SFI Bad for Forests

Expose "Sustainable" Forestry Initiative's Greenwash

Forest Destruction: look for the SFI label

Brands rely on eco-labels to communicate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and thanks to a growing green marketplace they also profit from them. In 2013 the United Nations Environmental Program estimated that the global market for certified forest products was more than $20 billion per year.1

Meaningful certification is independent, rigorous, and science-based. An eco-label should identify wood, paper, and other forest products from forests where core ecological and social values such as forest health, wildlife, water quality, and human rights are protected, and controversial and unnecessarily destructive logging are prohibited.

The logging industry created the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) to deceive customers who are willing to pay 15 to 25 percent2 more for responsibly harvested forest products. But SFI is governed and financed by the same logging companies that it certifies. SFI misleads consumers who expect a socially and environmentally responsible product when they see the green tree label or hear the word “sustainable.” SFI does not deliver and is a significant threat to the integrity of any brand using or promoting the SFI logos. 

SFI certifies irresponsible and even illegal logging practices that have a disastrous impact on North American forests:

  • 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 Trespass SFI allows excessive spraying of toxic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides that poison fresh water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.
  • Endangered Forest Destruction SFI actually promoted its program to loggers by saying it does not prohibit logging in old-growth forests or roadless wilderness areas.
  • Converting Forests to Plantations SFI allows 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.


Solution: Reject SFI

Companies need to remember that the customer is always right. So far, 31 major US companies including 3M, Office Depot, and AT&T have stood up for healthy forests by distancing their brands from SFI and moving millions of dollars in buying power away from forest destruction.Join ForestEthics and join the corporate leaders who have stood up for healthy forests by rejecting SFI.

View the SFI slideshow
Learn more in our SFI photo essay >>


Sources and more information:

[1], [2] http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/Portals/88/GETReport/pdf/FullReport.pdf

Peeling Back the Eco-Labels Report, January 2015
SFI New and Unimproved Report, September 2015
SFI: Certified Greenwash Report, November 2010

Latest News

[Bellingham, WA] Environmental watchdog ForestEthics announced today that four major US brands, Xero
Whether you are a consumer buying copy paper or a Fortune 1000 company sourcing forest products, choosing SFI is the wrong choice for our forests. Why? Check out the research...

SFI unimproved report

Learn more about why you shouldn’t trust SFI

The Issue

The truth behind the phony SFI label

The Facts

SFI: Poster child of greenwash eco-labels

The Solutions

Reveal the phoniness of SFI label
[default donate block]


Blog post: SFI Remains New and Unimproved

Still Allows Massive Clear Cuts and Human Rights Abuse

Major environmental groups oppose SFI greenwash

In sign-on letter, ForestEthics and 20 others challenge SFI Download the sign-on letter

SFI: Certified Greenwash Report

Inside the Sustainable Forestry Initiative's Deceptive Eco-Label