Despite tough times, forest sector remains committed to sustainable forest management

I’ve been involved in the forest sector for 20 years and I can honestly say I don’t remember a time when the sector faced as many challenges as it does today. It seems every day I am hearing of more mill closures, consolidation, layoffs, etc. I’ve seen some tough times in the sector for sure, and yet I’m always impressed by the resiliency of the sector and its passion for our forests.

This commitment to the environment is evident in SFI’s record growth over the past year. We’ve averaged more than one certification per day, and today we have more than 1000 locations certified across North America and more than 700 organizations are involved in our program. From land owners and managers to wood procurement companies to lumber yards, furniture makers, printers and paper makers and packaging companies to governments and customers – we are witnessing a unprecedented commitment to responsible forest management. This at time, when as a sector, we are clearly hurting.

I can’t say for sure what 2009 will hold for the forest sector, no one can. I can say this though, our forests in North America and globally are still a priority, that sustainable forest management and sustainable communities are paramount. However, with only 10% of the world’s forests certified, the health and sustainability of forests and our communities depends on us working together not against one another. This is not the time to support a monopoly, we need choice in forest certification programs, it’s time for us to work together to ensure our forests are there for future generations, that our customers have choice and consumers have access to forest products from well-managed forests. Whether you’re a printer, a forest company, another certification program, an environmentalist or anyone that cares about the world’s forests, I invite you all to work together with us at SFI to address the challenges facing our forest sector and seize the opportunities to promote sustainable forest management globally.

2 thoughts on “Despite tough times, forest sector remains committed to sustainable forest management

  1. Education is critical here. An environmental auditor, and a tree farmer myself – it wasn’t until I attended a forestry tax seminar that I heard about SFI. Then when I did, I made sure to consider SFI, and to get a copy of the standard and the logging company SFI certification prior to contracting with a logging company. A mid size land owner in Ohio (240 acres), I bet I am among the very few considering SFI as a logging criteria. Let me know how, and I will gladly spread the word.

  2. Hi Cassie. I agree, education is key. Whether we are talking about certified lands or non certified http://www.goodforforests.com/archives/119 we need to get the word out about sustainable forest management and the SFI standard. Certainly we’ve been doing a lot of that over the past year by speaking at conferences, giving presentations, meeting with stakeholders and our marketing campaign. In addition, our 37 regional implementation committees http://www.sfiprogram.org/who/outreach-training.php have done a tremendous job of land owner outreach and logger training. Since 1994, our SFI program participants and SFI implementation committees have done outreach and training to over 110,000 loggers. But still there’s more to be done. I’d appreciate your and others’ efforts to promote sustainable forest management, the benefits of forest certification and the SFI program at every opportunity you can. Direct people to our website at http://www.sfiprogram.org and get involved in our program, ask for SFI labeled products – there are so many ways! Thanks again for your note and for supporting SFI and forest certification.

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