Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certification

The Sierra Club opposes the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).


Wolf in Sheep's Clothing  

The logging industry created SFI in 1994 to pass off as ‘sustainable’ some of the most intensive and harmful industrial logging occurring in North America today. SFI approves environmentally and socially irresponsible -- and sometimes illegal -- practices including:

    • Clearcutting - The average clearcut approved by SFI is the size of 90 football fields. The damage to forests, water quality, and wildlife are often permanent.
    • Toxic Pollution - SFI allows excessive spraying of toxic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides that poison fresh water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.
    • Destroying Endangered Forests - SFI allows logging in old-growth forests and roadless wilderness areas.
    • Converting Forests to Plantations - SFI sanctions turning natural forest into ecologically barren industrial tree farms, including the use of genetically modified trees.
    • Violating Human Rights - SFI labels can be applied to products made from forests cut without consultation of Indigenous People and in violation of legal and international human rights standards.

Over two dozen leading environmental organizations, including Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and numerous other environmental groups agree that the SFI is greenwash and using the SFI brand carries a reputational risk.

The SFI has updated its suite of standards for the certification of forests and forest products, replacing the 2015-2019 standards with versions that go into effect in 2022. In releasing the revised standards, the SFI claims to have made major enhancements in critical areas like climate and biodiversity. Sierra Club has conducted an in-depth analysis of the changes, however, and finds that by and large they amount to the Same-Old Forest Industry greenwash. > LEARN MORE