Sustainable forestry certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates adherence to responsible forest management practices. It serves as a means of conveying to customers, consumers, and the public that forests are being managed sustainably. Often verified by independent third parties, this certification evaluates forestry operations against a set of performance-based standards. It has become an essential aspect of modern business, enabling competitiveness in various markets. While multiple certification systems exist, they all share the common goal of verifying that wood products originate from sustainably managed forests.

Voluntary Participation

Companies can opt to engage in the forest certification process that aligns with their customers’ and markets’ requirements, as certification is not mandatory. A significant portion of WFPA members choose certification through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®). Additionally, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the American Tree Farm System certify lands in North America. Buyers and consumers value forest certification as it assists them in selecting forest products from responsible sources. Currently, approximately 11 percent of the world’s forests hold certification, with 40 percent of these certified lands located in North America. More information can be found here.

SFI: the largest single forest standard in the world.

SFI Inc., an independent nonprofit organization, is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the globally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program. Across Canada and the United States, over 370 million acres (150 million hectares) adhere to the SFI forest management standard, making it the world’s most extensive single forest certification standard. The SFI program’s distinctive fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management across all supplier lands. Chain-of-custody (COC) certification from SFI tracks the proportion of fiber sourced from certified forests, certified sourcing, and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels indicate certified sourcing and COC claims, aiding consumers in making responsible purchasing choices. Governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social, and economic sectors equally, SFI Inc. is the preferred choice for many WFPA members, ensuring the health of our forests for the benefit of future generations. Presently, over 370 million acres of forestland in North America participate in the SFI program, with nearly 5.4 million acres located in Washington State. Learn more at SFI.

American Tree Farm System Certification

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) stands as the oldest family forest certification program in the United States. Since 1941, ATFS has been dedicated to promoting responsible forest management on private forestlands in the nation. The Tree Farm sign symbolizes good stewardship, providing family woodland owners with confidence and validation that they are responsibly managing their land.

For more information about Washington’s Tree Farm Program, please visit the website.