Washington, DC — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which has certified more than 180 million of acres in North America, has released an updated version of its certification standard.

The new SFI 2010-2014 Standard came about after an 18-month public review process and includes updated and expanded principles, objectives and performance indicators.

Changes to the standard address conservation of biodiversity in North America and offshore forests, climate change, bioenergy, fiber sourcing, illegal logging, controversial and illegal offshore fiber sources, logging training and more.

The updated standard explicitly requires SFI program participants to reach out to and support non-certified family forest owners that supply wood fiber to SFI participants. The support is aimed at protecting threatened and endangered species, promoting reforestation and protecting water quality.

Participants must also now perform risk assessments on offshore fiber suppliers in order to avoid illegal harvesting operations, areas involved in civil unrest and other controversial sources.

The previous standard, the SFI 2005-2009 Standard, included nine core principals, 13 objectives, 34 performance measures and 102 indicators. The new standard has 14 core principals, 20 objectives, 39 performance measures and 114 indicators.

The set of principals includes new principles for responsible procurement practices in North America, avoidance of controversial offshore sources, research, training and education, and public involvement.

The new standard took effect on Jan. 1 and program participants have one year to meet the changed requirements.

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