Madison, WI — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced the Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award for Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability at the 2022 SFI/Project Learning Tree (PLT) Annual Conference on June 15, 2022. Paul Trianosky, SFI’s Chief Conservation Officer, is this year’s recipient. During his time at SFI, Trianosky laid the groundwork for SFI’s focus on the role of forest certification in advancing critical forest values relative to climate change, biodiversity, and water.

SFI and International Paper created this award to celebrate Dr. Sharon Haines. Dr. Haines was International Paper’s Director of the Office of Sustainability before her sudden passing in 2007. She had vast knowledge and incredible insight in natural resources stewardship, and she was uniquely successful in fostering strong partnerships with conservation organizations. “The award pays tribute to Sharon’s legacy by recognizing people that help to make advancements in sustainable forestry and Paul did just that with the collaborative projects he has managed with the SFI community and stakeholders,” says Ross Congo, Sustainability Manager, International Paper.

“A hallmark of Paul’s career has been his ability to engage the wider conservation community to position sustainable forest management as a nature-based solution to conservation challenges,” says Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI.

Since 2013, Trianosky led SFI’s collaborative approach to focusing on conservation across more than 350 million acres/140 million hectares of certified forests. His signature achievement was leading the development of SFI’s Conservation Impact work, which measures the carbon sequestered, biodiversity maintained or recovered, and water purified on the SFI footprint. The results of this work have been compiled into a report entitled “SFI’s Conservation Impact – A Decade of Success,” released this week.

“Paul has been a thought leader at the cutting edge of forest sustainability, never shying away from the challenges of balancing productive forestry practices and conservation outcomes. In seeking solutions to these challenges, his approach has been inclusive, innovative, and respectful. Combined with his integrity, sense of humor, and impeccable southern gentleman manners, it is no surprise that Paul’s unique combination of qualities produced such a profound impact on sustainable forestry practices,” says Dr. Healy Hamilton, Chief Scientist at NatureServe.

The SFI Conservation Grants Program flourished under Trianosky’s direction and fostered collaboration between SFI-certified organizations and conservation and academic researchers. He developed the Conservation Impact Sounding Board to engage the conservation community as part of SFI’s Conservation Impact work. The Sounding Board helps ensure SFI grantees and partners come together to provide input, direction, and ensure relevance of the conservation work done across the SFI network.

“Collaboration is part of Paul’s DNA. As ABC worked with SFI and over a dozen SFI‑certified organizations to understand and promote the values of sustainable forests for birds of conservation concern, Paul was always right there with us—encouraging innovation, allowing for flexibility, and pushing for larger outcomes. He broadened our partner network and was instrumental in moving us towards a continental view of bird conservation through sustainable forest management,” says EJ Williams, Vice President, Southeast Region, at the American Bird Conservancy.

Prior to joining SFI, Trianosky was the Director of Southern Forest Conservation at the American Forest Foundation. Trianosky also served in a variety of progressively senior roles at The Nature Conservancy. He was part of the team that negotiated the purchase of 220,000 acres/89,000 hectares from International Paper in 2006—the largest conservation transaction in the history of the US South.

“I have really enjoyed working with Paul over many years. He is a true gentleman. He has a knack of always saying the thing I wish I had said! His calm and measured demeanor is guaranteed to help any group advance its thinking without distraction, and his good humor always keeps proceedings light and enjoyable,” says Mike Parr, President of the American Bird Conservancy and SFI board member.

“Paul has left his mark on sustainable forestry. He has an engaging way of sharing his deep conservation knowledge and has contributed extensively to SFI’s growth as an organization,” says Abusow. “Paul will be greatly missed by all of us at SFI and the wider forest sector, but the impact of his work will live on after he retires this summer.”

About Dr. Sharon G. Haines

Dr. Sharon G. Haines was the first director of International Paper’s Office of Sustainability. Her successes included developing many of the company’s innovative partnerships with conservation groups, leading the development of its sustainable forestry programs, championing projects to protect endangered species across company land, helping to establish sustainable forestry policy issues at the national and international levels, and mentoring colleagues to help them excel professionally. Haines was selected as a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters and received an American Forest & Paper Association 2005 Conservation Award. She was a member of the National Commission on the Science of Sustainable Forestry and worked with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. SFI and International Paper created the Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award for Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability to celebrate Dr. Sharon Haines after her sudden passing on Aug. 10, 2007.

About International Paper

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global supplier of renewable fiber-based products. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable worldwide commerce, and pulp for diapers, tissue and other personal care products that promote health and wellness. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., we employ approximately 38,000 colleagues globally. We serve customers worldwide, with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa and Europe. Net sales for 2021 were $19.4 billion. Additional information can be found by visiting

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative