Why Chain of Custody is Still Important

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 11/29/2013

What do National Geographic, the Boy Scouts and the White House have in common? They all support the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

via Unisource Unplugged

November 22nd, 2013

What do National Geographic, the Boy Scouts and the White House have in common?  They all support the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

The late Stirling Adams, who served as president of Ducks Unlimited in 1961-1962, once said, "Conservation without money is just conversation,and his well-spoken words are still true today.  All around us we see evidence that conservation partnerships foster 'on the ground' improvements through investment and research to pursue healthy and productive forests.  And forest certification helps fund conservation projects to advance sustainable forestry.  Since 2010 SFI alone has supported more than 40 grants with more than 150 partners totaling $4.8 million for conservation research.  This research extends beyond reforestation and has included such developments as a tool to promote healthy watersheds and reporting systems for product sustainability."

Why Chain of Custody is Still Important

The theme for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Annual Conference I recently attended was 'Writing the Next Chapter.' Forest certification and Chain of Custody (CoC) programs like SFI have evolved to consist of conservation partnerships, innovation, and stakeholder engagement.  This has become increasingly vital in today's market, where responsible sourcing of forest products is more important than ever.

Why?  To continuously improve forestry practices, environmental innovation is needed and requires an investment in research.  Since 1995, SFI participants have invested $1.4 billion in research to benefit eco-systems and wildlife habitat and communities; the best scientific information available is used in certification and forest management planning.  SFI-trained loggers and landowner education advance the long-term health and productivity of certified forests.

In various parts of North America, including the Boreal forest, I've been in the woods and have seen firsthand the positive impacts of forest planning and responsibly managed land.  Most notably, I've seen the results of the best management practices to protect water quality and the strong requirements with respect to wildlife management.  The science, technology, and research work, but not without everyone's support.  Each September SFI brings together a wide range of stakeholders who care about the future of our forests: environmental, economic and social groups, including conservation groups, indigenous peoples, state foresters, loggers, landowners and brand-owners, to educate, inform, and foster collaboration for continued progress.

Chain of Custody is an integral part of this progress.  The use of certified products is becoming integrated into corporate sustainability initiatives, consumer awareness, and our daily lives, not just here at Unisource, but in hospitals, universities, offices, and homes all over North America and across the globe.

Sustainability is the only business model that will survive.

We love the great "Paper Because" series of ads from Domtar - the one to the left, in particular, hits home. It reinforces the point that sustainable operations are not an option in this day and age, they are a necessity. And we pursue CoC certifications for as many of our products as possible.  We do this not only because it holds us accountable to make sure our products are the best option for the planet, but because we know that sustainable solutions contribute to a healthy bottom line.

For us and for our customers.  The call to action is clear and meaningful; let's support responsible forestry by choosing and promoting certified forest products.

Learn more about Unisource's position on Chain of Custody here, and for more information on our sustainability practices, peruse our latest Sustainability Report.  We have a long way to go, and while our track record of accomplishments is great so far,  we're looking forward to the next chapter.