largest forest certification program, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®,
continues to grow, and is now considered responsible for positively impacting
management on nearly every one of the 540 million acres of private forestland
in the United States.
Participants in the program produce the lions share of forest products
made in this country, from dimensional lumber to office paper, from newsprint
to flooring, and practically everything in between. SFI program participants
plant more than 650 million new trees every year1.7 million per
day. They also oversee the natural regeneration of millions of new trees
But it is worth a look at where the program came from to fully appreciate
where the program is going.
Inspired by the 1987 sustainability report of the World Commission on
Environment and Development (later adopted by the 1992 Rio Earth Summit),
a group of foresters, conservationists, scientists, landowners and other
stakeholders came together to develop the SFI program. They felt there
had to be a way to further ensure protection of the environment without
sacrificing the ability to meet growing demand for wood and paper products.
The group created a comprehensive program that integrates the perpetual
growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants,
soil, water and air quality. Based on the premise that responsible environmental
behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist to everyones
benefit, the program has been going strong for almost a decade.
During this time, the program has kicked out members for failure to comply,
developed an independent third-party certification system, created an
independent governing body of environmentalists, academics and forest
industry leaders called the Sustainable Forestry Board to oversee and
manage the standard, trained over 75,000 logging professionals in the
principles of sustainable forestry, and developed a rigorous on-product
labeling program. Most recently, SFI program participants joined the U.S.
government in pledging to use their combined strengths to stamp out illegal
logging here and around the world.
And the program grows. Already supported by 40 conservation groups, 18
state legislatures and seven major labor organizations, the SFI program
is looking to do for purchasing wood and paper products what it has already
done for making those products. The more consumers seek out certified
forest products, either from the SFI program or equivalent standards,
the faster and farther the concept of sustainable forestry can spread.
And that would truly be a good sign somebody cares.
Sustainable Forestry Leadership