SFI — In view of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which originated from Russia with the support of Belarus, the PEFC Board took the decision to declare that all forest fiber originating from Russia and Belarus is now categorized 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). PEFC’s website has more details on this decision.
 
This categorization remains in place for the next six months. What this means is that effective immediately any fiber from Russia and Belarus that had not been risk assessed using a PEFC due diligence system prior to 11:55 a.m. Eastern Time, March 2, 2022, cannot enter the PEFC supply chain. By extension, this ban would also apply to fiber entering the SFI supply chain.
 
Therefore, I want you to be aware that SFI is aligning with PEFC on this point and will categorize any fiber from Russia and Belarus as conflict fiber as defined in SFI’s Fiber Sourcing and SFI’s CoC standards (see below). As a member of PEFC, SFI and PEFC share the same prohibition on conflict timber and the same definition.
 
The SFI and PEFC 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.
 
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PEFC Board decided not to revoke the endorsement of the Russian and Belarussian Forest management standards, nor has it rescinded the PEFC membership of Russia and Belarus as they do not hold them accountable for Putin’s actions.
 
Gregor Macintosh RPF, CF
Senior Director, Standards
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
Tel. (778) 351-3358