OTTAWA and WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) 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. These new members will play a key role as SFI continues to enhance the sustainability of well‑managed forests and the communities that depend on them across the U.S. and Canada.
"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. The Board's diversity and independence allows it to play a meaningful role at the intersection of well-managed forests and thriving communities.
Mark Rodgers, 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 and the U.S. SFI's grassroots community network of SFI Implementation Committees includes SFI Program Participants who provide certified building materials and volunteer their time to build Habitat homes across Canada and the U.S. 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.
"I'm excited to build on our MOU and deepen the strong relationship that we have with SFI. This year is a big year for SFI, Habitat and Canada. The SFI annual conference will celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and I look forward to giving delegates an update on our 2017 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project and how we're building 150 homes for Canada's 150th year," Rodgers said.
Guy Gleysteen, Senior Vice President, Time Inc. and 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. In 2012, four market leaders – Time Inc., the National Geographic Society, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson – stepped forward and became SFI Founding Forest Partners, investing in the future of our forests by making five-year commitments to increase the source of certified forest products.
Gleysteen became an SFI board member in 2015. In his role as Vice-Chair, Guy will continue to make a significant contribution to SFI's work to ensure we promote responsible forestry and provide customers in the supply chain with tools, information, data and stories they need to make responsible procurement decisions. Gleysteen is also the Chairman of the Board for GreenBlue, a non-profit organization dedicated to the use of sustainable materials in society. He has also served as Chairman of the IDEAlliance Board of Directors.
"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, Executive Director, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, Project Learning Tree (PLT) Education Operating Committee Co-Chair and SFI board member representing the social chamber
PLT is an award-winning 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. PLT was recently incorporated into the SFI Program.
"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. "I'm also keen to connect even more closely with my fellow board members who have championed PLT's work in both the U.S. and Canada."
Downey serves as the Kansas PLT State Coordinator and sits on the steering committee for the Affiliate Network of the North American Association for Environmental Education.
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.
About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. SFI® is an independent, non-profit organization that works with countless individuals who share our commitment to healthy forests, responsible purchasing and sustainable communities. SFI oversees the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program and the SFI Forest Partners® Program, which brings landowners and brandowners together to provide supply chain assurances, including the use of forest certification standards. SFI works collaboratively with the forest sector, conservation groups, resource professionals, landowners, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, government agencies, universities, educators, and youth. Project Learning Tree (PLT) became a program of SFI in 2017, bringing over forty years of experience in developing students' awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment. SFI Inc. is governed by an independent three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Forests affect us all. Caring for them improves our quality of life. Learn more at sfiprogram.org.
SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.