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What does SFI Certified mean?
SFI stands for Sustainable Forest Initiative. The SFI are an organization that is dedicated to ensuring forests are sustainably managed and conserved. They provide their certification to mills and manufacturers who meet strict guidelines for sourcing and using materials that come from sustainably managed forests.
At EnviroTakeout we are dedicated to ensuring our products are as environmentally friendly as possible. We are proud to say that our selection of hot cups and food containers are made from SFI certified paperboard.
What are the requirements for SFI Certification?
SFI has extensive requirements for how forests should be managed. They define sustainable forestry as being able to meet current resource needs while ensuring future generations will also be able to do so. Because of this the majority of requirements focus on reforestation and conservation efforts towards the soil, air, water quality, bio-diversity, wildlife, and aquatic habitats.
If a product isn’t SFI certified does that mean it’s bad?
Not necessarily. In addition to SFI there are many other non-profits and regulating bodies who are working hard to make sure forest conservation comes first during logging. There are other certifications like FSC and PEFC that are also good indicators that you’re purchasing a sustainably sourced product. These certifications and indicators are the best possible way to tell right now, but these types of indicators are still new and expanding to many industries.
It's also important to remember that when you see products with no certification or label it doesn't necessarily mean the product is made with materials gathered illegally or in ways harmful to the environment. There are many legal logging companies who have various environmental factors they consider, they may just not be as strict as what’s required for these certifications, or they haven’t sought out the certification yet.
Forest related materials are in a huge variety of products that surround us in day-to-day life including food packaging, furniture, picture frames, instruments, sporting equipment and more. As consumers all we can do is our best possible due diligence when making a new purchase.
The scary reality of illegal logging
Anywhere from 50-90% of deforestation in the tropical forests located in the Amazon, Central Africa and Southeast Asia each year is considered to be illegal. These materials are then sold to be used for manufacturing. The illegal logging industry is estimated to be worth up to $152 Billion dollars.
Deforestation is the largest issue with illegal logging. Since illegal logging is done for money, they are not taking the time and steps to replace what they’ve taken. This results in irreparable harm. Since forests absorb carbon dioxide losing forests directly translates to more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Trees also help control water levels and regulate water cycles. This can make the soil dry out and cause the land to no longer be usable, even for growing crops. When soil is dry it's also more likely to erode which contributes to coastal flooding.
The forests are home to 70% of all land animals and plant species in the world. When this environment is taken away this doesn’t just endanger animals but has already caused some species to go extinct. Some at risk forests are also the homes of many tribes of indigenous people who use the forest for agriculture and hunting.
The SFI requires strict forest management practices that includes creating a detailed plan that ensures at risk eco-systems are kept off limits, and that the parts of the forest that are harvested are replanted with the same plant and tree species originally there. This is to make sure there is no loss of biodiversity, and to prevent invasive species from moving in and damaging the existing forest ecosystem. They watch these requirements so closely that they even test the soil levels to make sure it remains unchanged.
Learn more and join the cause
There is a lot of important information out there about deforestation and its effects on climate change. If you’d like to learn more and need a place to start here are a few resources that we found particularly interesting.
Interpol has a lot of excellent information and news posts about their work to fight forest crime. You can learn about their current initiatives and find posts about global arrests and success stories.
World Wildlife Federation has lots of great resources about the need for healthy forests and details on how to help.
You can find a detailed list of the SFI standards and rules, as well as the measures they take to ensure the rules are followed here.
We have a blog where we talk about other certifications, eco-news and highlight our eco-friendly products.
If you’re looking to reduce your footprint and get rid of single use plastics at your business you can also check out our selection of eco-friendly tableware, takeout containers, cups & carriers, and cutlery.