SFI 2015-2019 (Extended Through December 2021) STANDARDS
The Requirements for the SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Program address all of SFI’s standards, rules for label use, procedures, and guidance for the program.
SFI revises and updates the SFI Standards every five years to incorporate the latest scientific information and to respond to emerging issues. For the first time ever, SFI’s current SFI standard revision process is outside the 5-year renewal timeline. SFI has now aligned the standard revision process with the new revision process adopted by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest certification (PEFC). As such, the new timeline enables SFI to incorporate enhancements from PEFC’s benchmark standards into SFI requirements, as well as other initiatives under development.
SFI will launch the revised SFI Standards in January 2022. Certified organizations have one year (December 2022) to transition to the revised standards. Draft SFI standards will be publicly available throughout the revision process.
The current SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules are extended through December 2021.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SFI 2015-2019 (EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 2021) PROGRAM
- SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standards and Rules – full package
- Section 1. Introduction
- Section 2. SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Forest Management Standard
- Section 3. SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Fiber Sourcing Standard
- Section 4. SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Chain-of-Custody Standard
- Section 5. Rules for Use of SFI On-Product Labels and Off-Product Marks
- Section 6. Guidance to SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standards and Rules
- Section 7. SFI Policies
- Section 8. SFI Standard Development and Interpretations Process
- Section 9. SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2010 Audit Procedures and Auditor Qualifications and Accreditation
- Section 10. Communications and Public Reporting
- Section 11. Public Inquiries and Official Complaints
- Section 12. Optional Modules
- Section 13. SFI Definitions
- Interpretations for SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standards and Rules
- SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2010 Standards and Rules — full package (francais)
- Major Enhancements to the SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standards and Rules
- Major Enhancements to the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules (francais)
- SFI 2015-2019 Standard and Rules at a Glance
- SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standard and Rules at a Glance (francais)
There are three SFI standards:
The SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Forest Management Standard promotes sustainable forestry practices based on 13 Principles, 15 Objectives, 37 Performance Measures and 101 Indicators. These requirements include measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value.
The SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Fiber Sourcing Standard promotes responsible forestry practices through 14 Principles, 13 Objectives, 21 Performance Measures and 55 Indicators that address 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. These fiber-sourcing requirements include measures to broaden the practice of biodiversity, use best management practices to protect water quality, and use the services of forest management and harvesting professionals. Because it governs how SFI Program Participants procure fiber from non-certified land, the standard is encouraging the spread of responsible forest practices. The SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Fiber Sourcing Standard distinguishes SFI from all other forest certification programs in that it requires the responsible procurement of fiber from non-certified forestlands.
The SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Chain-of-Custody Standard is an accounting system that tracks forest fiber content (certified forest content, certified sourcing and recycled content) through production and manufacturing to the end product. Companies can use chain-of-custody certification to track and communicate forest fiber content using one of three approaches for chain of custody: physical separation, average percentage or volume credit method. The standard is for any organization globally that sources, processes, manufactures, handles, trades, converts or prints forest-based products.
The SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules require third-party independent certification audits by competent and accredited certification bodies for all three certifications – forest management, fiber sourcing and chain-of-custody. All certification bodies must be accredited by a member of the International Accreditation Forum.
Major Enhancements to the SFI 2015-2019 (Extended through December 2021) Standards and Rules (francais)
SFI Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples, Families and Communities (francais)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Development of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules
The SFI Standards are revised and updated every five years to incorporate the latest scientific information and to respond to emerging issues. As part of this process, comments were received during two 60-day public comment periods in 2013 and 2014, and input was received from 12 public workshops across the United States and Canada. Approximately 10,000 stakeholders were invited to submit comments. Participants included public and private landowners, forest sector representatives, indigenous communities, conservation groups, industry representatives, academics and government officials.
Independent oversight was provided at each stage of the revision process by the SFI External Review Panel, a distinguished group of independent experts representing conservation, professional, academic and public organizations, operating at arm’s length from SFI. The SFI External Review Panel reviewed every public comment submitted to ensure that all comments were considered, and to guarantee the Standard revision process was transparent, objective and credible. The responses to comments are posted on the SFI website.
The SFI requirements were restructured into three stand-alone standards: the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard, the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard, and the SFI 2015-2019 Chain of Custody Standard.
The SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard promotes responsible forestry practices based on 14 Principles, 13 Objectives, 21 Performance Measures and 55 Indicators that address the 90 percent of the world’s forests that are not certified. These fiber sourcing requirements include measures to broaden the conservation of biodiversity, use forestry best management practices to protect water quality, provide outreach to landowners and utilize the services of forest management and harvesting professionals. Because it directs how SFI Program Participants procure fiber from non-certified land, this standard encourages the use of responsible forestry practices.
As part of the standard revision process, the 15 member SFI External Review Panel (ERP) provided external independent oversight to ensure the standard revision process was objective and credible and that all comments are treated equally and fairly. The SFI External Review Panel is a distinguished group of independent experts representing conservation, professional, academic and public organizations, operating at arm’s length from SFI.
The ERP has reviewed all the responses for all public comments received during the SFI 2015-2019 Standard revision process to ensure every comment was fairly considered by the applicable Standard Revision Task Groups. All comments are posted on the SFI website our website with explanation as to how each comment was addressed.
Stakeholder Engagement and SFI Implementation Committees
SFI, through its 34 SFI Implementation Committees , actively seeks to promote and implement practices that support sustainable forestry and responsible fiber sourcing. SICs are unique to SFI and are open to all interested stakeholders.
This unique grassroots network involves private landowners, independent loggers, forestry professionals, local government agencies, academics, scientists, and conservationists. Through SFI Implementation Committees, program participants’ work with local organizations and individuals, providing leadership and sharing best practices to improve forest management on both certified and uncertified lands. SFI Implementation Committees offer a forum to provide information or answer questions about local forestry operations, and must have a process to respond to questions or concerns about forestry practices on SFI-certified lands.
The SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules require third party independent certification audits by competent and accredited certification bodies for all three certifications — Forest Management certification, Fiber Sourcing certification and Chain-of-Custody certification. All certification bodies must be accredited by a member of the International Accreditation Forum (i.e., ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, American National Standards Institute or the Standards Council of Canada (SCC)).
A Low Risk Procurement Strategy Includes SFI
The global marketplace has become increasingly concerned with the need to avoid forest based materials from regions of the world where there is an increased risk of illegal logging or deforestation. Historically, less than 2% of the fiber purchased by SFI Program Participants comes from outside the United States and Canada. Previous versions of the SFI Fiber Sourcing and Chain of Custody requirements have focused on ensuring a risk assessment by Program Participants to avoid illegal sources from outside the United States and Canada.
Despite the very low risk of illegal logging in the United States and Canada, the marketplace has increasingly wanted risk assessments across the entire supply chain. The SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard now requires Program Participants to assess the risk of illegal logging regardless of the country or region of origin, which means the same requirements that apply outside the United States and Canada, now also apply to sources within the United States and Canada. This is an assurance that will further facilitate compliance with corporate and government policies such as the U.S. Lacey Act and the European Union Timber Regulation.
With the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules, SFI has expanded the definition of controversial sources and requires program participants making claims or using the SFI labels to conduct a risk assessment to avoid controversial sources (SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard – Appendix 1, Part 6 and the SFI CoC Standard – Part 4).
Controversial sources as defined in the SFI Standards are forest activities which are not in compliance with applicable state, provincial or federal laws, particularly as they may relate to:
Controversial sources also include fiber sourced from illegal logging and fiber sourced from areas without effective social laws.
The SFI Board of Directors passed a policy that builds upon SFI’s strong existing measures regarding research on genetically modified trees via forest tree biotechnology (Section 7—Policies of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules). The policy recognizes the use of genetically modified organisms as an evolving issue, as federal and international laws, regulations, agreements, treaties and marketplace recognition of genetically engineered trees via forest tree biotechnology change. In short, the policy states “use of fiber from genetically engineered trees via forest biotechnology is not approved for use in SFI-labeled products,” but SFI “will proactively review and update the SFI Standard language and policy as necessary.” Specifically SFI Inc:
Both the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard and the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard have requirements regarding the awareness of the impacts of climate change. Forest land owners, managers and those that purchase fiber from non-certified landowners must individually, or working with partners, broaden the awareness of the impacts of climate change on forests, wildlife and biological diversity. Where available, forest land owners, managers and those that purchase fiber from non-certified landowners must monitor the outputs from regional climate change models regarding long-term forest health, productivity and economic viability (SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard – Performance Measure 10.3 and SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard – Performance Measure 5.3).
SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard Enhancements
The introduction of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules highlights one of the unique features of the SFI program—addressing fiber supplied from non-certified forest lands, which are often small and family owned. Working individually or collaboratively, SFI Program Participants must work to ensure that the conservation of biodiversity is appropriately addressed through their fiber supply activities.
Performance Measure 1.1 requires a program to address conservation of biodiversity, individually or collaboratively through a program which includes one or more of the following:
A new requirement of the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard (Indicator 2.1.2) pertains to the use of written agreements for the purchase of all raw materials sourced directly from the forest. The new requirement is broadened to include the use of written agreements for all raw materials sourced directly from the forest. These written agreements must include provisions requiring the use of best management practices, as well as the use of qualified logging professionals and/or certified logging professionals and/or wood producers that have completed training programs and are recognized as qualified logging professionals (Indicator 6.1.5). In combination with the longstanding requirement making state or provincial water quality BMPs mandatory for all SFI Program Participants, even in the many states where BMPs would otherwise be voluntary, these provisions provide rock-solid assurance of the protection of water resources under both the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management and SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standards.
To further clarify the link between the “Certified Sourcing” label and the proactive requirements of the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard, the requirements for use of the SFI Certified Sourcing Label were moved to an appendix in the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard. The requirements to use the SFI Certified Sourcing label were also enhanced with management system requirements including procedures for internal audits, as well as more requirements on conducting a risk assessment to avoid controversial sources.
Products that carry Certified Sourcing labels may include:
The SFI certified sourcing label does not make claims about certified forest content, but tells you that fiber in a product comes from a company that is certified to the SFI 2015-2019 Fiber Sourcing Standard, or comes from recycled content, or from a certified forest. All fiber must be from non-controversial sources. In order to use “Certified Sourcing” label, the label user must be independently certified by an accredited certification body to ensure they meet the requirements of the Standard.
SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard Enhancements
Performance Measure 1.1. Program Participants shall ensure that forest management plans include long-term harvest levels that are sustainable and consistent with appropriate growth-and-yield models.
Forest management planning at a level appropriate to the size and scale of the operation, including:
a review of non-timber issues (e.g., recreation, tourism, pilot projects and economic incentive programs to promote water protection, carbon storage, bioenergy feedstock production, or biological diversity conservation, or to address climate-induced ecosystem change).
Documented current harvest trends fall within long-term sustainable levels identified in the forest management plan.
A forest inventory system and a method to calculate growth and yield.
Periodic updates of forest inventory and recalculation of planned harvests to account for changes in growth due to productivity increases or decreases, including but not limited to: improved data, long-term drought, fertilization, climate change, changes in forest land ownership and tenure, or forest health.
Documentation of forest practices (e.g., planting, fertilization and thinning) consistent with assumptions in harvest plans.