Dear SFI Network,
I hope everyone had a nice holiday season. I wanted to start the year with some lessons from 2020 that can inform our work going forward. I am proud of what we achieved together
last year during such unique times and appreciative of how we adapted.
Last year we saw a newfound appreciation for forests by so many. Both Canadian and U.S. governments identified the forest sector as essential during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, an increasing number of people are learning to recognize the physical and mental benefits of forests as folks get outside to exercise, breathe fresh air, and find a safe and healthy place to spend time with friends and family. Given this appreciation of the outdoors, we pivoted early last year to make many of our Project Learning Tree resources accessible online so families could use these environmental education tools more easily.
There were other important highlights from the last year as well:
- High interest in our standard revision process. In fact, due to the necessary shift to online workshops, we received more input than in years past, because an even greater number of people, more than 2,300, joined remotely than would normally participate in person.
- Increasing recognition of how sustainably managed forests are critical for addressing global challenges such as climate change and species recovery, and an increasing need for responsible, renewable products that reduce waste and support a circular economy.
- Consumer awareness of the power to address sustainability issues via purchase choice. We have survey results that not only support this insight but also show that 52% of consumers now recognize the SFI label and, of those, 90% trust it.
- Momentum in the sector to increase diversity and accessibility. We found this in our own work as we achieved gender balance in our 3,500 job placements through Project Learning Tree Canada.
Like many of you, I am excited about moving forward into 2021 while building on the lessons of 2020. For example, SFI will be focused on expanding our influence in 2021 in some key areas including:
- Support for SFI-certified organizations in the continued revisions of the SFI standards on key issues like climate smart forestry, fire management and the role of Indigenous Peoples
- Better using technology for core activities such as conducting audits and providing online professional development.
- Increased focus on urban forestry through new collaborations across the SFI network and with new partners
- Continued commitment to the expansion and diversification of the SFI network
SFI is looking forward to continuing working with you this year and beyond to increase our collective impact as we focus on solving some of today’s biggest sustainability challenges.