We rely on forests for wood to make our wood products and are committed to managing forests today in a way that means there will be an abundance of healthy, diverse forests in the future. Healthy forests provide value to society in many ways. They help protect air and water quality, supply important habitat for wildlife, offer recreational opportunities, and provide forest industry careers as well as economic value.
Responsible wood sourcing
Because forests are vital resources to our planet as well as to our specific business processes for wood products manufacturing, we are committed to using sustainably sourced wood from responsibly managed forests.
We do not own forestlands, but we take steps to assure our customers and consumers that we are legally and responsibly sourcing the wood we use. Our goal is to ensure all wood fiber: 1) comes from sources that are compliant with country, region and local regulations and laws, and 2) is harvested in a manner that balances the needs of the environment, wildlife and surrounding communities.
Here are a few ways that the wood we secure meets our expectations for maintaining healthy forests:
- We have foresters on the ground in our wood basins who have extensive local knowledge of forestry operations and maintain strong relationships with suppliers who receive annual training in our sustainable forestry program.
- We have databases that summarize wood accounting data so we can track all sources of wood back to the county or forest district of origin.
- Our suppliers must agree to rigorous contract requirements to provide legally harvested wood, which includes the protection of threatened and endangered species, and use loggers trained in responsible harvest practices. They must also ensure all voluntary and mandatory forestry National Association of State Foresters (NASF) Best Management Practices (BMPs) are followed during harvest to protect water quality.
- We partner with forestry industry experts to assess the environmental and social risks of our fiber supplier basins and procurement practices. Collaboration with multiple parties helps to develop innovative and practical ways to manage our forest resources.
- 100% of the wood procurement for our manufacturing locations is verified annually by a third-party to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Fiber Sourcing Standard.
Supporting active forest management
We rely on federal, state, private, and tribal landowners for the timber supply needed to operate our mills, so we work collaboratively with these stakeholders to meet our market demand while also achieving environmental objectives.
We are committed to:
- scientifically based forest management that balances ecological, economic and social needs.
- land-use policies that support efficient planning and use of resources.
- landscape treatments that improve forest health and prevent overcrowding.
Beyond our commitment to sustainable forestry practices for the wood used in our manufacturing operations, we apply those principles to our building materials distribution locations as well.
Our distribution centers routinely source secondary wood material from nearly 20 countries around the world. When doing so, we have an ongoing commitment to our goal of sourcing all wood-based products in compliance with the U.S. Lacey Act requirements for legal harvest and transportation of imported wood-based products.
In 2019, we created a Lacey Act Charter made up of an internal, cross-functional team of representatives from legal, sustainability, transportation and operations. With their direction and guidance, we will ensure our business is continually improving our sustainable forestry program and is promoting our goals and commitments across the entire company.
Other ways we demonstrate our global commitment to legal and ethical forest practices is by contractually requiring all global suppliers to share information about:
- species and country of origin.
- the country’s required legal documentation.
- forestry certification information.
The systems we have in place track all primary and secondary fiber back to the district of origin, either county or forest level.
Our fiber supply agreements contain provisions that require all suppliers to provide forest source data. For all indirect fiber supplies, we have implemented an annual supplier audit process to monitor origin information and gather evidence of supplier tracking capabilities.
Understanding where all of our fiber originates is a responsibility that our foresters and purchasing agents for wood products take very seriously, and it is a key element of our due-diligence system.
We set expectations with our suppliers through communication of our procurement policy and comprehensive set of terms and conditions that are legally binding.
Read more about our policies regarding Sustainable Procurement.
Responsibly using wood resources
Our engineered wood products (EWP) are made using wood fiber with roughly half the amount of wood compared to dimensional lumber. In addition to using natural raw materials more efficiently, the manufacturing process results in stronger products that perform better.
We are committed to using 100% of the wood brought into our facility to keep waste from going to landfills. Beyond the raw material used in manufacturing our engineered wood, plywood and lumber products, we use the bark to heat our dryers, and anything remaining is sold to produce particleboard or paper products.
Growing and sharing knowledge
Our core value of Pursuit of Excellence means we are committed to the continuous improvement of people, processes and the quality of products that we deliver. Overall, as a company we apply best practices in our environmental management and forest stewardship. Each of our facilities and business locations have autonomy to further these initiatives through using their knowledge and experience to solve problems, make decisions and implement new ideas.
Boise Cascade is an active member in many national, regional and local organizations that help us uphold our commitment to excellence when it comes to sustainability such as:
We also have several executive leaders who participate on boards for these organizations, and managers who are involved in their committees:
- Nate Jorgenson, Chief Operating Officer, is on the board for American Wood Council (AWC) and Mike Brown, Executive Vice President of Wood Products, is on the board of trustees for APA – The Engineered Wood Association (APA)
- In APA, we also have Judy Haney serving on a Residential Market subcommittee and Terry Evans participating in the Safety and Health committee.
Local procurement foresters actively participate in SFI® State Implementation Committees, which provide landowner outreach activities to promote educational tools and resources about forest management best practices.
These committees oversee logger training programs to ensure quality operations with measurable results. They also reach out to local communities to engage in children’s forestry education initiatives and activities, like home builds through Habitat for Humanity.
We also participate in promoting education and training of logging and harvesting professionals in the U.S. The goals of the forest industry’s education program are to increase awareness and understanding of: Best Management Practices, water quality protection, biodiversity enhancement, and protection of threatened and endangered species.
Our corporate sustainability forestry leaders engage in national certification forums to share our knowledge and experience with implementing credible, responsible forestry programs. Some examples of where we are participating include a task group for the FSC™ Controlled Wood Standard and teams revising the SFI Chain of Custody and SFI Fiber Sourcing Standards.
We are a member in National Council of Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), a leading forest product manufacturing and forestry research organization. Participation in NCASI gives us an avenue to proactively impact research initiatives that promote protection of threatened and endangered species, increased efficiency in wood utilization, responsible chemical practices in forestry operations, and many other areas critical to sustaining healthy forests.
We demonstrate our commitment to sustainable forestry by maintaining certification through prominent forest certification programs, which requires rigorous auditing to ensure our compliance to their standards.
Three of the forest certification programs in North America that we are actively engaged in include: Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
Our wood products and climate impact
Besides being a cost-effective building choice, choosing wood makes environmental sense because it is renewable, uses less energy to manufacture, and wood traps carbon removed from the environment during the trees’ growth.
The manufacturing of our wood products generates less GHG emissions than alternative construction materials. This is because we use carbon-neutral biomass as our primary energy source for manufacturing with some limited use of natural gas, which emits very low amounts of GHG.
The “Sustainable Buildings, Sustainable Future” guide published by APA – the Engineered Wood Association describes the scientific research demonstrating the environmental benefits of engineered wood products. When comparing emissions between the use of wood framing materials to alternatives like steel or concrete, the decreased amounts from wood materials is significant.
Helping our customers with sustainability
To get the most benefits from engineered wood products (EWP), we offer our customers technology to help optimize materials and processes—from the SawTek® cutting system creating precision-trimmed job packs, and BC Framer® and BC Calc® design tools for performing engineering analysis and designing framing layout, to BC Connect® offering cloud-based project management.
Through optimized processes, we help our customers become more efficient in their operations, which can lead to reduced energy usage and waste. Our engineering and design tools provide sophisticated analysis to find ways for structures to perform equally or better while potentially using less wood material.
Learn more about our Green Building Business Practices
What others say about wood and the environment:
- The USDA Forest Service has been a partner in developing tools to quantify the environmental benefits that trees provide and providing education on how trees improve the environment.
- Center for Science Education’s explanation of wood’s contribution to the Carbon Cycle.