British Columbia has more than 130 million acres/53 million hectares of certified forests – over 40 percent of them certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard.
And forest professionals contribute a lot to forest certification. So it wasn’t a surprise when the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals made certification the theme of its November/December magazine – BC Forest Professional – with articles on a range of topics, including SFI certification and audits.
In An SFI Audit: How it Works and What’s Involved, Chris Ridley-Thomas, who leads KPMG Performance Registrar Inc.’s forest certification practice, said the key factors that drive successful SFI audits are competent auditors, clear standards, reliable audit processes and transparent reporting.
He pointed out that regulatory compliance alone is not enough to achieve SFI certification. Chris said that’s because the SFI Standard has unique requirements such as landowner outreach, fiber sourcing and research, and because “. . . regulation provides a static performance target based on conditions to be avoided while voluntary standards provide a dynamic performance target based on processes to improve performance over time.”
In Interfor: 10 Years of SFI Certification, Gerry Fraser, Interfor’s Manager of Sustainable Forestry and a founding member of the Western Canada SFI Implementation Committee, looked back at some of the reasons why his company chose to be certified to the SFI standard in 2000.
“We chose SFI certification for a number of reasons,” Gerry wrote. “It meant we could integrate performance measures and objectives into the environmental management systems we had in place and SFI had broad recognition in the United States – our largest market. We found that certifying our lands gave us the incentive to improve practices and helped us strengthen and formalize many of the environmental and social actions that are part of doing business in British Columbia.”
And on the ground, he added, “the similarities between the three certification standards in British Columbia outweigh the differences.” Gerry noted that most forest professionals in British Columbia choose SFI or Canadian Standards Association Z809 certification – and since lands certified to CSA are recognized by SFI, this means products from 95% of British Columbia’s certified lands are eligible to use the SFI chain-of-custody label.
If you’ve had a chance to check out the new section on our website – In Case You Were Wondering – you’ll know we welcome this kind of informed discussion about certification. A vote of thanks to Gerry and Chris for doing their part.