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A Look at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®

By Kathy Abuson President and CEO, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.

The dramatic rise in environmental awareness means more buyers want proof that forest products are from well-managed forests and legal sources. As a result, more governments and companies are developing procurement policies that give preference to products made with fiber from third-party certified forests.

This isn’t news for those of you involved in the forest sector in the western United States. Responsible forest management and forest certification have long been a proud tradition in your region, and for good reason. You have some of the most ecologically diverse and commercially productive forests on earth — along with intense public interest in forestry.

The good news is that the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program, which has been improving forest management in North America for more than 10 years, is well positioned to meet the rising demand for products from responsible and legal sources. SFI Inc. is an independent 501c(3) nonprofit charitable organization. It is solely responsible for an internationally recognized sustainable forestry certification program that is among the largest in the world. Across North America, the single comprehensive SFI 2005-2009 Standard covers 152.5 million acres. The standard is based on principles and measures that promote responsible forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.

SFI certification is accepted as a sign of environmental sustainability by organizations and governments around the world — from green building rating systems in the United States, such as the National Association of Home Builders and Green Globes, to procurement programs, such as the U.S. government’s General Services Administration and the United Kingdom’s rigorous Central Point of Expertise on Timber.

Similar to the recycling symbol, the SFI label is a visual cue for people who want to buy products from legal and responsible sources. Customers know that when they see the SFI label on a product – whether it is a two-by-four or copy paper – that they are supporting forest operations that conserve biodiversity, protect wildlife habitat, and so much more.

Our independent board of directors represents environmental, social, and economic sectors equally. Rick Holley, President and CEO of Plum Creek, is chair of the board, and other western representatives include Laurie Wayburn, Co-Founder and President of the Pacific Forest Trust, Matt Donegan, Co-President of Forest Capital Partners, Bob Luoto, representing independent professional loggers and the American Loggers Council, and Oregon State Forester Marvin Brown.

The SFI program also has 37 grassroots SFI Implementation Committees, which include Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. You don’t have to be an SFI program participant to participate in one of these implementation committees; you just have to share our passion for responsible forest management.

The committees work in partnership with local government agencies, forestry and professional associations, landowner groups, and many others to provide landowner outreach and encourage community involvement. They sponsor and distribute publications on sustainable forest management topics, arrange field trips, organize workshops, and support educational activities.

Like other certification programs, SFI Inc. has chain-of-custody certification, which tracks the percentage of wood fiber from certified forests, uncertified forests, and recycled sources of supply. The SFI fiber sourcing label also recognizes wood from forests certified to the American Tree Farm System, giving recognition to the thousands of family forest owners who have been responsibly managing their forests for generations.

But we stand apart from the rest by addressing the reality that 60 percent of the fiber in products manufactured in the United States comes from small family-owned forests that are often not certified — and we recognize all forest landowners play a critical role in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our forests. Under our unique procurement requirements, SFI program participants sourcing fiber from forests that are not certified in North America must promote responsible forest management on those lands. Outside of North America, they must take measures to ensure the fiber is from known and legal sources.

As a result, SFI program participants practice responsible forestry on the lands they manage, and influence millions of additional acres. Since 1995, more than 110,000 resource and logging professionals have been trained in responsible forestry practices across North America – and program participants have invested close to $1 billion in forestry research.

At SFI Inc., we understand it is important to have both a rigorous, sciencebased standard and an open, inclusive program. We recently began the public review process that will lead to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard. I would encourage you to look for details on our website and become involved.

For more information about the SFI program, visit www.sfiprogram.org or call Amy Doty, Manager, Community Outreach, at (703) 875-9500.

VCES Dealership Seattle & Spokane
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) added two more Volvo compact equipment dealer branches to its expanding distribution network. The Seattle & Spokane Volvo Construction Equipment & Services (VCES) branches now represent the comprehensive line of Volvo compact wheel loaders, excavators, skid steers, and backhoe loaders.

Brian Burke, Branch Manager for Seattle and Spokane, says, “We are excited to start offering Volvo compact equipment to the Washington market. . . . the addition of the compact equipment line will allow us to give our customers more of what they’ve come to expect.”