Publishers Time Inc., the National Geographic Society, Macmillan, and Pearson have formed a partnership with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative eco-label in a bid to help spur the growth of certification to preserve and protect forests.
SFI Forest Partners says it will aim to make certification more efficient and accessible by providing resources for activities such as shared consulting expertise, group certification and audit coordination.
By the end of 2014, SFI Forest Partners aims to certify five million acres of forests to the SFI 2010-2014 standard. By the end of 2017, the program hopes to certify 10 million acres of forest across the United States and Canada. It will also seek to certify more small and medium-sized mills to SFI sourcing or chain-of-custody certification, SFI said.
The SFI Forest Partners Program builds on a pilot project in Maine that resulted in an additional 1.4 million acres certified to the SFI 2010-2014 standard. The Maine project also resulted in 100,000 acres of forest lands certified to the American Tree Farm Standard, SFI says.
A decade ago, Time Inc. was one of the first companies to make a public commitment to use 80 percent certified fiber, according to Guy Gleysteen, Time’s senior vice president of production. But Gleysteen said that progress beyond that goal has been “hampered” by inadequate supplies of certified paper. Time is hoping that the new partnership will give it a direct impact on the growth of forest certification and the responsible sourcing of forest products.
Five years ago Pearson committed itself to climate neutrality for its directly-controlled operation. The publisher is hoping that the partnership will help compliment the commitment.
In May, US Airways, Shutterfly, Energizer, Allied Electronics, Phillips Van Heusen, Pitney Bowes and Ruby Tuesday announced they would stop using the SFI seal on their products, marking a growing exodus from the eco-label. The move away from SFI was catalyzed by a report by nonprofit ForestEthics, which claimed SFI had inadequate standards to protect forests. At the time of the story, 21 major brands had distanced themselves from SFI, with many of these companies also making commitments to shift over to products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.