More than 600 people joined the 2021 Virtual SFI Annual Conference, May 12-14, to learn from a diverse and dynamic group of speakers about critical global issues facing our sector.
Climate change: How will sustainably managed forests and forest products help meet the climate challenge? A big part of the answer we heard at the conference is using tools like requirements for climate-smart forestry and fire resiliency and awareness that are included in the newly approved SFI 2022 Standards and Rules.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG): The increasing influence of ESG factors and how SFI’s work aligns with helping companies meet new reporting structures was the focus of much discussion. Speakers and attendees identified a need to help elevate understanding of the positive role of the forest sector among a variety of audiences.
Species recovery and conservation: Presentations and discussions explored research projects and other collaborations to achieve species recovery and broad conservation outcomes on SFI-certified lands in the U.S. and Canada.
Workforce needs: There was a strong consensus on the importance of building a diverse and resilient workforce for the future, and how we can overcome challenges in reaching young, diverse audiences. Panelists suggested tools and partnerships that will enable us to make progress on this issue.
Urban and community forests: Forests are central to addressing so many issues from climate to equity in our urbancommunities. Conference attendees learned about the planned development of the SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard in collaboration with five urban forestry leaders: American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of Municipal Arborists, and Tree Canada.
WHAT THEY SAID
Beyond the issues we covered, there was a passion for collaboration, a joint optimism about moving forward together, and an overall commitment to providing better choices for people and the planet. Here are a few of the favorite things that we heard: