The three SFI certification standards – forest management, chain of custody and fiber sourcing – all require third-party audits to maintain an internationally recognized and trusted standard of practice.
Organizations or agencies that own or manage forestland are eligible to apply for certification to the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules. This includes companies, universities, conservation groups, government agencies, timber investment management organizations and real estate investment trusts. An organization seeking SFI forest management certification must implement all relevant requirements set out in the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard.
Any company that processes or trades SFI-certified forest products, including manufacturers of forest products, paper merchants, brokers, printers and publishers, is eligible to seek certification to the SFI 2015-2019 SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard. The company must have processes in place to track the source of its raw materials, such as inventory control, employee training, reporting and invoicing.
There are two ways to utilize the SFI certified sourcing label:
- Primary producers – manufacturers sourcing more than half of their fiber directly from the forest – must meet the requirements of the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard. Primary manufacturers wishing to make a claim of SFI Certified Sourcing or use the SFI Certified Sourcing Label must also satisfy the requirements of Appendix 1 of the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard.
- Secondary producers – such as furniture manufacturers sourcing more than half of their fiber from secondary sources – who want to make a claim of SFI Certified Sourcing or use the SFI Certified Fiber Sourcing label must satisfy the requirements of Appendix 1 of the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard. This means they account for at least two-thirds of their fiber as meeting SFI certified sourcing requirements – as noted above. The other one-third cannot come from controversial sources, which include illegal logging and areas without effective social laws.
There is a growing trend, especially with chain-of-custody certification, to be certified to more than one certification program. This expands the supply chain and provides more options to customers. Some certification bodies can certify to more than one standard during a single audit, reducing time and costs.