With more than 150+ million hectares of forests certified by the end of 2021, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)'s Forest Management Standard is one of the largest single forest management certification standards in the world.
The Standard applies to any organisation in the United States or Canada that owns or has management authority over forestlands. The requirements encompass a range of measures aimed at safeguarding water quality, conserving biodiversity, preserving wildlife habitat and protecting threatened and endangered species, along with Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value.
In the 2022 version, the SFI integrates a new objective to recognise and respect Indigenous People's rights. SFI-certified organisations are encouraged to engage and collaborate with local Indigenous and Tribal groups to gain insights into their traditional forest management practices.
The SFI 2022 Standards and Rules require third-party independent certification audits by competent and accredited certification bodies.
Click the tabs below to learn more.
Embark on your certification journey by completing our service request form or reaching out to us directly. Our experts will navigate you through the certification scope that aligns best with your company setup and needs.
The certification process
|Application process: Initiate the process by submitting a service application to Preferred by Nature. This information shapes a budget proposal and certification agreement tailored to your organisation.|
Certification preparation: To meet SFI's requisites, prepare documents, establish systems, assign responsibilities and train your staff, ensuring culturally important sites are protected.
|Assessments: Onsite Forest Management assessments are conducted, their duration determined by factors such as audit scope, operational size, accessibility and complexity. These audits typically include interviews, document reviews and field visits.|
|Audit report: We provide a comprehensive audit report detailing the results. Non-conformities are outlined, with major ones needing correction before certification issuance.|
|Earning certificate: Following quality review and your input, you will receive the Forest Management Standard summary audit report. Upon a favourable certification decision, the certificate is granted.|
SFI certificates are issued for a five-year period. A two-stage initial assessment is conducted as a basis for certification, and subsequent annual audits are required to maintain the certificate. You need to comply with the certification requirements to remain certified. Preferred by Nature ensures you remain updated on system changes through regular updates.
Initial certification audit
This stage necessitates SFI Program Participant status or being in the process of becoming one, with the final certification decision conditioned on achieving Program Participant status.
Multiple sites certification
ISO 17021: 2015 Clause 9.1.5 mandates a sampling program for multi-site audits. This program ensures thorough examination of the management system across various locations, with documented rationale for the sampling plan.
SFI Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples and Families
Tailored for Canadian landowners, this SFI module offers group or individual certification options, promoting cost-efficiency through collaboration. Certification is available for small-scale forests managed by Indigenous Peoples, families, or communities, with a timber production area not exceeding 20,000 hectares. Certification coverage may exceed 20,000 hectares when considering non-timber-producing areas and those managed for conservation or recreation. Requirements align with the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard, adjusted for forest size and intensity. To claim SFI label compliance, both the group manager and members need third-party audits from an accredited certification body. Learn more here.
- Expertise. Preferred by Nature, an international non-profit, supports better land management and business practices across 100+ countries. With nearly 30 years of experience, we have fostered sustainable land use and responsible sourcing in forest commodities, certifying over 33 million hectares of forest land and farms and 1 million farmers. Our clientele ranges from retailers, producers and traders to multinational multi-site and group certificate holders, as well as small enterprises and smallholders.
- Customer focus. We keep you up to speed on the certification requirements and we take pride in providing clear and full answers to your questions.
- Industry insight. We cater to companies of all sizes and from all business sectors along the supply chain. For any line of business and company setup, we possess insight on the specific options and challenges of certification that apply to your organisation.
- Local presence, global reach. With staff located in over 40 countries across the globe and backed by an extensive global network of experts, we cater to companies worldwide.
- Wider service choice. We offer a wide range of additional services to support your sustainability efforts.
- Mission-driven approach. Our mission shapes our focus on quality, information sharing and capacity building.
Six advantages of gaining the SFI Forest Management certification:
- Credibility and recognition: Gain recognition across North America and beyond, bolstering trust among consumers, stakeholders and partners in your commitment to sustainability.
- Better forest management: Embrace a comprehensive approach that addresses economic, ecological and social aspects of forest management.
- Supporting Indigenous People: Earning this certification demonstrates your commitment to collaborate with Indigenous and Tribal groups, fostering a deeper understanding of their traditional practices and incorporating their perspective into forest management.
- Recognition for ‘Climate Smart’ forestry practices. Show your dedication to adapting to climate change impacts and enhancing fire resiliency for your forest.
- Wider market access: Open doors to sustainability-focused markets. Certified organisations enjoy a competitive edge, catering to consumers' preference for products from responsibly managed forests.
- Transparency and accountability: Independent third-party certification audits ensure alignment with rigorous SFI standards, fostering transparency and accountability for meeting sustainability benchmarks.