Environmental Management

Protecting the Environment

Our executive leadership develops the strategic goals for Boise Cascade® and then partners with management at our locations to determine how we go about achieving them. Overall, our aim is to operate in ways that sustain natural resources and protect the environment for generations to come.

We have a solid record of responsible environmental commitment and performance. We manage our businesses to sustain environmental resources for future generations by:

  • Responsibly using energy and forest resources.
  • Protecting air and water quality near our manufacturing sites.
  • Reducing, reusing, and recycling manufacturing and finished product waste materials.
  • Collaborating with others by listening to and acting on constructive ideas to demonstrate our commitment.


In our Wood Products division, we are fortunate to have plentiful access to bark from trees and manufacturing residuals for approximately 70% of our energy needs. This allows us to maximize carbon-neutral energy sources and reduce reliance on dependent energy sources.  Using biomass to produce energy also reduces landfill waste, which results in less greenhouse gas (GHG) and methane emissions.

The remainder of non-transportation energy burned at our manufacturing facilities is natural gas, a fossil fuel that emits the lowest amount of CO2/Btu. We do not use any coal for on-site energy, and in 2020, the amount of energy that was generated by coal was less than 25% of purchased energy used by our manufacturing facilities.

View details regarding energy performance in our Energy Usage and Source Summary from 2012 – 2020

In our Building Materials Distribution division, energy usage is low because the branches typically consist of small offices with non-heated and non-cooled warehouses. 

Air quality:

Our manufacturing locations are highly regulated by permit requirements, and we use the specified methodology from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for estimating GHG emissions from our facilities. We classify GHG emissions using the standard classifications defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Scope 1 carbon dioxide (CO2), which are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, and Scope 2, which are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.

View summaries of our Air Emissions 2012 – 2018 and Greenhouse Gas 2012 – 2018 for details on our performance regarding air quality. Added PDFs to

Water quality:

Each of our manufacturing and distribution facilities have different operating conditions and requirements for water use mandated through local or state laws and regulations.

Across our entire company, we demonstrate our commitment to water quality by:

Waste Materials

Some amount of waste is difficult to avoid in our operations, but as much as possible, we are committed to responsibly managing the waste that does occur. We look for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and put waste products to use for beneficial purposes as an alternative to adding it to landfills.

At all of our locations, we follow best practices for minimizing hazardous waste. Many of our locations produce no hazardous wastes, while the remainder produce very little and are classified per U.S. EPA hazardous waste classifications as Very Small Quantity Waste Generators (or an equivalent state classification).

We implement a chemical review process for all manufacturing locations, and manage any acknowledged hazardous waste by:

  • minimizing or eliminating use of aerosol containers
  • utilizing the EPA’s Universal Waste Program to recover and manage applicable hazardous wastes
  • using either low-mercury bulbs or non-mercury LEDs
  • eliminating chlorinated solvents
  • handling oil properly to allow for recycling
  • using lower volatility solvents or water-based liquids for washing metal parts.

Environmental Auditing

We conduct periodic evaluations of our environmental compliance and environmental management systems. The scope of each evaluation considers all environmental compliance programs over the operating period since the last audit.

Our audit teams are composed of corporate environmental managers, outside subject matter experts, and environmental staff from other region locations. Deficiencies identified in an audit are corrected and tracked to completion.