What Is Forest Product Certification
Real Cedar and Forest Certification
More than 85 percent of timberland in BC, which is the primary source for western red cedar, is certified by internationally recognized, independent, third-party forest certification agencies.
The point of independent, third-party evaluations is to protect environmental values such as biodiversity, soil and water quality. Here’s how they work:
Evaluation – Forest companies operating in BC must meet or exceed the high forest management standards demanded by government. In addition, they also have a high level of third-party certification, which gives customers added assurance that they are practicing responsible and sustainable forest management.
Environment – The forests are assessed according to rigorous, measurable and scientific criteria that include ensuring protection of biodiversity and preserving soil and water quality.
Label and Chain of Custody – Forest products can include a label indicating they have been approved as environmentally-friendly and a chain-of-custody system, which tracks a wood product from a tree in the forest through all the steps of processing and production until it reaches the consumer.
Major Third Party Certification in the US and Canada
Canada is a world leader in the development and implementation of independent, third party forest certification programs. That’s why Canadian manufacturers – in particular British Columbian Real Cedar producers – want their customers to have proof that their wood products meet the strictest of sustainability standards. Here, then, is a breakdown of the most trusted third-party, certification agencies in the world:
International Standard Organization (ISO)
Evaluates environmental management systems.
Certification Fact – Most of B.C.’s major forest companies have certified ISO 14001 international environmental standards.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
Evaluates forest practices and performance using internationally recognized criteria that are adapted to local conditions through a transparent public participation process.
Includes a product label and a chain of custody.
The Council of European Paper Industries has ranked the CSA as among the best in the world and the American Forest and Paper Association recognizes it as the functional equivalent of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Certification Fact – By year end-2012, British Columbia had 24.7 million hectares (61 million acres) certified to CSA.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
Evaluates forest practices using a tough standard of environmental principles, objectives, performance measures and core indicators.
Guided by an independent sustainable forest board.
Includes a product label.
Certification Fact – By year end-2012, British Columbia had 25.6 million hectares (63.3 million acres) certified to the SFI program.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Evaluates forest practices using 10 guiding principles adapted to local conditions using regional standards.
Includes a product label and a chain of custody.
Certification Fact – By year end-2012, British Columbia had 2.4 million hectares (about 5.9 million acres) certified to FSC.
American Tree Farm System
Tree Farms are inspected and certified to assure proper forest management that includes the conservation of soil, water and wildlife.
For more than 70 years, ATFS has enhanced the quality of America’s woodlands by giving private forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive.
ATFS is administered through a network of forest landowners, volunteer members of state and local committees and associations, national and state government agencies, inspecting foresters, forestry consultants, natural resource professionals, and private industry.
CSA vs. SFI
Comparing the CSA and FSI Standards
Consult the table below for a side by side comparison of the Canadian Standards Association and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
|Canadian Standards Association|
CSA – Mississauga, Ont.
|Sustainable Forestry Initiative|
SFI – Washington, DC
|Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Standard|
|Standards Development Process|
|Key Forest Management Elements of Standard||ISO 14001 System Elements|
|14 Guiding Principles|
|Requirements for Compliance with Legislation||Includes a commitment to meet or exceed all legislation, regulatory standards, policies, and interpretation requirements.||Compliance with applicable federal, provincial, state and local laws and regulations.|
|Local public input required?||Extensive, on-going public process – identifying local values, goals, indicators and objectives. Public consultation may be required based on the scale of the operations.||The SFI Standard is regularly reviewed through an open public process, and is subject to continuous improvement so it can incorporate the latest scientific information and respond to emerging issues.|