The Certification Process

The SFI Program is based on a Standard — made up of Principles, Objectives, and Performance Measures– that describes the sustainable practices land managers must follow as SFI participants. The Standard is under constant revision to keep it current with evolving science and public expectations, and the fundamental goal is to ensure that a landowner following this standard will be managing forests sustainably.

In order for a landowner or mill owner to be classified as certified to the SFI Standard, an independent audit team must review the owner’s management practices, both on paper and on-site, in order to verify that those practices acceptably address the goals and principles of the SFI Program.

Some of the certification requirements include:

  • Consistent with international verification and auditing standards.
  • Based on and fully compatible with ISO Procedures & Protocols.
  • The first certification renewal shall occur within three years of the date of the initial verification and shall not exceed every five years thereafter.
  • Periodic (annual) surveillance audits are required for all SFI Certifications where a program participant wishes to use an SFI on-product label.

External audit summaries are required. At a minimum the summary shall include:

  •     Audit scope and process;
  •     Names and backgrounds of auditors;
  •     Indicators used; and
  •     A summary of findings.
  •     118 core indicators must be met for a successful third party certification.
  •     Auditors must be accredited by a national standards body (e.g. ANSI/RAB or CEAA).
  •     Both paper (desk) and field audits are required.
  •     Requires professional foresters on every certification team.

Public Disclosure

Finally, as the underlying purpose of SFI is to reassure the general public about the sustainability of the country’s forests, it is the responsibility of the Maine SIC to report to the public and the Maine Legislature on progress SFI members have made under SFI, including Certification results and Program improvements. To honor this commitment, a report is made each session to the Legislature. Legislators and other stakeholder groups are offered tours where the Maine SFI Program can showcase its progress on the ground.