FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2012
MILWAUKEE, WI – William (Bill) Banzhaf received the Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award for Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability today for his dedication and diplomacy in showing all interested stakeholders how they can work together to achieve sustainable forest management.
The award, created by Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and International Paper, honors Dr. Sharon Haines, who was International Paper’s director of the Office of Sustainability before she passed away in 2007. It recognizes individuals or teams who promote sustainable forestry concepts and achievements.
“Sharon Haines was a very good friend so this award is a special honor for me,” Banzhaf said at the SFI Annual Conference. “Sharon and I worked together to identify common interests and facilitate understanding so the forest products industry an environmental organizations could work together – and this is the key to SFI’s strength. I have always admired the willingness of industry and environmental CEOs who work progressively for better practices.”
Banzhaf, who is retired and lives in Manistique and Marquette, MI, began his career in Milwaukee. He was Executive Vice-President of the Society of American Foresters in 1995 when he was invited to join an expert review panel offering advice during the early development of the SFI third-party forest certification program. He served on the panel until 2000 when he was elected to a governing board set up to control the SFI standard and certification procedures. The board selected Banzhaf as President and CEO of the new Sustainable Forestry Board when it became a non-profit charitable organization in 2002. He retired in 2007, shortly after SFI Inc. was created as a fully independent non-profit to maintain, oversee and improve all aspects of the internationally recognized SFI program.
“International Paper is pleased to support this annual award honoring a dear colleague, Sharon Haines. Her work was an excellent catalyst for International Paper’s global sustainability efforts underway today.” said Teri Shanahan, International Paper’s Vice President Sustainability. “International Paper remains firmly committed to protecting the forests of the earth, and we are proud to recognize individuals who share that passion.”
Kathy Abusow, who became President and CEO of SFI Inc. when Banzhaf retired, said “Bill helped build SFI’s foundation for the collaborative and inclusive approach that allows us to achieve so much today. His decisions and actions in 2002 set the stage for an independent certification program that has improved conservation practices on the ground and provided value to the marketplace.”
The Dr. Sharon Haines memorial award is open to teams or individuals from either an SFI program participant or a close partner who demonstrate exemplary work in developing, implementing and promoting sustainability in their organization, working collaboratively with external stakeholders, leading by example, and/or broadening the understanding of sustainable forestry concepts and achievements. In 2009, Lawrence (Larry) A. Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund – the top-rated environmental charity in the U.S. for the last 11 years as ranked by Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy – was the first award recipient. Selzer is Vice-Chair of the SFI Board of Directors.