Fiber from Russia and Belarus categorized as Conflict Timber

In view of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which originated from Russia with the support of Belarus, SFI is categorizing any fiber originating from Russia and Belarus as conflict timber as defined in SFI’s Fiber Sourcing and Chain of Custody standards. This aligns with the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification’s (PEFC) decision to declare all forest fiber originating from Russia and Belarus as conflict timber.  The clarification that timber from Russia and Belarus is to be categorized as conflict timber is based on the UN General Assembly Resolution A/ES-11/L.1 “Aggression against Ukraine” during the 11th Emergency Special Session, which “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine […] [and] the involvement of Belarus” (2 March 2022).

SFI and PEFC share the same definition of conflict timber:

“Timber that has been traded at some point in the chain of custody by armed groups, be they rebel factions or regular soldiers, or by a civilian administration involved in armed conflict or its representatives, either to perpetuate conflict or take advantage of conflict situations for personal gain. (…) Conflict timber is not necessarily illegal.” Note: Definition in quotations as used by the United Nations Environment Programme.

What this means is that any fiber from Russia and Belarus that had not been risk assessed using a SFI or PEFC due diligence system prior to 11:55 a.m. Eastern Time, March 2, 2022, cannot enter the SFI or PEFC supply chain. SFI in cooperation with PEFC are monitoring the conflict and will review this categorization as needed.

It is important to note that the PEFC Board decided not to revoke the endorsement of the Russian and Belarussian Forest management standards, nor has it rescinded the PEFC membership of Russia and Belarus as they do not hold them accountable for Putin’s actions.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Gregor Macintosh RPF, CF
Senior Director, Standards
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
Tel. (778) 351-3358

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