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Social Responsibility

In today’s global markets, SFI certification allows consumers to make buying decisions that have a positive impact on people and communities at home and abroad.

The SFI program only certifies lands in the United States and Canada, where social concerns are addressed through extensive forest regulations, effective enforcement and an open, democratic governance system.

The SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules includes provisions so activities in SFI-certified forests respect the rights of workers and labor representatives in a manner that encompasses the intent of International Labour Organization (ILO) core conventions on freedom of association, right to organization, collective bargaining and discrimination.

Program participants must comply with social laws, such as those covering civil rights, equal employment opportunities, anti discrimination and anti-harassment measures, workers’ compensation, indigenous peoples’ rights, workers’ and communities’ right to know, prevailing wages, workers’ right to organize, and occupational health and safety.

SFI program participants must also take steps to show that fiber they buy offshore is from responsible and legal sources. This includes addressing issues such as workers’ health and safety, fair labor practices, indigenous peoples’ rights, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment measures, prevailing wages, and workers’ right to organize.

The SFI program addresses social issues in many other ways:

  • The SFI Inc. Board of Directors represents social, environmental and economic interests equally. Six of its 18 members are from community or social interest groups such as universities, labor, family forest owners or government agencies.
  • The SFI Standard is developed through an open, transparent process that involves the public and stakeholders, and is one of the most extensive public review processes of any forest certification standard.
  • Program participants with management responsibilities on public lands must participate in land and resource management planning processes. They must also confer with affected Aboriginal peoples to understand and respect traditional forest-related knowledge; identify and protect spiritually, historically, or culturally important sites; and address the sustainable use of non-timber forest products of value to indigenous peoples.
  • SFI Implementation Committees work with local groups and agencies to provide leadership and share best practices to improve forest management on both certified and uncertified lands in North America. The committees provide information and answer questions about local forestry operations and participate in community outreach.
  • Organizations and forest managers wishing to make public claims regarding their SFI forest certification must submit a summary of the independent audit findings to be posted on the SFI website.
  • Program participants provide recreational opportunities on their lands, along with tours and educational programs.

In 2007, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute released a toolkit to help corporate managers define and implement sound procurement policies when buying forest products. Positive attributes listed for SFI procurement objectives include the fact they address social issues.


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