Sustainable Forest Management

CSA SFM User Group News

February 2015


CSA (Z809) SFM Standard Revision: Activity Update


The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group Sustainable Forest Management System (SFM) standard is a leading forest certification standard in Canada and the first national sustainable forest management standard in the world. Forest management practices certified to the CSA SFM Standard provide independent 3rd party assurance of meeting a strict set of biological, environmental and social criteria.

Each of the 3,000 CSA standards is reviewed at least every five years as part of a process of continual improvement and to ensure market relevance. The Sustainable Forest Management standard (CSA/CAN Z809) is currently being reviewed, for the third time since it was first published in 1996. The key to CSA’s standards development and review process is using a balanced Technical Committee, where all interest groups have equal access and minority interest groups have a voice.

One of the opportunities facing the CSA Z809 standard is to increase its uptake and use in Canada by demonstrating its high standards and credibility in the marketplace. Organizations that have been using the standard have noted opportunities to reduce unnecessary administrative complexity and these suggestions are being discussed by the Technical Committee responsible for maintaining this standard.

In the past year, the Technical Committee has met twice. At the most recent meeting in November 2014, the “normative” (auditable) part of the standard was generally agreed upon. Another meeting is planned in the spring of 2015 and that will be followed by a global public review period (see timeline below).

CSA Z809 Timeline 150218 (2).jpg


Standard Revision Highlights:

  • Detailed requirements to have the public involved in identifying specific values, objectives,      indicators and targets for Criteria and Indicators established by the Canadian Council of Forest Minsters will remain.
  • Local public advisory committees will remain involved in annual reviews and continuous improvement discussions of Sustainable Forest Management Plans that contain the agreed upon sustainability performance measures. This public process will remain open, inclusive and responsive.
  • Forecasting of indicators and targets is being clarified. A forecast of the expected response of the indicator in relation to the target remains. Guidance will reveal that analytical forecasting might occur for some indicators (such as those found in timber supply models) and deemed to be unnecessary for other indicators.
  • Use of the standard by volume-based tenure holders has been made more accessible–analysis of indicators and targets may occur at differing scales.
  • A new separate criterion (Criterion 7) is being considered for Aboriginal Relations. This will more clearly highlight Aboriginal expectations for the standard.
  • A new core indicator is proposed for water: management or protection of identified water resources. The public will be required to help identify new targets to meet the requirements of this indicator.
  • The standard will allow provincially legislated SFM Plans to be used as evidence of meeting similar CSA requirements.
  • ISO 14001 management system requirements (such as structure and responsibility, training and awareness, communication, document control and emergency preparedness and response) will be retained. Some of the detailed requirements within each of these sections will be removed.

Comments or questions about the standard revision can be directed to Mr. Jonathan Fung, Project Manager, CSA Group at