Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series highlighting key take-away points from presentations of the second Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference, held Nov. 19-20 in Schaumburg, IL. Sessions II, III and IV will be highlighted in future issues of the ISWupdate e-newsletter.

Online Publication Schedule
Session I: What Does it Mean to Be Green? Monday, Nov. 23

Session II: Green Products for Green Woodworking, Tuesday, Nov. 24

Session III: Forest and Wood Certification Update, Tuesday, Dec 1

Session IV: Green Horizons, Thursday, Dec. 3

Click here to view Green Conference Tabletop Exhibitors

'Green’ conference provides timely and valuable information
 
By Rich Christianson
 
Representatives of secondary wood products companies, suppliers, trade groups and other interested parties gathered together for two days of informative presentations at the second Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference, Nov. 19-20, in Schaumburg, IL.
 
The conference was organized by Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Wood & Wood Products magazine. Banks Hardwoods Inc. of White Pigeon, MI, and the Wood Education and Resource Center of Princeton, WV, sponsored the conference.
 
Among the issues addressed at the conference were:
 
* What are the steps a wood products company should take not only to produce greener products but to be a better environmental steward?
 
* What is the current status of forest and wood certification schemes such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative)? 

* How does the process work and why should a company decide to pursue chain of custody (CoC) wood certification?

* How does a company translate its environmental efforts and achievements into an impactful and credible marketing program? The presentations and networking opportunities scored high marks with attendees. The program delineated the need for an interactive forum to address a wide range of environmental topics of great interest to the wood products industry.

Following are 17 key take-aways from the opening session of the conference.

SESSION I: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GREEN?
Moderated by Nancy Fister, Education Director, Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers
 
Keynote Presentation - Certification and Hardwoods: Current Industry Experience and Opinion
Presented by Dan Meyer, Appalachian Editor, Hardwood Review Weekly
 
Meyer opened the conference by highlighting the results of an exclusive study involving 347 readers of the Hardwood Review Weekly. The survey queried growers, producers, sellers and buyers of hardwood lumber, and secondary wood products manufacturers about third-party chain of custody (CoC) wood certification. Among the highlights of his presentation were:
 
* 34% have chain of custody wood certification, 63% do not have CoC and 3% were formerly certified.

* 102 of the companies have FSC CoC vs. 5 SFI CoC and 8 with both. * Of those certified, 53% obtained CoC wood certificates within the last two years, indicating the recent growth of these programs.
 
* ROI is a negligible factor for seeking CoC certification. The main drivers are to maintain or grow business; differentiate products in the marketplace; have access to markets requiring CoC certified wood products; and customer demand.
 
* 46% of respondents not certified are considering obtaining CoC wood certification in their future.

Case Study: Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. of Monroe, WA
Presented by John Earl, Environmental Manager, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.
 
* To reduce waste and save money, a Canyon Creek supervisor must approve all scraps to be hogged. The company has measured and attached value of waste based on species, size and value-added costs.
 
* If regular monitoring indicates there is more than 10% wood waste in a department, then it is analyzed further to determine how it can be reduced. * As a result of due diligence on eliminating waste, Canyon Creek has reduced average waste per cabinet box produced from about $20 to about $9.
 
* Canyon Creek works closely with local regulatory agencies to find solutions and secure grants for implementing waste-reduction programs. This includes securing funds for a lean manufacturing study of its finishing line that led to improved workplace organization, employee morale, ergonomics, product quality and throughput. The bottom line: $1.5 million-plus in annual savings.
 
Architectural Wood Products – LEED, CARB, Etc.
Presented by Mike DiGuiro, Vice President, Flexible Materials

* The most popular veneer core specified by Flexible Materials’ customers is FSC certified, no added urea-formaldehyde, fire-retardant and CARB compliant.
 
* The number of FSC certified veneers has grown from a handful, including red oak, cherry, beech, maple and European sycamore, to total more than 30 species.
 
* Only 10 of 110 total LEED credit points are wood related. Only one LEED point is specific to FSC certified products and to achieve that requires that at least 50% of the wood products by dollar value be FSC certified.
 
* Architects and designers can find it much easier to obtain one LEED credit by adding a bike rack to their project than to spec FSC-certified woods.

* More stringent national rules on panels containing urea formaldehyde are in the works. A bill has been introduced in Congress to apply the same emissions standards of CARB for composite panels used in household cabinets and furniture.

Finding Value in Urban Trees: Marketing Green Products from Non-Traditional Forests
Presented by Jessica Simons, Natural Resource Specialist, Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation & Development Council
 
* Wood from thousands of trees in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin killed by the emerald ash borer have been salvaged for use in custom furniture and other wood products.
 
* Custom woodworkers can spin a unique story for such reclaimed wood in that they can tell customers the exact address from which the lumber came. The finished furniture thus becomes a conversation piece.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.