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Weyerhaeuser Cashes in on Climate

Weyerhaeuser logoWeyerhaeuser last year made $102 million in “Eco+ Revenues,” sales of products and services with an improved environmental profile, the company says.

These products meet one or more of the following criteria, without hurting their overall sustainability profile:

  • Enables substitution of nonrenewable energy or materials with renewable resources.
  • Results show significant improvement (generally, at least 10 percent on an annual, life cycle or harvest rotation basis) in or exceeds relevant requirements for: energy efficiency; resource conservation, efficiency, recovery or yield; percent of fiber or wood sourced from certified forests; water use per unit of production; absolute GHG emissions; air emissions, solid waste to landfill, or wastewater pollutant discharges per unit of production

In the same year, Weyerhaeuser invested $82 million in “Eco+ Investment” projects to improve sustainability and business operations.

Weyerhaeuser’s climate change strategy has helped it think anew about core products and fresh market opportunities, according to a report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. In 2011 the paper company established a wholly owned subsidiary, Weyerhaeuser Solutions, which helps clients with large-scale land holdings to cut their carbon footprints, find bio-energy feedstocks, and protect water quality. The business targets industries including chemicals, materials and mining, energy, agriculture, manufacturing and government.

Perhaps the biggest lesson other companies can learn from this maneuver is the way Weyerhaeuser had to shift its thinking and its priorities to branch into the new line of work. It previously considered theses land management practices to be proprietary. But Weyerhaeuser, among others, is clearly seeing climate change and water protection as bankable opportunities. Another example: last year it was one of 24 major corporations that signed up to the Valuing Natural Capital Initiative, agreeing to develop a methodology to assign value to the world’s forests, freshwater and marine systems.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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