Monday, September 21, 2015

Family Forest Landowners and Certification Getting Boost

Private forest landowners in Pennsylvania and members of the PA Tree Farm Committee, who administer the American Tree Farm System’s certification program, have been trying for quite some time to find value in forest certification.  We have always known certification was important but struggled to find real value that can be offered to landowners.  This may just be the answer forest landowners have been looking for.  Certification means that forest landowners have to follow a set of criteria known as “standards.”  Certification in the American Tree Farm System means landowners are practicing sustainable forestry, considering wildlife, water, invasive species, and other forest attributes, besides just timber, in their management decisions.

With a number of changes in the PA Tree Farm Program soon to be implemented this just may be what is needed to help grow family forest certification in the state.  Landowners may soon find real value in the program.  Recognition of Tree Farm certified wood fiber by companies such as McDonalds and Mars could really give this program the boost it needs.  This is an important announcement demonstrating that going forward certification will be important. 

Read the news release below from Eco Business  

September 16, 2015
By GreenBlue Org

GreenBlue and the American Forest Foundation (AFF) today announced a new partnership to bring together America’s family forest owners and several of the most well-known marketplace brands, including Mars, Incorporated; McDonald’s; Avery Dennison; and Evergreen Packaging.

For the first time ever, both ends of the forest products supply chain will connect and take part in a dialogue to explore their respective needs and challenges relative to sustainable forest management. The dialogue, which kicks off this November and lead to a meeting in January, builds on GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group efforts to examine the role of forest certification to explore, in partnership with AFF, frameworks for providing assurance that wood from family woodlands is produced sustainably.

“We know that America’s family forests are a critical source in supplying the wood fiber for McDonald’s packaging,” said Townsend Bailey, Director of Supply Chain Sustainability at McDonald’s USA. “The GreenBlue/AFF partnership creates an opportunity to connect with family woodland owners and explore ways to assure and engage our customers around the sustainability of our products.”

“Our goal at Mars, Incorporated is to achieve a fully sustainable supply chain for all the pulp and paper-based packaging materials we use,” said Rachel Goldstein, Global Sustainability Director at Mars, Incorporated. “As demand for sustainably sourced products grows, we’re working with our suppliers to make this happen. We look forward to participating in the Sustainable Forest Management Summit so we can engage with family forest owners and drive meaningful collaboration.”

“AFF operates our country’s oldest and largest sustainable woodland program, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), showcasing it’s an impressive history of working with family forest owners to ensure their forests provide an incredible range of benefits such as wood, wildlife habitat and clean water,” said Nina Goodrich, GreenBlue’s Executive Director. “We are honored to partner with AFF to expand their work and be a part of connecting these two vital audiences in a dynamic value chain.”

The GreenBlue and AFF partnership is part of a new larger initiative launched by AFF this month, to help meet the growing and changing global market needs for sustainable wood supplies from family-owned forests, while protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and other forest benefits. The initiative is currently in phase one gathering input and data from the forest products supply chain, from manufacturers to consumers, forest land owners themselves, and many others to identify priority areas and wood supply needs.

“Brand owners play a key role in the supply chain of wood products, as they are at the forefront of customers,” said Tom Martin, President of AFF. “This partnership with GreenBlue offers the potential to uncover new insights and help us increase our impact on ensuring family-owned forests continue to provide for all Americans.”

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