Sustainability Initiatives - Timber

Independent Certification http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_forest_management

Growing environmental awareness and consumer demand for more socially responsible businesses helped third-party forest certification emerge in the 1990s as a credible tool for communicating the environmental and social performance of forest operations.

There are many potential users of certification, including: forest managers, investors, environmental advocates, business consumers of wood and paper, and individuals.

With forest certification, an independent organization develops standards of good forest management, and independent auditors issue certificates to forest operations that comply with those standards. This certification verifies that forests are well-managed-as defined by a particular standard-and ensures that certain wood and paper products come from responsibly managed forests.

This rise of certification led to the emergence of several different systems throughout the world. As a result, there is no single accepted forest management standard worldwide, and each system takes a somewhat different approach in defining standards for sustainable forest management.

Third-party forest certification is an important tool for those seeking to ensure that the paper and wood products they purchase and use come from forests that are well-managed and legally harvested. Incorporating third-party certification into forest product procurement practices can be a centerpiece for comprehensive wood and paper policies that include factors such as the protection of sensitive forest values, thoughtful material selection and efficient use of products.

There are more than 50 certification standards worldwide. Some common certification standards are:

The area of forest certified worldwide is growing rapidly. As of December 2006, there were over 2,440,000 square kilometers of forest certified under the CSA, FSC or SFI standards, with over 1,237,000 square kilometers certified in Canada alone.

While certification is intended as a tool to enhance forest management practices throughout the world, to date most certified forestry operations are located in Europe and North America. A significant barrier for many forest managers in developing countries is that they lack the capacity to undergo a certification audit and maintain operations to a certification standard.

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