Our sustainable products help provide homes for everyone
What is the challenge?
Few amenities are more fundamental to life and comfort than a home. It is a place where people sleep, entertain and break bread with friends and family; retreat from the busy world; and raise their children. For many, home is a sacred, personal space, and it can take many forms. It can be a single-family detached home in the suburbs or in a small town or city. It can be an apartment or condominium in a multifamily building, a place where two or more households live under the same roof, an intergenerational family home or a homestead in a rural setting.
Working with partners and through our deep industry and supply chain expertise, we believe we can significantly increase the overall availability of quality, affordable housing — faster, more efficiently and at a scale to make a real difference for communities of all sizes across North America. And we see three areas, in particular, where we can have an important role in accelerating the volume, affordability and diversity of housing on the market.
The first involves innovating in the wood products industry to improve building speed and efficiency — essentially enabling developers to make more houses with the same labor, time and money constraints. The second involves updating building codes and techniques to allow wood construction in mid-rise buildings of five to 10-plus stories, greatly multiplying the density of available housing. And the third involves supporting the development of nontraditional housing — from additional dwelling units to tiny homes and other detached structures — to provide flexible alternatives for creating new homes through wood-based construction.
To get there, we need to ensure enough options are available to meet different income levels and suit different geographies, and we also need to improve the overall understanding and acceptance of wood as the most sustainable, versatile and cost-effective building material. We also see a double win in achieving these goals: More wood construction decreases our planet’s dependence on building materials such as concrete and steel that rely on large amounts of fossil fuels in their production and use and have much higher environmental impacts than wood.
What do we want to achieve by 2030?
By 2030, we envision a world where sustainable wood products are providing abundant, creative opportunities for ensuring everyone has access to quality, affordable, sustainably built housing. We want to be part of a paradigm shift where there are more housing options — of all shapes and sizes — anchored in natural, renewable and efficient materials.
Where we are focused
While there is much we can do between now and 2030, we are structuring our long-term goals into three-year segments to effectively prioritize and accelerate progress. During these first three years, we are focusing our work in three key areas:
Innovate in the wood products industry to improve building speed and efficiency
By improving supply chain efficiency, reducing cycle time and waste, we see opportunities to enable the development of more houses with the same labor, time and money.
Support innovation and development of wood-based construction methods to replace other materials and enable more housing
Through updated building codes, techniques and material efficiency, we see an opportunity to create more housing units on the same land by expanding the use of wood in taller buildings.
Increase available housing options by supporting alternative and unconventional home-building efforts
By lending our resources to key partnerships in affordable and non-traditional home-building initiatives, we see an opportunity to create more homes — of all shapes and sizes, and for all income levels — in our operational areas.
As we explore and implement solutions for sustainable homes, we will develop and report progress and measurable-success metrics for each of our focus areas.
While we are still early in our work to achieve our 3 by 30 sustainability ambitions, we are laying the groundwork for meaningful progress toward our goals. The key objectives and accomplishments below are foundational to our success and will be updated throughout our journey.
Partner with and support organizations to drive research and develop solutions for improved construction efficiency
Strengthen mass timber prioritization in code adoption and policies
In 2021 our government relations team added mass timber building-code adoption to our legislative action plans.
In 2018 the International Code Council developed code provisions for mass timber construction projects up to 18 stories; those provisions were then added to the 2021 International Building Code. Part of our ongoing activity includes working to get the IBC’s codes adopted in the U.S. Our team is working with partners and associations at the state level to build acceptance of mass timber, position innovative wood building materials as a low-carbon option and encourage states to expand mass timber promotion and construction projects.
Partner with and support organizations to drive improvements in research and understanding of mass timber
In 2020 we awarded a grant to the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design for a research project and design studio called Wood City: Timberizing the City’s Building Blocks. The project received the 2021 Green Good Design Award.
Building on this success, in 2021 we funded a second design research project, A Just Home for the Arkansas Timberlands. Together, these projects have helped amplify the program’s emphasis on timber and wood products, as well as the specific typology of affordable housing. Both projects have been expanded into additional work with new partners interested in using mass timber for affordable housing and also in rural, forest-centered communities.
In 2021 we also sponsored the International Mass Timber Report, which informed the International Mass Timber Conference, the world’s largest gathering of mass timber experts.
Finally, in 2021 we joined the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Mass Timber Action Committee, a group of civil society and business leaders focused on moving sustainable mass timber from a niche opportunity to a mainstream option and developing tools to expand the use of mass timber.
Provide our scale and expertise to enhance partnerships with affordable housing builders
We have an ongoing partnership with Habitat for Humanity to connect our employee volunteers and direct giving with local chapters across North America. Since 2018, our employees have participated in 51 building projects with local Habitat for Humanity chapters, which we paired with more than $135,000 in direct donations.