As wood products companies continue to come under scrutiny for the sourcing of their lumber, it becomes even more important for companies importing wood into the United States to participate in programs that support the use of legally verified wood. The National Wood Flooring Association’s Responsible Procurement Program is one such program.
“There is no doubt that wood products companies' imports into the US are being monitored for Lacey Act compliance,” says Don Finkell, chairman of the NWFA RPP Committee, and Chairman of the Hardwood Federation. “The NWFA RPP provides these companies with third-party audits that demonstrate to the government that the lumber has been legally sourced. It’s one of the easiest ways possible to show due-care as required by Lacey.”
The NWFA’s RPP was developed to recognize companies that work to sustain the world’s forest, but what makes the program different is that the NWFA worked with top environmental groups to develop the program, and utilizes third-party audits to provide independent verification.
Organizations involved in the development of the NWFA RPP include the Forest Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund Global Forests & Trade Network, Rainforest Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, and Scientific Certification Systems, which provides the required third-party audit for participating companies. These organizations provided significant guidance on developing a program that met specific and detailed criteria to demonstrate environmental responsibility.
The NWFA RPP is designed to be transitional, which means that companies are able to gradually increase their level of commitment to sustainability over time. Initially, companies participate in independent third-party audits that demonstrate their raw materials are sourced only from US states where timber growth exceeds harvest and natural mortality as identified by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service statistics with the ultimate goal of achieving increasing amounts of FSC certified wood.
All sectors of the lumber industry are eligible to participate in the NWFA RPP, including furniture, construction, cabinetry, paper, wood flooring, and other wood products. NWFA wood flooring manufacturers that are RPP members include Anderson Hardwood Floors, Mannington, Mullican Flooring, Shaw Hardwoods, and Sheoga Harwood Flooring & Paneling.
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