Hardwood is a popular material for furniture, flooring, and other applications, but as concerns over deforestation and environmental degradation increase, businesses and consumers are increasingly interested in ethical and sustainable hardwood sourcing practices. Speaking of the USA and Canada, the use of hardwood has been plagued with issues such as deforestation, illegal logging, and unsustainable forest management practices. This blog post will examine the best practices for ethical and sustainable hardwood supplier sourcing in the US and Canadian markets. We shall also touch upon areas and topics such as certification programs, the chain of custody, transparency, local sourcing, and alternative materials.
What does ethical and sustainable sourcing of hardwood entail?
For starters, ethical and sustainable hardwood sourcing involves ensuring that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests. This means that wood is sourced and harvested in a way that does not harm the environment and people in any form or way. This includes the non-exploitation of workers and labourers by ensuring fair labour practices, protecting workers’ rights in the forestry industry, and ensuring that local communities benefit from the forest resources. To go a little deeper, workers and labourers need to be provided safe working conditions and fair wages and given the right to form unions. Apart from that, sustainable forest management practices include monitoring and protecting wildlife habitats, maintaining soil quality, and planting new trees to replace those that have been harvested.
How to ensure that the wood sourced is ethical and sustainable?
First, it is imperative to understand that the hardwood market is expansive and cluttered, and it could be arduous to check for ethics and sustainability. Therefore, the best way to ensure hardwood is ethically and sustainably sourced is through certification programs.
There are several certification programs available to help businesses and consumers identify products that have been responsibly sourced. These programs have set criteria and standards to detect and ensure that no unethical material makes it through.
A thorough understanding of these certification programs and their standards can help businesses and consumers make an informed choice about the products they purchase. Hardwood certification programs available in the US and Canada include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for the
Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
Monitoring the Chain of Custody and Transparency
In hardwood sourcing, ensuring that the wood used in the products comes from responsible and sustainable sources is important. This can be easily done through the process of the chain of custody – which involves a series of steps comprising keeping track of the wood from the moment it was harvested from the forest, through the transportation process, to the mill where it is processed, and finally to the finished product. This process ensures that the wood used in the product has been responsibly sourced and has not been obtained through illegal or unsustainable means.
To access information about the sourcing and production processes of the products they purchase, consumers can and should always look for labels or certifications that indicate responsible sourcing. For example, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label on a hardwood product suggests that it comes from a responsibly managed forest. Additionally, businesses can provide transparent information and details through their website or other channels like social media by providing information about their sourcing policies and processes.
Transparency and disclosure in hardwood sourcing help ensure that the products come from responsible and sustainable sources and that the wood has been harvested and processed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. It also helps to build trust between businesses and consumers, creating a more accountable and sustainable marketplace. This way, transparency and disclosure are vital in promoting ethical and sustainable hardwood sourcing.
Tropical Forest Products understands the importance of sustainability and is proud to support the protection of forests and the communities that depend on them. As a result, we have introduced a due care compliance program called the Legal Lumber. This program verifies timber legality through a chain of custody auditing. With it, we track timber from the forest floor to your door, promote the environmental benefits of wood, and support the efforts of other organizations and laws committed to sustainability and the protection of human rights.
Tropical Forest Products have drafted this program to encompass comprehensive Criteria, Standards, Policies, and Procedures designed to support global forest sustainability initiatives and promote the environmental benefits associated with the specification and utilization of naturally renewable wood products.
Legal Lumber guides you through our corporate environmental education and compliance programs designed to help homeowners, retailers, and distributors of lumber establish an ethical approach to specifying and sourcing timber products.
Products bearing the Legal Lumber label meet standards, policies, and requirements for controlled ipe wood, a chain of custody, life cycle impact, and due care.
You can learn more and find helpful resources here.
Responsibilities & duties that TFP fulfills
Tropical Forest Products takes care of a 250,000 hectares area in the heart of the RainForest. Now, this is an area as large as the state of Connecticut! Not only this, but this area has a sustainable management program in place, meaning only the older trees are harvested. Besides, up to six trees are harvested at a time, and the same area is never harvested twice. For each tree harvested, space at the forest canopy opens up, allowing the sunlight to reach the bottom of the forest, helping about 2.4 new trees fully develop.
Given that we care for the area, we ensure nobody else tries to harvest the trees or deforest the area. We have also helped generate tons of jobs and built educational & healthcare institutions in the area to cater to the communities living near the woods.
Tropical Forest Products firmly believes that ethical and sustainable sourcing practices are crucial for promoting environmental sustainability and supporting local communities. As humans of this planet, it is our utmost and primary responsibility to care for our environment and fellow humans.
As the fastest-growing lumber distributor in North America, we’re committed to sourcing high-quality domestic hardwood responsibly. We encourage all retailers and wood distributors to prioritize ethical and sustainable sourcing practices and join us in positively impacting the environment and local communities.
Please contact us to learn more about our products and services and how we can help you meet your sustainability goals. It is worth noting that we carry the widest forest products inventory in North America, with 50+ species worldwide. We offer a solid customer relationship, always honouring our promises.