Dear SFI Family,
The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect, give thanks, and look forward to the New Year. I always enjoy writing the entire SFI family to highlight what we have accomplished together during the last 12 months.
This year we elevated a key theme – Forests Are the Answer – that proves the value of forests thanks in part to the hard work of many in the SFI community. Well-managed forests truly are the answer to so many challenges because they clean our air and water, provide habitat, promote sustainable jobs and are the source of renewable products that improve our quality of life and have an important role to play in the circular economy.
This year we began to sow the seeds that will continue to grow our work into the future. We formally organized our work into four pillars: standards, conservation, education, and community. Our scorecard highlights our successes and partnerships from this year and a few are highlighted in this letter.
STANDARDS: Ensure that SFI standards advance sustainable forest management, reduce risk in the supply chain, and are responsive to marketplace needs.
- Continued impact of certification – Forests certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard equal 305 million acres/124 million hectares in the U.S. and Canada and the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard positively influences tens of millions more acres of additional lands.
- SFI label continues to grow in relevance – 25% of Fortune 100 companies are now using the SFI label in 2018, up from 21% last year.
- LEED projects on the rise – There are 269 projects registered for US Green Building Council’s LEED Alternative Compliance Path, a 71% increase from last year.
- New tools launched to grow certification – SFI introduced two modules to create additional certification options to meet the needs of Indigenous Peoples, families and communities, as well as use the infrastructure provided by SFI fiber sourcing certification to engage with small landowners involved in the supply of forest products.
CONSERVATION: Demonstrate that the SFI footprint contributes to water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage, and climate mitigation.
- Five SFI conservation grants in 2018 – The Fraser Basin Council, Virginia Tech, fRI Research, Boreal Avian Modelling Project, and University of Maine – will build critical understanding of conservation outcomes in managed forests. These partnerships extend to 45 organizations involved in research, support and implementation.
- SFI conservation impact sounding board met twice in 2018. This diverse group of about 50 scientists and conservation leaders ensures the objectivity and relevance of 18 conservation impact research projects working to measure outcomes related to biodiversity, water quality, climate change and carbon.
- Conservation impact projects are measuring everything from carbon sequestration to caribou habitat. Recent results from University of Georgia have proven the relationship between the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard, and increased implementation of water quality practices in over 90% of Georgia
- SFI Program Participants are required to engage in research – In 2018, they reported 405 different conservation and research projects and directly invested $59 million in research. Partnerships on reported projects include 550 unique organizations.
EDUCATION: Use forests as a lens to ensure the next generation values the natural world and takes responsible actions to sustain forests and the broader environment.
- PLT won the prestigious 2019 Teachers’ Choice Award – This award recognized PLT’s Energy in Ecosystems curriculum for grades 3-5. PLT was selected by a nationwide panel of teacher-judges who review materials that teachers need for their classroom. Learning Magazine also recognized products from Scholastic and National Geographic.
- PLT is working with the U.S. Green Building Council – Change Maker and Green Builder Scholarships are now being offered to Project Learning Tree GreenSchools seniors. And PLT staff helped the U.S. Green Building Council generate ideas and content for the council’s student summit.
- PLT launched a new curriculum – Teachers are using the online “i-Tree” software, created by the US Forest Service and partners, as a mechanism for outdoor education. The Teaching with i-Tree unit includes three hands-on activities that help middle and high school students discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide.
- PLT Canada is training the next generation of forest workers – PLT Canada placed over 750 youth in green jobs across Canada. Students worked in positions ranging from wildlife management to conservation research, education, silviculture and forest management.
COMMUNITY: Contribute to sustainable communities and quality of life through SFI’s robust network of SFI Implementation Committees and community partners.
- Collaboration for communities – SFI Program Participants are collaborating on 75 different community building projects, involving more than 100 partners. Over 45 research organizations applied for SFI Community Grants.
- Eighteen 2018 SFI Community Grants – The grants feature collaboration between SFI and a diverse range of people from 102 organizations to support community projects. We also began supporting projects through a special SFI Community Engagement Fund.
- Launched the SFI Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples, Families and Communities – This module is designed for landowners and managers in Canada that want a solution for group or individual certification. K’ómoks First Nation in partnership with Qualicum First Nation, in B.C., is the first to pilot the module.
- Collaboration with Indigenous communities on sustainable housing – SFI is supporting Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Indigenous Housing Partnership to tackle housing challenges facing Indigenous people through volunteering and SFI Program Participant support.
Thank you for contributing to our shared success! The SFI Community is poised to achieve great things in 2019 for our forests and the communities that depend on them.
Looking forward to working with you!
President and CEO, SFI Inc.