INDEPENDENT CERTIFICATION BODIES
A cornerstone of the SFI program is third-party independent certification, which verifies that the requirements set out in the relevant SFI standard and supporting documents have been met.
Certification bodies must complete an accreditation program before they are approved to perform certification audits to any of the SFI Standards. A list of accredited certification bodies is posted below.
Organizations and forest managers wishing to make public claims regarding their SFI certification for forest management or fiber sourcing must first submit a summary of audit findings performed by an accredited third-party certification body. The summaries are prepared by the certification body and include general descriptions of conformities, non-conformities, corrective action plans, opportunities for improvement, and exceptional practices.
A certificate for forest management, fiber sourcing or chain of custody is issued only after the independent certification body determines a specific operation conforms to the relevant SFI requirements. Annual surveillance audits are mandatory on all certified operations. Full recertification audits are also required: for forest management and fiber sourcing certificates, every three years; and for chain-of-custody certificates, every five years.
As PEFC’s National Governing Body for the United States, SFI Inc issues annual notification contracts with accredited certification bodies for the PEFC chain of custody standard applied in the U.S. and the SFI Forest Management standard in both the U.S. and Canada.
Competent, accredited Independent certification bodies evaluate planning, procedures and processes in the forest, in the mill or in the plant to ensure they conform to SFI requirements – whether it is for the Forest Management, Fiber Sourcing or Chain-of-Custody Standard.
ACCREDITATION OF INDEPENDENT CERTIFICATION BODIES
The SFI program has several layers of oversight to support a rigorous and independent third-party certification audit. Certification bodies performing audits to the SFI Forest Management, Fiber Sourcing or Chain-of-Custody Standards must be independent, objective and qualified. Depending on the SFI Standard in question, these auditors must have completed an accreditation program through one or more of the following independent, international accreditation bodies:
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB)
- Standards Council of Canada (SCC)
ANSI, ANAB and SCC are national members of the International Accreditation Forum.
ANAB has developed an accreditation program for certification bodies conducting audits to the SFI Forest Management Standard and Fiber Sourcing Standard. Once a certification body successfully completes the accreditation application program, which includes an on-site audit and witness assessment process, it is granted accreditation by ANAB’s Accreditation Council. This gives it the right to use the ANAB accreditation mark on certificates it issues.
ANSI has developed an accreditation program for certification bodies conducting audits to Appendix 1 of the Fiber Sourcing Standard (Rules for Use of SFI Certified Sourcing Label) and to the Chain-of-Custody Standard. Once the certification body successfully completes ANSI’s accreditation application program, which includes an on-site and witness assessment process, it is granted accreditation by ANSI’s Accreditation Council. This gives it the right to use the ANSI accreditation symbol on certificates it issues.
SCC delivers accreditations for certification bodies wishing to perform audits to the SFI Forest Management Standard; to the Fiber Sourcing Standard and its Appendix 1 (Rules for Use of SFI Certified Sourcing Label); and to the Chain-of-Custody Standard.