Woodland Sustainability Program Grant
Starting in 2008, the National Wood Flooring Association began to develop a woodland sustainable initiative, the NWFA Responsible Procurement Program (NWFA RPP), to provide wood products manufacturers with a credible way to demonstrate their commitment to sourcing raw materials from sustainable forests. Conscious of the world's ongoing environmental desire to protect forests, the wood flooring industry wanted to specifically demonstrate its commitment to sourcing raw materials in a way that ensures healthy forests and a way to grow raw material supplies for the use and enjoyment of generations to come.
Cautious not to create just another green-washing campaign, the association worked with leading environmental forestry groups to develop a third-party verification program that recognizes wood products that come from U.S. Renewing Forests. Organizations involved in development included the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US), World Wildlife Fund's Global Forests & Trade Network (WWF-GFTN), Rainforest Alliance (RA), and SCS Global Services, which provides the required third-party audit for participating manufacturers.
As the program evolved, NWFA came to understand that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC-US) was recognized in the environmental and green building communities as the leading benchmark of U.S. forest sustainability. In fact, it is the only certification program recognized for credit by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Program. With the help of FSC-US, the NWFA RPP was crafted as a step-wise approach toward FSC, and requires a commitment from participating RPP members to grow the level of FSC certified products produced over time.
What began as a seedling of an idea is now a growing example of what an industry can accomplish when it works cooperatively with environmental organizations, forestry experts, and standards groups to move toward greater levels of responsible forestry management and sustainability.
As part of its ongoing work, NWFA developed its FSC Procurement Group Steering Committee to develop programs to increase participation in FSC certification, and to increase the available inventory of FSC-certified wood. Participants have included:
To date, the FSC-Procurement Group has assisted more than 80,000 acres of private land to achieve FSC certification. The group is currently focused on growing certification where there is need, but particularly in the Southeast region of the U.S. where the demand is great and where much of the hardwoods used in wood flooring are sourced.
The NWFA has created a grant program designed to:
- Help land owners achieve FSC forestry certification by providing funding and consulting services
- Provide funding and consulting for small wood product manufacturers to put the necessary business systems in place to meet RPP and FSC certification audit standards
- Provide funding to equip participants to promote the RPP and FSC to the green building movement and other target markets, thereby creating more demand for responsibly-produced forest products.