OTTAWA, ON – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative welcomed two new officers and one new member to its board of directors: Mark Rodgers as board chair, Guy Gleysteen as vice-chair, and Laura Downey as a new member in the social chamber.

“Mark brings experience as a community leader and builder, Guy works as a senior executive overseeing global supply chains and Laura is known for her vision when it comes to youth environmental education. Their combined experience and skills will further SFI’s reputation and impact as a sustainability organization,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc.

SFI’s 18-member, multi-stakeholder board of directors comprises three chambers, representing environmental, economic and social interests equally.

Mark Rodgers is president and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada and SFI chair. Rodgers, who originally joined the SFI Board in 2013, is the first SFI chair to come from a community-building organization. To date, chairs have represented economic or conservation interests on the board. Rodgers has been involved with Habitat for Humanity since 2000. He created and implemented a national strategy for directing and supporting Habitat for Humanity’s 58 affiliates in Canada. Mark has also been recognized with awards for civic and social leadership.

His new role speaks to the importance of SFI’s relationship with Habitat for Humanity in Canada. SFI has a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Indigenous Housing Program and SFI Implementation Committees that have supported Habitat builds from British Columbia, Maine, Manitoba, Minnesota, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Tennessee.

In his new role, Rodgers will also be welcoming delegates and driving the agenda at the 2017 SFI Annual Conference in Ottawa Sep. 27-29.

Guy Gleysteen, senior vice-president, Time Inc. will be SFI vice-chair. Time Inc. was one of the first companies to develop a procurement policy to encourage suppliers to source forest products that were certified. Gleysteen has also played a major role in founding the SFI Forest Partners® Program which help brandowners walk the talk and support responsible supply chains and support landowners in fulfilling their certification objectives.

“More than a decade ago, Time Inc. was one of the first companies to make a public commitment to use 80% certified fiber. Progress beyond that goal had been hampered by the limited availability of adequate supply,” Gleysteen said. “Today, 97% of our supply is chain of custody certified and we can point to the work that’s been done to expand certification as a primary driver of that improvement. I’m excited about my new role as Vice Chair and what I can do to have a direct impact on the growth of forest certification and the responsible sourcing of forest products.”

Laura Downey is executive director, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, Project Learning Tree (PLT) Education Operating Committee Co-Chair. PLT is an environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase youth understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it.

“Over the years, I have worked directly with PLT to help youth make a commitment to sustainability. I’m looking forward to using my new board member role to further both SFI’s and PLT’s ability to reach youth and help them become leaders who truly understand the value of well-managed forests,” Downey said.

PLT’s integration into SFI provides an opportunity for the program to expand its reach and impact. SFI’s role as a sustainability leader will be bolstered by Laura’s PLT role and expertise in education, an increasing focus in SFI’s community engagement work.

SFI® is an independent, non-profit organization oversees the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program and the SFI Forest Partners® Program.