Aussie Delegation: SFI & PEFC Members Meeting in Canada

Updated Coverage from the SFI & PEFC Members meeting in Vancouver

Mon 15 May 23


Global sustainable forest management leaders are gathering for the four-day Sustainability Forestry Initiative conference in Vancouver, Canada, teaming up with PEFC International and celebrating PEFC Week.

Australia is represented by Responsible Wood’s Dr Tony Bartlett, chair, Simon Dorries, CEO, and Katie Fowden, Board Member, and Mark Guthier, General Manager, Safety, Environment and Risk, HVP Plantations, and Beth Welden, FWPA’s ForestLearning Program Manager.

‘Timber is Everywhere’

The Australian delegates have provided Wood Central with an update from the conference.

Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, with Suzette Weeding, PEFC International Board Member, Katie Fowden, Responsible Wood Board Member, Beth Welden, FWPA ForestLearning Program Manager, Dr. Tony Bartlett, Responsible Wood Chair and Mark Guthier, Responsible Wood Board Member
Dr Tony Bartlett, Responsible Wood Chair, and Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, representing Australia at the PEFC General Assembly

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) was founded in 1995 and is based in Washington DC, operates in the USA and Canada, and is the world’s largest single forest certification standard by area – with over 150 million hectares under certification.

Kathy Abusow is the CEO of SFI. Footage courtesy of @TEDx

The conference will also embrace Indigenous representatives, government officials, students, faculty, researchers, conservation groups, and investors.

SFI also sponsors a delegation of students and young professionals aged 18-30.

Eduardo Rojas Briales, Chair of PEFC International – the world’s largest forest certification scheme. Footage courtesy of @pefcinternational

Conference delegates were welcomed by Kathy Abusow, president and CEO, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and PEFC’s Eduardo Rojas Briales, Chair, and Michael Berger, Secretary-General, who will introduce 36 international speakers.

Session Topics
  • Nature Positive Solutions: Learn how organisations use data, science, and impactful collaborations to advance forest-positive and nature-positive solutions.
  • Climate Smart Forestry: Explore strategies from the public and private sectors to advance climate resiliency, including implementing new climate smart forestry requirements.
  • Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation: Be inspired by case studies of Indigenous Reconciliation in the forest sector and learn how Indigenous Rights are being advanced.
  • Supply Chain Leadership: Advance your understanding of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) expectations in the supply chain and how PEFC and SFI certifications and programs are being leveraged to advance sustainability while meeting investor and customer expectations.
  • Diverse and Resilient Workforce: Engage with a younger generation and workforce leaders to understand best practices in retention, recruitment, and advancement and how SFI’s education program, Project Learning Tree, is moving the needle on this topic.
  • Urban and Community Forests: Get excited about the role of urban and community forests in building sustainable communities while advancing human health and well-being and delivering on climate resiliency.

FWPA’s Beth Welden said she was especially keen to learn more about SFI’s Project Learning Tree whilst in Vancouver.

SFI’s Project Learning Tree offers a lifetime of learning from early childhood through adulthood. Footage courtesy of @ProjectLearningTree

The program is committed to advancing environmental literacy, stewardship and green career pathways, using trees and forests as ‘windows on the world’.

The program’s environmental education, forest literacy and career pathway resources offer a lifetime of learning from early childhood through adulthood – an opportunity for young people to explore nature and the diversity of green careers in the forest and conservation sector.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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