Weyerhaeuser Company today announced its preference for purchasing wood that is certified under the American Tree Farm System®. This decision aligns with the company’s commitment to responsible fiber sourcing.
For more than 89,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 27 million acres of forestland in the American Tree Farm System, the Weyerhaeuser preference for their certified wood can make a real difference in the viability of Tree Farms and the economic health of rural communities.
“Weyerhaeuser’s announcement is just what certified Tree Farmers have been waiting for,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “Healthy forests need healthy markets because protecting your trees against insects, disease and catastrophic fire can be expensive. These landowners are hardworking people who want to keep their forests as forests, and keep them in their family.
“Weyerhaeuser’s continued commitment to ensuring woodland owners have the tools to manage sustainably is laudable,” Martin added.
The American Tree Farm System is the largest and oldest woodland system in America. Certified Tree Farmers meet the highest standards of sustainability and manage their lands for water, wildlife, wood and recreation. The system is a program of the American Forest Foundation.
Weyerhaeuser’s corporate sustainability goals include demonstrating forest stewardship by certifying its timberlands to sustainable forestry standards. All the timberlands Weyerhaeuser owns or manages in North America are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative system. In addition, all the company’s manufacturing facilities in North America are certified to the SFI Certified Sourcing Standard.
The company supports the use of internationally accepted sustainable forestry standards, including the use of independent, external auditors that verify a company's commitment to responsible sourcing. Weyerhaeuser’s responsible fiber sourcing practices are guided by its wood procurement policy and implementation guidelines.
“Most of our customers want certified wood and paper products,” said Dan Fulton, president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Company. “There is widespread understanding of the value of certification, and encouraging best practices remains by far the most important role for certification.
“Buyers want to know their wood comes from sustainably managed forests,” Fulton added. “To give our customers what they want, we need more wood from certified Tree Farms.”
The preference for American Tree Farm System-certified wood will be implemented at Weyerhaeuser through a number of measures, including:
- Incentives — The company will maintain a priority market for material from certified Tree Farms, especially when suppliers are put on quotas.
- Procurement decisions — Where a Vendor Management Plan is used (which scores wood suppliers on a number of metrics) Tree Farm certification will be a positive attribute.
- Policies and Tracking — The company will declare support for the American Tree Farm System in its wood procurement policy and it will track its use of wood from certified Tree Farms.
- Support expansion of the American Tree Farm System — The company will offer landowner assistance to encourage Tree Farm certification and the management of forests to American Tree Farm System Standards of Sustainability.
“America’s forests need strong industry players like Weyerhaeuser to recognize the value that family forest owners are contributing to sustainable forestry,” Martin said. “Giving preference to wood from certified Tree Farms means more woodland owners have the financial resources to continue their hard work and on-the-ground stewardship.”
Weyerhaeuser and the American Tree Farm System share a long history. The relationship dates back to 1941 when Weyerhaeuser’s Clemons Tree Farm, which was initially established to test fire control and reforestation practices, became the first privately owned forest to be included in the American Tree Farm System. You can learn more and view photos by visiting the Forest History Society, which retains the official archives for the American Tree Farm System.