More than 52 million ha (126 million acres) in the US and Canada are third-party certified under the Sustainably Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program, making it one of the largest sustainable forestry and certification schemes in the world.

SFI is based on the premise that responsible environmental behaviour and sound business decisions can co-exist to the benefit of landowners, manufacturers, shareholders, customers, the people they serve, the environment, and future generations. The SFI Program integrates the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, water, and air quality.

The SFI Standard (SFIS) is the document that spells out the strict and comprehensive SFI Program compliance requirements. Two goals of the SFI Program are that participants practise sustainable forestry on all the lands they manage and that they influence millions of additional hectares through the training of loggers and foresters in best management practices. This unique commitment to sustainable forestry recognises that all forest landowners, not just SFI Program participants, play a critical role in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of US forests.

At the heart of the SFIS are the SFIS principles. These call on every SFI Program participant to meet market demands while complying with applicable laws, and agreeing to use environmentally-responsible practices that promote the protection of biodiversity, wildlife, plants, soil, water, and air quality. The SFI Program now has more than 220 participants in the US and Canada, and in the US they plant more than 650 million trees each year.


The SFI Program is now fully independent. In 2000 the Sustainable Forestry Board (SFB) was established to govern the major components of the SFI Program, including the SFIS and certification procedures, and was incorporated as an organisation in 2002.

The SFB oversaw a major review and rewrite of the SFIS and certification procedures that resulted in the 2005-2009 SFIS. During this review, the SFB invited public comment and received extensive input from a wide variety of interested stakeholders. On January 1, a new fully-independent organisation, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc (SFI Inc), was created to direct all elements of the SFI Program. The multi-stakeholder board (formerly the SFB) of SFI Inc is now the sole governing body over the SFI Standard (SFIS) and all aspects of the Program, including chain of custody certification and labelling, marketing, and promotion. This independence solidifies the SFI Program’s strong market position as one of the world’s leading forest certification schemes.

The diverse board members represent environmental and conservation organisations, public officials, professional and academic groups, independent logging professionals, and forest landowners. For a list of the board members, visit

Participation in the SFI Program requires a unique commitment to sustainable forestry. In addition, SFI Inc has developed a comprehensive and internationally-consistent third-party certification procedure for participants to document and communicate their compliance with the SFIS, and to gauge their progress. In order to be certified, an SFI Program participant must undergo a thorough and rigorous review of its operations by an audit firm that has been accredited by either ANAB (ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board) or the Standards Council of Canada. All auditors must meet precise educational and professional criteria established by the SFI Inc.

Chain of custody

Chain of custody (CoC) certification is available both for SFI Program participants and for others in the product supply chain. In order to be CoC certified, an organisation must undergo a thorough and rigorous review of its operations by an audit firm that has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Standards Council of Canada.

Many merchants, printers and others want to demonstrate their commitment to responsible environmental practices. CoC certification is available to these businesses so they may assure their customers that they can supply products and merchandise from sources certified to the SFI Standard. Certified SFI Program participants may implement a certified CoC scheme that allows use of an SFI “per cent content” label which displays the percentage of fibre that comes from forests certified to the SFIS.

Secondary producers (manufacturers of finished wood products, users of market pulp, retailers, publishers, merchants or printers) may obtain CoC certification for their facilities that also allows use of an SFI per cent content label.

For certified SFI Program participants who do not wish to make a per cent content claim about their products, the SFI Program provides a certified fibre sourcing label. Without specifying per cent content, this label means that 100% of the fibre has been sourced according to the strict guidelines of the SFI Program. This means that the company does not source its fibre from illegal sources and encourages all its suppliers to adhere to the principles of sustainable forestry. Secondary producers may also use this label on third-party certification that at least two-thirds of the wood fibre in their product line comes from SFI Program participants and that all wood fibre comes from legal sources.

More information is available at