourcing, production and marketing requirements for certified organizations; provide a framework for third-party annual auditing by accredited certification bodies; and govern the use of promotional and product claims and logos.

As is the case with many consumer products, multiple certification options exist for forest products, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) program, the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC). Each of these third-party forestry certification systems require annual audits. A certificate from one of these systems indicates conformance to the certification standards, thereby assuring that woodfiber used in the products originates from well-managed forests. For more information, please refer to Sappi’s Forest Certification FAQ.

Certification Programs

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®). Established in 1994 by an international group of timber users, traders and representatives from human rights and environmental organizations, the FSC is a non-profit entity that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests. This was achieved through the creation of an auditing system to inspect and verify that a forest was operated in accordance with FSC standards. FSC independently tracks, traces and identifies wood fibers from the forest through every step of the procurement, manufacturing and printing process, confirming that each supplier in the chain follows rigorous controls, management and reporting practices.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI®) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management.  SFI is governed by a three-chamber Board of Directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. The SFI program includes a system of objectives and performance measures which integrate the sustained growing and harvesting of trees and the protection of water and soil quality, biological diversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value. It is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist. SFI program participants practice sustainable forestry on all lands they manage and influence millions of additional acres by training loggers and foresters to effectively implement best management practices to protect soil and water quality, supporting research, and broadening the practice of sustainable forestry through landowner outreach and community involvement. The SFI program includes a comprehensive set of standards covering forest management, wood and fiber procurement practices, and the manufacturing and sale of forest-based products in the United States and Canada.

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. Established in 1999 by small family forest owners from Europe, PEFC is comprised of a global alliance of national forest certification systems and is the largest forest certification system in the world. PEFC endorses national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions that meet specific global criteria. PEFC believes that forest certification needs to be local; this is why PEFC chooses to work with national organizations to advance responsible forestry. PEFC provides forest owners, from the large to the small, with a tool to demonstrate their responsible practices, while empowering consumers and companies to buy sustainably. By recognizing and endorsing more than 39 certification systems globally, including the SFI program and the Canadian Standards Association, PEFC has developed a system of mutually recognized certifications where similar rules and standards are shared and implemented globally.

The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS®) is a program designed to sustain forests, watershed and healthy habitats through private stewardship. Currently, ATFS is a network of 74,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 20.5 million acres of forestland in 44 states. Administered by the American Forest Foundation, ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States. For 75 years, ATFS has enhanced the quality of America’s woodlands by giving forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive. Stemming the loss of America’s woodlands is vital to our country’s clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and producing the jobs, wood and paper products we all need. The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) certification program is internationally endorsed by PEFC.

Sappi promotes an inclusive approach to forestry certification and educates customers and end-users on the value that certification brings. Certification provides assurances that our wood fiber is sourced from well-managed forests, through sustainable forestry practices to ensure that biodiversity, soil and water quality, forest health and the needs of local communities are met for current and future generations. Forestry is an art and a science that involves management of the forest and people in order to achieve balanced objectives.
Rebecca Barnard, Manager, Forestry Certification
Sappi Certifications
Our Cloquet, Somerset and Westbrook Mills are FSC®, SFI® and PEFC™ chain of custody certified (FSC-C014955). Sappi’s Matane Mill is FSC® and PEFC™ chain of custody certified (FSC-C151943).