Four leaders of the North American publishing industry announced they will partner with the North American-based PEFC member Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) to help spur the growth of certification to preserve and protect forests.
Time Inc., the National Geographic Society, Macmillan, and Pearson will become Founding Partners of the SFI Forest Partners Program. The alliance was announced at the SFI annual conference in Milwaukee, attended by foresters, land owners, conservation groups, First Nations, industry and government agencies.
SFI Forest Partners allows market leaders to support certification, as well as landowners and manufacturers facilitate forest certification and the certified sourcing of forest products. Partners will work collectively with the SFI community to make certification more efficient and accessible by providing resources for activities such as shared consulting expertise, group certification or audit coordination.
"A decade ago, Time Inc. was one of the first companies to make a public commitment to use 80% certified fiber. Progress beyond that goal has been hampered by the limited availability of adequate supply," said Guy Gleysteen, Senior Vice President of Production at Time Inc. "SFI Forest Partners lets us have a direct impact on the growth of forest certification and the responsible sourcing of forest products."
By the end of 2014, SFI Forest Partners aims to certify five million acres (two million hectares) of forests to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard. By the end of 2017, the Forest Partners Program hopes to certify 10 million acres (four million hectares) of forest across the United States and Canada. It will also seek to certify more small and medium-sized mills to SFI certified sourcing or chain-of-custody certification.
"We believe strongly that we, as publishers, have a role to play in encouraging responsible forestry practices," said Hans Wegner, Chief Sustainability Officer for the National Geographic Society. "We know that humans are deforesting the globe, particularly in the tropical regions of the world, at a clip of approximately 2 percent a year, a trend that is completely unsustainable. We may well be the last generation with the opportunity to reverse that trend."
"Sustainability is a core mission for Macmillan," said CEO John Sargent. "By committing to the use of certified fiber sourced from well-managed North American forests we are ensuring responsible, environmentally-friendly forestry while also supporting the most efficient global use of recycled fiber. Third-party certification instills confidence that we are making informed choices that keep domestic forests healthy, rural communities strong, and preserves fragile forests in other areas of our world."
"Forest Certification is an increasingly important tool in the ongoing struggle to create a sustainable world. Trees absorb carbon. Well-managed forests help address deforestation, protect and enhance biodiversity, and underpin sustainable livelihoods," said Rich Glicini, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Pearson. "Five years ago we made a commitment to climate neutrality for our directly-controlled operations. Helping to promote responsible forest management practices complements that commitment and continues to be a priority for Pearson companies."
"The SFI Forest Partners Program builds on an innovative pilot project in Maine that resulted in an additional 1.4 million acres/570,000 hectares certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard," said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. "The Maine project also resulted in 100,000 acres of forest lands certified to the American Tree Farm Standard. We look forward to building on that initiative with these four founding members of the Forest Partners Program."