All SCC accredited Management Systems Certification Bodies providing certification to sustainable forest management systems and SCC-accredited Certification Bodies accredited to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Chain-of-Custody scheme shall ensure they complete their transition reviews to the applicable standards by the deadlines indicated below.
SCC-accredited Management Systems Certification Bodies providing certification to sustainable forest management systems and SCC-accredited Certification Bodies accredited to the SFI Chain-of-Custody scheme.
National forest certification standards within the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) system go through a periodic review every five years from the first endorsement milestone. The periodic review includes a gap analysis, public consultation and consideration of feedback. This review ensures that the national systems are regularly updated to meet PEFC’s evolving benchmarks as well as national and international expectations. The periodic review leads to the standard being either reaffirmed or revised.
CSA Z809 was reaffirmed, while American Tree Farm Systems (ATFS) and SFI were revised. Both reaffirmed and revised standards shall be assessed by a PEFC Registered Assessor in order to maintain PEFC endorsement. Based on the assessment result and the assessor’s recommendation, the PEFC Board of Directors recommends endorsement to the PEFC General Assembly. The PEFC General Assembly met in November 2021.
SCC anticipates that PEFC will endorse the following by the end of December 2021:
- SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard
- SFI Small Lands Group Certification Module
- SFI Small Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples and Families
The SFI 2022 Chain-of-Custody Standard is expected to receive PEFC endorsement in spring 2022.
American Tree Farm Systems (ATFS)
Changes to the standard (PDF) are largely minor and provide additional clarification and guidance. Key changes include:
Standard 1 – Commitment to Practicing Sustainable Forestry: Additional guidance for landowner education opportunities.
Standard 3 – Reforestation and Afforestation: There is now guidance on conversion for planation and afforestation, the additional permitting of naturalized species where appropriate for afforestation and reforestation, and guidance stating that most tree farmer collaborators with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) deploy stock that was developed using traditional backcross hybrids that are not considered genetically modified trees per PEFC.
Standard 4 – Air, Water and Soil Protection: Additional requirement for landowner on documenting pesticide usage.
Standard 5 – Fish, Wildlife, Biodiversity and Forest Health: Clarification on resources to consult for threatened or endangered species, such as qualified natural resources professionals.
Standard 7 – Protect Special Sites: Clarification on resources for special sites.
Standard 8 – Forest Product Harvests and Other Activities: Landowner may designate a representative to monitor forest management activities.
Eligibility and inspection requirements have also changed, including allowing some remote inspections outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. Standard changes are covered in detail in the AFF inspector training course.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
There are revisions and new requirements established in the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules. The following documents outline these revised and new requirements:
- Major Enhancements in the SFI Forest Management Standard Address Key Sustainability Challenges (PDF)
- Major Enhancements in the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard Address Key Sustainability Challenges (PDF)
- SFI 2022 Standards and Rules Track Change Version (April 15, 2021) (PDF)
These documents are linked above and available on the SFI website along with other resources.
SCC will assess customers to these requirements for the transition process and annually.
The standard has been reaffirmed.
ATFS: Certification Bodies shall audit to the ATFS 2021 standards from January 1, 2022 onward, with all certificates being updated by December 31, 2022.
Certification Bodies are expected to provide a transition plan to SCC. The plan shall include the necessary changes to meet the requirements of ATFS 2021 standards, which will be assessed at a scheduled assessment activity by December 31, 2021.
SFI: The SFI 2015-2019 Standards are under a PEFC endorsement extension until the end of 2021. The SFI 2022 Standards and Rules (PDF) comes into effect on January 1, 2022. As a result, the following key deadlines and requirement shall be met:
- Certification Bodies should be ready to audit against the new SFI 2022 Standards and Rules as of January 1, 2022.
In order to be ready to audit, the accredited Certification Bodies are expected to provide a transition plan to SCC by December 24, 2021 outlining how it will conform and implement the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules requirements including transition of Certified Organizations. SCC will evaluate the transition plan through a desk review for which SCC fees will apply. All Certification Bodies shall be fully transitioned to the new requirements by March 31, 2022.
The transition plan shall include, but is not limited, to the following items:
- High-level description of how the Certification Bodies will successfully transition to meet the requirements of the new standards. The transition plan will include at a minimum, timelines for Certification Body transition, transition of SFI 2015-2021 Certified Organizations, SFI 2022 competence, and issuance of a SFI 2022 certificate.
- QMS documentation showing the changes
- Training records
- Certified Organizations have until December 31, 2022, to implement all new and revised requirements in the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules. Certified Organizations shall demonstrate conformance to the new requirements at their first surveillance audit following the implementation period. Furthermore, the SFI 2015-2021 Certified Organization shall prepare a transition plan outlining how it will implement the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules requirements before the 2022 audit. This transition plan will be subject to audit during both re-certification and surveillance audits during 2022 and 2023.
- Initial certification audits in 2022 shall be conducted against the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules.
- After March 31, 2022, all re-certification audits shall be conducted against the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules. For re-certification audits against the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard, the SFI 2022 Fiber Sourcing Standard, the SFI 2022 Chain-of-Custody Standard, and the SFI 2022 Certified Sourcing Standard, minor nonconformities against new requirements in the standards shall be reported but will not adversely affect re-certification until after December 31, 2022. Prior to re-certification, major nonconformities must be closed, and a corrective action plan accepted by the Certification Body for minor nonconformities.
- Surveillance audits through December 31, 2022 may be conducted against the SFI 2015-2021 Forest Management Standard, the SFI 2015-2021 Fiber Sourcing Standard, Appendix 1 and/or the SFI 2015-2021 Chain-of-Custody Standard at the Certified Organization's choice. For surveillance audits after March 31, 2022, minor nonconformities against new requirements in the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules shall be reported and managed within the Certification Body’s processes but will not adversely affect certification status until December 31, 2022; these audits shall also include the Certification Body’s assessment of transition plan to fully transition to the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules by December 31, 2022.
- After December 31, 2022, all audits shall be conducted against the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules.
- Certification Bodies shall not maintain existing certificates issued under the SFI 2015-2021 Forest Management Standard, the SFI 2015-2021 Fiber Sourcing Standard, the SFI 2015-2021 Fiber Sourcing Standard, Appendix 1 and/or the SFI 2015-2021 Chain-of-Custody Standard with an expiry date after December 31, 2022, following surveillance audits in the absence of a satisfactory transition plan outlining how the Certified Organization will implement the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules requirements by December 31, 2022.
- Certification Bodies shall not issue certificates under the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard, the SFI 2022 Fiber Sourcing Standard, the SFI 2022 Chain-of-Custody Standard and/or the SFI 2022 Certified Sourcing Standard, based on a surveillance audit until such time as the Certified Organization has completed the implementation of its transition plan. For a SFI 2022 certificate to be issued, a full system audit must be conducted.
SFI has published a summary document, Transition to the SFI 2022 Standards & Rules (PDF), which is available on the SFI website.
For Certified Organizations with certificates expiring in 2021 or the first quarter of 2022, companies may face consecutive, full system audits (one to maintain 2015-2021 certification and one to the SFI 2022 Standard(s)). To avoid this, Certification Bodies may offer alternative methodology to extend the 5-year certification cycle to 6 years. Should the Certification Body use the alternative methodology, SCC will verify implementation during assessment activities.
Certified Organizations shall develop an SFI 2022 transition plan in order to have their 2015-2021 certificate remain valid to the time of the 2023 audit.
During the transition process to the SFI 2022 Standards and Rules, SFI 2015-2021 certificates are valid until December 31, 2023. After this date, no SFI 2015-2021 certificate is valid.
As the CSA Z809 Standard has been reaffirmed, there are no new requirements that need to be met.