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SFI launches standards revision process


October 25, 2019
By Sustainable Forestry Initiative

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) launched the process to revise and update the SFI standard requirements at the SFI Annual Conference today. A conference workshop marked the official start of the revision process with over 200 members of the SFI community taking part.

“The SFI Standards are developed through an open and inclusive process involving the many different people and groups who know and care about our forests including forest sector representatives, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc.

This diversity of stakeholders represents the users of the three SFI standards, including the SFI Forest Management Standard, which covers almost 370 million acres/150 million hectares of SFI‑certified forestland in the U.S. and Canada. Tens of millions more acres are positively influenced by the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. Finally, more than 2,300 company sites around the world use the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard to make SFI claims or to use SFI on-product labels demonstrating their support for responsible forest management.

SFI’s international recognition is increased by the endorsement of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). SFI’s standard revision process is aligned with the PEFC revision process.

The transparent process of revising the SFI standards is overseen by the SFI Board of Directors and the SFI Resources Committee. This diverse membership is also reflected in the volunteers who make up the three SFI Standard Revision Task Groups. The Task Groups are established for the duration of the standard revision until completion in 2021. They prepare the first and subsequent drafts of the revised SFI standards for review by the SFI Resources Committee and ultimate approval of the SFI Board of Directors.

SFI’s External Review Panel, an independent panel drawn from academia, state, provincial, and federal agencies and conservation organizations ensures the development and revision of the SFI standards embodies a transparent and inclusive process that addresses all comments submitted. All comments and how they are addressed are publicly posted on the SFI website throughout the standard revision process.

The standard revision process includes two inclusive public comment periods with the first beginning October 23, 2019 and running through November 22, 2019. During this period, respondents can suggest improvements to the current 2015-2019 SFI Standard Program requirements. The second public comment period begins May 4, 2020 and runs for 60 days. During this period the any member of the public can solicit comments on a working draft of the new SFI standard requirements.

The process includes 10 public standards development workshops across the U.S. and Canada including a dedicated workshop for Indigenous Peoples and a facilitated webinar workshop to accommodate those stakeholders that cannot make any of the regional workshops.

SFI Inc. completes a periodic review of its standards requirements and supporting documents consistent with international protocols for forest certification. SFI requirements for forest management, fiber sourcing, chain-of-custody and certified sourcing all require independent third-party audits by accredited certification bodies. This marks the fifth public review of the SFI standards.