Weyerhaeuser Company has announced its preference for purchasing wood certified under the American Tree Farm System, an independent certification designed for US family forest landowners and recognized by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Weyerhaeuser, the U.S.-based lumber producer, pulp and paper manufacturer and home builder, will maintain a priority market for material from certified ATFS farms, declare its support for the system in its wood procurement policy, track its use of the wood, and include the certification as an attribute when using its vendor management plan, which scores wood suppliers on a number of metrics. Weyerhaeuser says it also will offer landowner assistance to encourage tree farm certification and the management of forests to the ATFS Standards of Sustainability.
ATFS, a program of the American Forest Foundation, primarily certifies private forestry operations, which can range anywhere between 10 and 20,000 acres. More than 89,000 family forest owners managing 27 million acres are certified under the program.
ATFS also has a longstanding partnership with SFI. As a result, ATFS-certified fiber can flow through SFI Certified Chains-of-Custody and mills, said Sarah Crow, certification manager with the ATFS.
All the timber lands Weyerhaeuser owns or manages in North America are certified to the SFI system. The company’s manufacturing facilities in North America are certified to the SFI Certified Sourcing Standard.
But nearly two dozen major companies have distanced themselves from the SFI in response to a ForestEthics report that criticized the eco-label program. The report, SFI: Certified Greenwash, claimed that SFI, funded and managed by some of the world’s largest timber companies, approves large-scale operations that impair fish and wildlife habitat, cause landslides and pollute water.
In May, US Airways, Shutterfly, Energizer, Allied Electronics, Phillips Van Heusen, Pitney Bowes and Ruby Tuesday became the latest companies to join the growing exodus from SFI. Many of these companies also have made commitments to shift over to products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.