Forestry SFI ATFS (Sustainable Forestry)
Our ecosystem—forests, seas, jungles, and more—is important to protect despite all our needs for the resources we obtain from them. This time, we want to focus on an area in specific, which is the forest since the entire topic or discussing the ecosystem can take us hours. And for now, we also one to discuss this topic due to the main reason you are here: an ISO standard.
But before jumping to the standard itself, we want to know and ask you something: do you consider that is important to reduce our needs for forest-based resources? If you ask us, our answer will be “yes” right away, and if you want a political or neutral justification for this it is because we are not going in the right direction by exploiting the resources. Instead, we are going directly to the situation we all know that consists of running out of the so needed resources, like wood, rocks, and more.
Now, try to enter the context and problems or issues related to preserving and taking care of our forests by thinking in the companies, industries, and projects everyone has. Most of them include removing several hectares of trees and nature that only compromises the environment, and even the processes and operations of some companies involve using even more resources from these areas. This needs to be controlled, and somehow, the U.S. Government has tried to create and establish several rules and standards in order to protect the massive green areas and forests we have.
But most of the standards that are established and implemented come from non-profit organizations such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. which is a leader in standing for future forests. The mention of this organization takes us to the main topic: the SFI standard. This standard, which has the same name as the organization (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) protects the biodiversity that can be found in the forests and every part of it.
How? The main objective is to find a balance between the projects and construction that people want to carry out in these areas. In this way, the company that wants to have access to the area usually promises to respect the biodiversity in order to maintain and even improve the current one. This is one of the most difficult standards to deal with due to how difficult is to control companies that have even followed it when they started, to meet every detail in the long-term.
Besides, we are aware that it isn’t simple to meet every requirement since they involve many changes and additions to your management systems and even goals. But it is necessary, and we couldn’t be happier or more agree with the standard. Now, everything you have to do is one thing: implement it correctly and maintain your balance with the ecosystem in the forest.
Why you should know about this standard
Companies that are in the middle of the city don’t really worry about following this standard unless their operations and certain areas have forest-based resources included or involved. Also, if your company is placed near one or will directly use these resources, you definitely need to meet the requirements in this standard. Actually, it is mandatory for most companies since using forest-based resources is something quite normal and common among businesses.
And this is pretty much the reason—the main one, at least—why you should start to get familiar with it. Even if you already started your business or you are planning to do so. The SFI standard works as a program—or similar to one—to set several objectives and goals for companies to make sure they have a responsible environmental behavior that won’t compromise the biodiversity.
More than just protecting species at risk and wildlife habitat, it is also about protecting every resource in the area, such as water and wood, to ensure their prompt regeneration. Unlike other standards or regulations some organizations and companies want to get approved, this one focused on the premise of co-existing. This means that SFI Inc. was thinking of creating a fair relationship where the forest and biodiversity won’t get affected and can allow businesses and people overall to still get resources.
In simpler words, it wants to follow the idea of businesses, people’s ideas, and needs can co-exist with responsible use of the resources to guarantee their preservation. A company that follows this standard and gets certified on it shows organizations, businesses, and anyone in contact with it that it implements a responsible use of the resources. You use right what is necessary and won’t affect the ecosystem.
But, what does ATFS mean?
Most of the time, the names you will find from standards consist of only one certification or normative. However, in this case, ATFS goes for the American Tree Farm System, which is an organization that works in sustaining forests, watershed, and protecting wildlife habitat to guarantee safe and perfect areas for animals. Currently, this is one of the most recognized forest certification systems in the United States due to all the trajectory it has and every effort it has put into achieving these goals.
Over the years, the system or program has promoted several behaviors, starting with more responsible forest management on the private forests in the United States. Unlike other organizations in this area—such as the previous SFI—, ATFS focuses on private forests and areas where the biodiversity and ecosystem are being affected. But how does this system help to protect areas that aren’t public? By providing low-cost certifications and giving all the tools family woodland owners need to keep forests healthy and properly maintained.
The ATFS entails and involves many aspects and elements that play important roles in the care and maintenance of forests in our nation. And you might be wondering now, does one of these elements include SFI? It does. It has been a few years since both organizations or companies formed a partnership to promote the certification in the standard provided for both of them.
In this way, they encourage more people and companies—privates and public—to get certified and do the right thing in protecting our forest areas. The forest they try to protect through these certifications is usually small or medium and located in the South of the country. However, recently, both have expanded their goals and are aiming for large green areas as well.
How can you get certified with both programs and standards?
If you are looking for SFI only or before anything else, you can contact the organization directly or get a validated company that can help you to implement the standard, meet every requirement, and get you certified. Now, you can also do the same with ATFS if you own a private forest area or something a space that is included in what it protects. When it comes to their partnership, companies, individuals, families, and everyone that owns or uses forest-based resources can get certified in both SFI and ATFS.
You only need to ask for the SFI’s Forest Partners Programs and you will be certified in both without having to go through the individual implementations or processes. So far, we are sure you have noticed it is a lot of work to inform yourself, learn about these certifications and standards, and to get certified with them. However, although they are not necessary but rather an option, we encourage you to do it.
Both of them are quite affordable unlike many other standards, and you will not only do the right thing but also gain benefits from them. And we mention this last aspect just to give you an extra incentive. If you want to get more information about how to access all this, you can always contact us. We are a validated company that also promotes these two certifications and their partnership program. For this, we have made sure to educate and train in the standards and systems. So, make sure to ask us any questions, let us know your doubts, and allow our experts to guide you through the process.
When was the last update of SFI?
This standard updates every 5 years to make sure it is focusing on the current problems in the forest and areas of not only the United States but Canada as well. Therefore, you will need to stay familiar with the changes that are of your interests and make sure that every element and part of it is met. Overall, standards always change, and although this one doesn’t correspond to ISO since it is not from this organization, it is quite similar to the ones you might be familiar with.
The most recent standard was established for the period of 2015-2019 and was determine before beginning 2015. After all, the version took effect on January 1rst, 2015. Something you must know about these certifications is that third-parties and accredited auditors or bodies are the ones that provide them and carry out the audits.
This is to guarantee an independent and reliable process that won’t cause problems for the organization and your company. However, SFI Inc. still regulates its processes and all the certifications it provides. We are sure you won’t have problems obtaining one as long as you compromise yourself to take care of the forests and not only look at it as an obligation.
What happens with ATFS?
Since this is a program—or system—it usually doesn’t have many changes nor revisions. It is constantly updated or the organization makes sure to add the needed requirements to correct some situations and make sure to find solutions. What is important to focus on is the combination of both of them.
A public/private partnership allows covering and certifying millions of acres to guarantee the protection of biodiversity and forest-based resources. There is a lot you need to learn and understand, but since you are here, we are sure you are already going in the right direction. Just make sure to start implementing the standard, being part of the ATFS, and get both certifications.
It will bring several benefits to your company and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing the right team. Now, you are not alone in all this process. You can contact us, ISO Pros, to get certified, or to start implementing the standard and program to meet every aspect and requirement.
Our experts won’t disappoint and they are more than qualified and experienced. We have worked with SFI since it was created, and ATFS isn’t any different. This last program is quite old, and we have been operating for over a decade.
Since we started providing these services and certifications, we have been familiar with ATFS. So, don’t hesitate and get more information here!