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SFI appoints Jacob Handel as senior director, Indigenous relations

June 21, 2022  By Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Photo: Sustainable Forestry Initiative

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has appointed Jacob Handel as senior director, Indigenous relations. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in engaging with Indigenous people and groups to SFI’s Indigenous relations team.

“SFI is committed to building and promoting forest-focused collaborations that recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. “Building strong and meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples is a priority for SFI, and I’m so happy to have Jacob in this role as part of SFI’s senior leadership team so that we can continue to grow, engage, and strengthen our network of Indigenous partners across the U.S. and Canada.”

Handel has more than 20 years of experience in the environmental field, Indigenous and stakeholder engagement, strategy development, regulatory processes, and negotiation. Prior to joining SFI, he was an Aboriginal Affairs Advisor at a leading Canadian paper and forest products manufacturing company. His past experience also includes working for governments, the energy sector, and nonprofits.

Indigenous communities began certifying to the SFI Forest Management Standard in 2010. Today, 40 Indigenous groups across Canada and the U.S. have certified over 4 million hectares (10 million acres) of land to the SFI standard.


Handel, who was born and raised in Alberta, continues to live rurally, north of Edmonton. He is Métis, one of a group of people who have both Indigenous and European ancestry. The Métis are one of the three main groups of aboriginal peoples recognized by Canada’s government, along with Inuit and First Nations (who are Indigenous peoples who are not Métis or Inuit). Jacob’s family tree includes a diverse mix of Métis, First Nations, and European ancestors.

Learn more: https://forests.org/sfi-welcomes-jacob-handel-as-senior-director-indigenous-relations/


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