Updates From the SFI Annual Conference

Posted on September 29, 2014

Environmental 360 was represented at the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) Annual Conference in Montreal, Quebec, earlier this month. This is the fourth consecutive year for Environmental 360 to be a part of the conference. Our team was able to hear from industry leaders from all across the United States and Canada during the three-day event on topics like SFI accomplishments and partnerships, future opportunities deriving from the SFI certification footprint, the government’s role in advancing sustainable forest management, and aboriginal and tribal business relations with SFI. SFI recognizes the need to engage aboriginal people and minority landowners in the southern United States and presented information from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities on how to achieve this engagement as the culture of landowners continues to change.

We also heard from the SFI Board of Directors who are made up of CEOs, COOs, and Directors of major corporations and non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, Ducks Unlimited, Georgia-Pacific, and Weyerhaeuser. They shared their ideas on how their organizations are striving to bring more public awareness and significance of sustainable forests throughout North America which in turn leads to conservation of water quality and biological diversity. Through this awareness and education, their hope is to bring more demand for SFI products to the marketplace. Environmental 360 is committed to sustainable forests by purchasing SFI paper and paper products for use in the office and for all Environmental 360 hosted events when possible. However, the availability of SFI products is limited in retail, and SFI acknowledges this opportunity for improvement which has led to the goal of increasing market demand. These leading organizations believe that the increase in demand will best be obtained by leading by example and being committed themselves to purchasing SFI products.

There was plenty of time for networking with the leaders of the forestry industry including Presidents and CEOs of major land management companies, foresters, sustainability specialists, top educational program leaders, and other auditors and auditing companies. This allowed time for our team to hear about the trends of the industry and learn from others’ experiences.

The conference concluded with a sneak peek of the enhancements and changes to the SFI standards and rules for 2015-2019. Environmental 360 was privileged to be able to hear about these enhancements and changes before they are voted on by the SFI Board of Directors in November of this year and publically launched in January 2015. However, current certificate holders will have one year to implement these changes. The key enhancements and changes deal with forest management planning, forest health and productivity, protection and maintenance of water resources, conservation of biological diversity, management of visual quality and recreational benefits, protection of special sites, efficient use of fiber resources, and recognition and respect for indigenous peoples’ rights. The early knowledge of these new requirements gives our natural resources team time to study the changes which we believe will serve as a significant benefit to our current and future clients as we support them in conforming their internal processes to these new standards in order to retain or obtain the desired certifications. Our team provides auditing services for certifications in both Forest Management and Chain of Custody as well as certification consulting all across the United States. Let us know how we can partner with you in achieving sustainable forestry.

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