Published on : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Columbia Forest Products has been named a winner of the FSC Leadership Award in the Forest Stewardship Council US’s Conservation Champions for 2014. The award was presented to Columbia Forest Products at an event held on October 23, 2014 at Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans.
In being named for this award, Columbia Forest Products was cited for its leadership in the building materials manufacturing sector. The FSC U.S. Leadership Award selection committee unanimously agreed that the company’s dedication to producing vast quantities of FSC-certified wood products, and its FSC-centric education and marketing, exhibited compelling leadership in the FSC system and the green building products industry segment.
Protecting Forests … Changing Marketplace Behaviors
The 2014 FSC Leadership Awards were bestowed on eight commercial companies, one nonprofit organization and two individuals. In addition to Columbia Forest Products, company recipients included Domtar, Kimberly-Clark, Martin Guitar, RoyOMartin, Scholastic, Sterritt Lumber and Sustainable Northwest Wood.
Commenting on the qualities that made these companies award winners, Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council US, said, “Like salmon swimming upstream, the award winners have worked tirelessly to protect forests and create change in the marketplace. They are used to being told ‘it can’t be done’ so they know that true leadership requires resolve and determination – usually in the face of strong currents protecting the status quo.”
A History of Commitment to Sustainability
Brad Thompson, CEO of Columbia Forest Products, was on hand to receive the award for the company at the New Orleans event. Later, he shared his perspectives on Columbia’s commitment to FSC’s goals.
“For over 15 years, Columbia has partnered with FSC US and the Rainforest Alliance staff to maintain independently audited, certified, Chain of Custody and Forest Management certification,” Thompson noted. These certifications enable our company to position FSC-certified products in both retail and industrial channels in support of what is now a robust green building materials segment. The success we’ve achieved in these endeavors surpassed our original expectations, which is great validation of the vision we embraced years ago,” he continued.
Commenting further, Thompson added, “In a sense, the FSC laid the foundation for Columbia’s recent groundbreaking innovation efforts. It led us to sell wood production in support of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program. That’s where we learned about concerns pertaining to formaldehyde exposure in new construction. It prompted the innovation of our PureBond® soy-based assembly technology in 2006, which eliminated the use of urea formaldehyde resin systems across the entire company.”
According to Thompson, participating in FSC initiatives also introduced Columbia to important environmental and social stakeholders. “Those relationships helped us develop due-care standards for legal wood procurement as the Lacey Act was being strengthened,” Thompson noted.
“Participation in FSC certification allowed us to navigate a different path – one where differentiation opportunities existed and helped make our brand stand out. But best of all, we made new friends whose perspectives and concerns we respected – and who continue to inform and influence our approach to this day,” Thompson observed.
Paul Davis, Columbia Forest Products’ multi-site manager, reported that 100% of the company’s top distributors are on board with Chain of Custody. He views this as “a remarkable accomplishment,” considering the degree of education that was needed to generate participation in green building activities and the use of sustainable products.