Corporate Leaders and Consumers Embrace Products From Responsibly Managed Forests



    Progress Report Details Tremendous SFI(R) Growth

    ARLINGTON, VA, July 2 /CNW/ - A progress report issued today by the
independent non-profit Sustainable Forestry Initiative(R) (SFI) shows
tremendous growth in the forest certification program, reflecting a rapidly
expanding desire by companies, markets and consumers for responsible forest
management and products. The SFI program is one of the largest and most widely
accepted forest certification programs in the world, and is backed by strict
labeling requirements that are used to tell consumers what they are buying.

    SFI Inc.: Making a Difference on the Ground (www.sfiprogram.org) explains
why almost 500 organizations across the United States and Canada are directly
involved with the SFI program. This is more than twice as many as at the start
of 2007 when there were 21 SFI chain-of-custody certifications at 48
locations, and 212 program participants with 135 million acres (54.6 million
hectares) of SFI-certified lands. When the 2007 progress report was completed
in mid-June 2008, there were 235 chain-of-custody certifications at 637
locations, and 226 program participants with 152.6 million acres (61.7 million
hectares) of certified lands. On top of this, many program participants and
other organizations have SFI fiber sourcing certificates or meet the program's
responsible procurement requirements.

    "SFI Inc. stands for responsible forest management in North America and
responsible procurement around the world," said SFI President and CEO Kathy
Abusow. "Our steady growth shows that corporate leaders, international markets
and consumers at home share this view." She added it is important to look back
at what SFI Inc. and its partners achieved in 2007, and to look ahead to the
future as SFI Inc. conducts a public review process leading to the SFI 2010-14
Standard.

    The progress report highlights comments from the SFI External Review
Panel, a group of independent experts (including academics, government
officials, foresters and NGO representatives) who provide external oversight
of the SFI program.

    "Having already demonstrated solid achievements in improving forestry
practices over tens of millions of acres in North America since 1995, in 2007
(SFI Inc.) greatly expanded consumer awareness of the importance of certified
forest products through a significant expansion of its product labeling," said
panel chair Richard W. (Dick) Brinker, Dean and Professor in the School of
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University.

    "Increased recognition of the important role of forests in maintaining
environmental integrity, supporting sustainable economic activity, and
protecting vital community values is resulting in growing demand for
sustainably produced forest products," Brinker said. "The SFI label is
increasingly recognized by a concerned public as a trusted symbol of products
from well-managed forests."

    
    Some of the SFI program's achievements in 2007 included:

    -  Training a total of 6,576 resource and logging professionals in
       responsible forestry, bringing the total trained through SFI
       Implementation Committee programs since 1995 to 110,778.

    -  Creating new awards, including the Leadership in Conservation Research
       Award, to recognize strong collaborative partnerships that improve
       forestry practices.

    -  Supporting forest research, with an investment of $100.2 million (US)
       by program participants. The total invested since 1995 is close to
       $1 billion (US).

    -  Agreeing to join sponsors such as the World Bank, USAID and the U.S.
       Forest Service to support an international Forest Trends forum in
       early 2008 where international experts explored ways to respond to the
       complex issues around illegal logging and associated trade.

    -  Establishing an SFI marketing strategy to promote the benefits of
       forest certification and the value of the SFI brand.
    

    About SFI Inc.

    SFI Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely
responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the Sustainable Forestry
Initiative program (www.sfiprogram.org), a sustainable forestry certification
program that is internationally recognized and among the largest in the world.
Across North America, 152.6 million acres (61.7 million hectares) are
certified to the SFI 2005-2009 Standard, which is based on principles and
measures that promote sustainability, including measures to protect water
quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with
exceptional conservation value. The SFI Standard includes unique fiber
sourcing requirements that promote responsible forest management on all
suppliers' lands. SFI Inc. also has chain-of-custody certification, which is
used to tell buyers how much certified fiber is in a specific product.





For further information:

For further information: Rick Cantrell, Vice President & COO,
Sustainable Forestry Initiative, (703) 875-9500 ext 26, Web Site:
http://www.sfiprogram.org/

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Sustainable Forestry Initiative

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