With the completed acquisition of Longview Timber’s approximately 645,000 acres of forestland in Washington state and Oregon in July, Weyerhaeuser Company now owns or manages approximately 20.5 million acres of forestland in the U.S. and Canada, making the company one of North America’s – and the world’s – largest private sustainable forestry operations.
“Weyerhaeuser is dedicated to industry leadership in forest stewardship and sustainability, and we will continue that leadership as we bring the recently acquired Longview Timber operations into our portfolio,” said Tom Gideon, Weyerhaeuser’s executive vice president of timberlands. “All of Weyerhaeuser’s North American forests will continue to be certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard, which ensures that our forest management practices meet a broad spectrum of social, economic and environmental requirements.”
With more than 240 million acres within its purview, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative is the largest forest certification standard in the world. Certification criteria are established by a diverse group of community organizations, environmental groups, industry, academia and government agencies.
“By successfully achieving independent, third-party certification of its lands to the SFI standard, Weyerhaeuser has demonstrated a strong commitment to responsible forestry and to the communities that depend on a variety of forest benefits,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
“Customers expect accountable forest stewardship, and consumers want to make informed buying decisions,” Mr. Gideon said. “SFI certification, along with complementary programs such as the American Tree Farm System for family forest owners, provides assurance that Weyerhaeuser wood is sourced responsibly.”
These market forces are spurring significant growth in forest certification. For example, the acreage certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative has grown 71% since 2007. Despite such growth, however, global forest certification stands at about 10%. In contrast, 100% of Weyerhaeuser’s forests worldwide are certified.
“We achieved 100% certification in our North American operations several years ago, and this year we also achieved full certification for our forests in Uruguay,” Mr. Gideon said. “It’s a standard we’ve set for all of our operations. And while we’re proud of our accomplishments, we continue to focus on continuous improvement as one of the world’s preeminent sustainability leaders.”