TYPES OF CERTIFICATIONS IN ALBERTA
There are two organizations that have certified managed forests in Alberta: SFI (the Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and the Canadian arm of the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC Canada).
These organizations have developed robust sustainability standards that are implemented when organizations and companies hire third-party auditors to verify and certify their practices against the standard’s requirements.
SFI is a non-profit that develops forestry standards specific to North America. SFI’s Forest Management Standard has been endorsed at the international level by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, a global organization that evaluates national forest certification systems.
FSC International is a global organization that sets processes and requirements for developing national standards under its umbrella, which are tailored to the context of each country. Alberta companies certified by FSC are accountable to the standards set by FSC Canada.
Standard-setting organizations regularly evaluate and update their standards, so they evolve along with emerging research, stakeholder comments, and best practices. Over time, the requirements of different standards have become more similar, converging around key expectations that make forest management an asset in achieving global environmental goals.
COMMON REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATION
FSC and SFI both require companies seeking certification to meet rigorous expectations in several areas.
Both certifications call for outstanding performance on measures that include:
- Protection against deforestation
- Maintenance of sustainable harvest levels
- Protection of biodiversity
- Minimization of chemical use
- Protection of water quality and soil health
- Protection of old growth forests
- Protection of special sites (graveyards and cultural sites)
- Consulting with and respecting the rights and interests of Indigenous people
- Contributing to the success and well-being of the local community
Around the world, many governments, businesses, and consumers choose to only buy forest products made with materials from certified forests.
Certification provides peace of mind that the forests these products come from are managed responsibly, with environmental and social responsibility as a priority.
If you see an SFI or FSC logo on the paper you buy, or the cup your coffee comes in, it means the materials for that product came from a certified forest like many here in Alberta, or were procured through a certified purchasing process like the SFI Fiber Sourcing program. Looking for those logos is one way we can all choose more sustainable options in what we buy.