When it comes to making sense of the burgeoning environmental movement relative to making and selling wood products, it’s hard not to get rhetorical.
•    What does it mean to be green?
•    What are the steps a wood products company should take not only to produce greener products, but to be a better environmental steward?
•    What are some of the risks and rewards in substituting materials that go into a product or changing the processes used to make them?
•    How does one measure, monitor and maintain good housekeeping practices?
•    How does a company translate its environmental efforts and achievements into an impactful and credible marketing program?
 
Judging by a recent study of our Woodworking VIP Panel, these and many other open-ended, green-related questions remain to be answered by most wood products company executives. Asked to rate how green their company is on a 10-point scale, approximately 58% of the respondents gave their company a “6” or lower.

Clearly there is room for improvement.

In Search of Answers
Last October, the Department of Forestry at Purdue University and Wood & Wood Products collaborated on the Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference to address nagging questions concerning forest and chain-of-custody certification issues. The conference brought together 250 representatives of lumber, secondary wood products and supply
companies.

Next month, Purdue and W&WP will present the second Dollars & Sense of Going Green. The conference looks to build on the issues of wood certification, while expanding into other important topics of interest to industry thought leaders seeking new ideas and avenues to strengthen their companies’ environmental programs and strategies.

The conference, Nov. 19-20 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel, in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, is by and large divided into the following four half-day sessions.

Session 1: Industry Best Green Practices
The conference opens with a keynote presentation by Dan Meyers, Appalachian editor of the Hardwood Review Weekly. Meyers’ presentation will be followed by individual presentations by representatives of several leading wood products companies. Among them, John Earl, environmental manager of Canyon Creek Cabinets Co., will highlight some of the green achievements of this Monroe, WA-based company. Over the past decade, Canyon Creek Cabinets has been recognized by federal, state and local organizations for environmental excellence, and the company is a past winner of W&WP’s “Best of the WOOD 100” award.

Session II: Green Products for Wood Manufacturing This session highlights developments in adhesives, finishes and veneers. Also featured is a presentation on green design by Kenn Busch, founder of MaterialIntelligence.com.

Session III: Forest & Wood Certification Update This session picks up where last year’s Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference left off. Presentations will cover new developments in Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative certifications and their implications for wood products manufacturers and their customers. Certification issues, including chain-of-custody, also will be examined as they apply to panel makers, sellers and users.

Session IV: Green Horizons The final chapter of the conference includes topics snatched from recent headlines. For example, updates on combustible dust issues and formaldehyde rulemaking, pages 13 and 15 respectively in this issue, will be covered. So will information on the Lacey Act’s impact on companies that import lumber, veneers, components or finished wood products.

Networking and More
What makes this program even more valuable are the networking opportunities afforded at meals and breaks. What’s more, a networking reception with tabletop exhibits immediately follows the conclusion of Session II on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Come to the program to get your questions answered, including ones you probably haven’t even thought to ask.

For full details and online registration, visit greenwoodseminar.com.

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