First Duty Principle

The First Duty Principle is one of the most defining principles of our organization. While we share a broad agreement on the importance and defining nature of the "first duty" concept, many members have also shared long-standing concerns about how the wording of the statement may read to current and prospective members. We convened Forest Stewards Guild committee to determine if there was cause to reword the principle, and if so to draft alternative language. From the outset, we shared a consensus that an alteration would only be warranted if the new language clarified and strengthened the intent and tone of the statement. After significant discussion by conference call and email, the committee unanimously recommended new language. Since then the Board, MPC, and professional members have voted to adopt the new language:

Our first duty is to forests and their future.  When confronted with circumstances that threaten the integrity of the forest and conflict with the Mission and Principles of the Forest Stewards Guild, members must respond through education, advocacy, or where necessary, disassociation.  Guild membership signifies a commitment to the highest forest stewardship ethic.

Thank you to all our members who helped craft this new language that retains our focus on strong principles and ethical practice.