Forests in Focus Forests in Focus

Forests in Focus

Consumers are more aware of sustainable packaging than ever, and their spending habits reflect their affinity to more sustainable products. How is your brand prepared to have the best data available about your supply chain to capitalize on this opportunity?

Forests in Focus helps brand owners and sourcing professionals assess the sustainability risks and opportunities in the woodbaskets where they source their forest products.

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How it works

Brands can pinpoint the mills where they source their forest products and assess their performance using the best data available, including:

  • Forest Carbon
  • Land Use Change
  • Biodiversity
  • Water Quality
  • Forest Health
  • Social
  • Economic
  • Legality

Benefits of Forests in Focus


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We are bringing together the forest products supply chain and its stakeholders to create more positive conservation impacts. We are seeking sponsors who will be key advisors in the development of the tool. Sponsors will also get recognition in all communications and marketing materials about the tool.

Contact Tom Pollock at to learn more about sponsorship


Background: Forest Certification and Family Forest Owners

In 2014, the FPWG launched a project to address the shared challenge of securing more certified fiber for paper and packaging products. One of the FPWG’s initial findings was that the key challenge in meeting ambitious certified fiber goals is that there has been a limited adoption of forest certification among family forest owners. In the U.S., which has the greatest certified area globally, only 22% of forests are certified. For family owned woodlands, which comprise nearly 40% of forests in the U.S., the rate is approximately 1%. All the while, family woodlands supply over 50% of the fiber flowing into supply chains.

The reason for limited adoption among family forest owners is not because they are managing their land in an irresponsible or unsustainable manner. Rather, it is driven by several factors related to the inconsistency between certification and the nature of family ownerships, including the fact that forest certification is particularly costly for family forest owners and tends not to result in consistent benefits.

With a better understanding of this challenge, The Forest Products Working Group began a partnership with the American Forest Foundation (AFF), a 75 year-old organization dedicated to family landowners in the U.S.. The discussion broadened from a conversation about how to increase certification, to exploring options for attaining visibility into the uncertified supply of  family-owned forests. As a result of this partnership and work with a broad range of stakeholders, FPWG and AFF created an innovative approach that would specifically address the challenge of brand owners not being able to secure 100% certified fiber, while simultaneously, addressing real sustainability challenges on the ground and measuring impact. The US Forest Service joined FPWG and AFF as a partner and supporter of the project in 2018 and ESRI will be providing key software development support.

This platform will employ aggregation and analysis of publicly available data to assess sustainability at the landscape level.  Forest certification, for example, verifies the use of specific practices at the parcel level, whereas FiF is designed to assess how practices encapsulate forest sustainability across an entire landscape. The FiF approach makes it possible to evaluate and assess risk when sourcing from forests owned by the roughly 22 million family landowners in the U.S. Because the majority of lands are not evaluated at the parcel scale via certification, family woodland owners are often excluded, unfairly, from supply chains that require only certified fiber.

Additionally, and most importantly, the FPWG and AFF recognized that for any effort be truly successful it must operate on the guiding principle to “bring together the forest products supply chain and its stakeholders to collaborate on positive conservation impacts”.  Unlike other approaches that simply assess risk, FiF will actively and transparently identify risk and associated patterns to reveal opportunities to drive real, positive impact on the ground.

Along the way, a large, diverse set of stakeholders have been engaged including brand owners, manufacturers, environmental NGOs, state and federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, and many others. FiF is, therefore, more than a website that provides sustainability data for woodbaskets in the U.S. FiF is about being part of a larger, collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort to effect positive change and support the family-owned forests we rely on every day to combat climate change, clean our air and water, and provide a home for wildlife.



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Team leaders

Forest Products Group

Tom Pollock

Senior Manager
Forest Products Group

Shea Wales

Project Associate
Forest Products Group

Sarah Crow

Senior Director of Certification, American Forest Foundation
Forest Products Group

Nathan Truitt

Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, American Forest Foundation

Companies Supporting Forests in Focus

Initiative Members
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Interested in learning more?

Please contact GreenBlue's staff lead for this group, Tom Pollock