Conservation Nonprofits Announce Plans to Develop New Forest Assurance Model

September 21, 2016

GreenBlue and the American Forest Foundation Leading Multi-Stakeholder Process to Build a New Model for Evaluating Sustainable Forestry in the United States

Portland, OR (SEPTEMBER 20th, 2016) – Today, at GreenBlue’s SPC Advance Conference, GreenBlue and the American Forest Foundation (AFF) announced plans formally launch a process for building a new model to provide assurance of sustainability of family forest sources, at the landscape level, across the United States.

This announcement is a result of a two-year partnership between AFF and GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group, a stakeholder group of more than 15 member companies including Staples Inc., Mars Incorporated, McDonald’s, Havi, Sappi North America, Catalyst, Domtar Corporation, Georgia Pacific, Evergreen, International Paper and others. Through the partnership, stakeholders across the supply chain have been engaged to understand challenges, and identify new or evolving methodologies to evaluate sustainable forest management on family-owned land.

Individual and family-owned land accounts for more than one-third of all land across the United States, the most of any ownership group. These lands are owned by more than 22 million individual owners. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that more 50 percent of the wood harvested and flowing into the supply chains originates in family owned forests.

The intent of this developing model is to demonstrate how the practices and actions of individual landowners on individual parcels of land aggregate into a healthy forested landscape or regional ecosystem. The model is also intended to identify landscape-wide gaps and opportunities to enhance forest sustainability, and find practical ways for the supply chain to address them at a meaningful scale.

“If market forces can align around a shared understanding of the real issues facing forests in a region, the potential for positive impact is immense,” said Nina Goodrich, Executive Director of GreenBlue. “A landscape model reflects a huge opportunity to engage the forest products supply chain in a way where the focus is finding ways to align on positive impacts on a range of forest health issues.”

The model would represent a partnership between stakeholders across the supply chain who are acting in good faith to sustain and improve the health of U.S. forests. It would include input and data from manufacturers, large corporate brands, family landowners, government agencies and environmental nonprofits alike. The system is also designed to recognize and expand the role of existing certification systems, while at the same time, demonstrating sustainability on lands, where certification is not an option.

“In a recent report, AFF have found that 72 percent of family forest owners are doing good management, having conducted one or more forest management practices for wildlife,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of AFF. “Yet, these landowners and their properties are not necessarily certified.”

“Forest certification is an essential tool for driving good forest management and verifying sustainability. We have found, however, that it is not a right option for every landowner. With this, we are seeking additional methods to recognize and encourage the good practices that are happening and give consumers confidence that fiber originating from family woodlands is consistent with the values of sustainability and respect for the environment.”

As part of the announcement at SPC Advance, GreenBlue and AFF outlined steps for a phased process to build the landscape model, starting at the conference with stakeholders gathered to discuss the model in more detail and outline the development process including collecting, validating, aggregating, and modeling data sets needed to provide landscape-level assurance.

For more information please contact:

Elizabeth Greener, Director of Communications, AFF –; (202) 253-1096

Anne Elsea, Communications Coordinator, GreenBlue –; (434) 202-4847