Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Consumers Nudge Timber Firms to Prove They're Worthy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Consumers Nudge Timber Firms to Prove They're Worthy

Article excerpt

Environmentalists' long-running campaigns against clear-cut timber harvesting are not only beginning to change industry practices but are pushing companies to seek certification of their good citizenship.

Generally, this involves getting an audit from a specialized firm that reviews their compliance with environmental laws and forest management practices - issues of replanting, protection of streams, habitat preservation, and attention to biodiversity.

"Certification of our products is becoming more important," says Craig Neeser, senior vice-president of the solid-wood group at MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. He put in some years as a timber salesman on his way up the corporate ladder, so he can attest to the way the market has changed. "In 1985, people just bought our wood. It was all by phone. People would ask, 'Can I get it every month for a year?' That was it."

Now, he says, "Our customers want to visit one of our logging operations or one of our nurseries. They want to see our reforestation sites. They even bring their children. They ask about our labor practices...."

MacBlo is working toward certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Canadian Standards Association, and the International Standards Organization. …

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