Editor’s note: This is the third of a four-part series highlighting some of the key presentation points of the second Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference, held Nov. 19-20 in Schaumburg, IL. The program was organized by Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Wood & Wood Products, and sponsored by Banks Hardwoods Inc. and the Wood Education and Resource Center.

Session III focused on forest and wood certification issues, including chain of custody and marketing dos and don'ts.

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, Monday, Nov. 1 
Session IV: Green Horizons, Thursday, Dec. 3
Click here to view Green Conference Tabletop Exhibitors

SESSION III: Forest and Wood Certification Update
Moderated by Mark Barford, Executive Director, National Hardwood Lumber Assn.

Green Your Marketing Message

Presented by Margaret Fisher, North American Director of Market Development, Saunders Wood Specialties

  • * Wood products companies and their material providers should develop a written environmental statement that identifies what they value about the environment and effectively communicates those values to interested parties. 
    * Before crafting the environmental statement, wood products companies should consult the Federal Trade Commissions document, “Guides for the use of Environmental Marketing Claims.  Check it out at www.ftc.gov/bcp/grnrule/guides980427.htm

    * Don’t “green wash” your message. Use responsible words and language by avoiding such common but vague and immeasurable terms as “Green” and “Environmentally Preferable Products.“ The FTC will consider these deceptive terms if the product, program or service cannot be substantiated as “Environmentally Superior” to similar products.

    Panel Products for Green Building

    Presented by Roger Rutan, Vice President of Sales, Timber Products Co.

    * Availability of FSC-certified panel products, including MDF, particleboard and hardwood plywood, is growing due to “improved rules” by the Forest Stewardship Council.

    * Rutan believes the Sustainable Forestry Initiative “has become a credible competitor of FSC” and believes it will be recognized for LEED credits within the next few years because of heightened demand for certified wood in building projects.

    The Benefits and Challenges of Chain of Custody Certification
    Presented by Dr. Wolfram Pinker, partner. American Green Business LLC

    * There are currently 300 million acres of FSC certified forests worldwide, including 30 million acres in the United States.
    * There are more than 15,345 FSC chain of custody certificates held in 97 countries, 3,467 of them in the United States. These numbers are rising rapidly as FSC has become “more mainstream.”

    * FSC and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) are not equal. FSC is “more stringent.”

    * Certification is a “great marketing tool for the wood industry” to promote its green message.

    Case Study: Experiences with FSC Certification in 2009
    Presented by James Clarke, CEO of Banks Hardwoods Inc.

    * Banks Hardwoods received FSC chain of custody for its three operations in January 2009 because it fit the company’s “corporate values,” the potential growth of demand for FSC certified wood and to give Banks a competitive advantage.

    “ROI was not an issue” because there are too many intangibles to calculate it. * First important step in seeking FSC chain of custody is to appoint a multi-functional point person who understands sales, manufacturing, IT, accounting and marketing. “If you don’t appoint someone who want to engage the process, it will fail.”

    * “We feel that the green market will be there, but not sure what it will look like…We’re going to be there (with FSC certified wood products) when it is sorted out and be ready to go.”

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