Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Sustainability Through Process Certification

Why we achieved Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Certification.

Our company was founded in 1912 and we have been fortunate to have had access to a steady supply of white oak throughout our history. For decades, ISC has invested in the sustainability of our most valuable resource – white oak. While we are confident there is an ample supply for the next 110 years, we also believe that we have a responsibility to support the long-term sustainability of white oak to protect the heritage of our company and our distillery partners.

So, we’ve acted. We work with the American Forest Foundation to plant trees on reclaimed field sites and manage over 3,000 acres certified in the American Tree Farm System® (a program of the American Forest Foundation). After being an initial sponsor of the White Oak Initiative in 2017, we joined the steering committee, and chair the sub-committee for On the Ground Implementation which supports landowner education. In 2016, we started a logger education school and created a program with a distillery partner to support logger education courses. At our cooperages, we’ve invested significant capital in modernizing technology to produce higher quality barrels while creating significantly less waste – utilizing almost 100% of each log.

In addition, over the past 18 months our team has been hard at work completing the next step in our goal to become the cooperage industry leader in sustainable forestry efforts. As of February, we are excited to announce that Independent Stave Company’s domestic stave mills and cooperages achieved certification to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI). Moving forward, all our American oak barrels manufactured domestically will be certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Fiber Sourcing Standard.


“Achieving certification is a big step in becoming a more sustainable cooperage. We believe education and outreach through land and process certification is one of the most effective and manageable solutions to achieve sustainability.”

- Brad Boswell
Independent Stave Company CEO and fourth generation cooper

Our Sustainability Manager, Dominic Stelzer, oversaw the processes required to attain certification to SFI. We are certified to both the Fiber Sourcing Standard and Chain-of-Custody Standard. Below is a brief description of each.

Fiber Sourcing Standard promotes responsible forestry practices based on 14 Principles, 13 Objectives, 21 Performance Measures and 55 Indicators. These fiber sourcing requirements include measures to broaden the practice of biodiversity, use forestry best management practices to protect water quality, provide outreach to landowners, and utilize the services of forest management and harvesting professionals.

Chain-of-Custody Standard is an accounting system that tracks forest fiber content through production and manufacturing to the end product. We will use chain-of-custody certification to track and communicate how much product comes from certified lands, certified fiber sourcing, recycled content and/or non-certified forest content.

“With our SFI certification, we are further communicating to loggers, landowners, and the community how important sustainable practices are to us. If you own forested land, having a land management plan in place – one that considers wildlife, water quality, and all species of trees – is essential to the sustainability and future of that land."

- Garret Nowell
Independent Stave Company Director of Log Procurement

We are proud to be able to offer a certified product to our customers and lead the industry in forest product certification. It is our role as stewards of the land and environment, to make sure there is more than enough white oak 100-200 years from now.

To learn more about the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and their standards and rules, visit

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