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Care about local wood?

Posted by Renee Magyar on October 22, 2014

You’re not the only one. It’s Oregon Forest Products Week!

Zena-Forest-logs-600

It’s a special week in Oregon. Last month, Governor John A. Kitzhaber proclaimed October 19-October 25 as Oregon Forest Products Week. Recognizing Oregon’s forests as “an essential part of the state’s history, culture, environment, and economy,” the Governor urges all Oregonians to support our local wood industry, which contributes more than $12 billion annually to the state’s economy.

We proudly affirm the incredible value of our state’s forest resources, which provide clean water, habitat, beauty, and recreation in addition to lumber and other wood products. Buying local wood supports Oregon companies and families. 76,000 jobs, in fact, according to the proclamation.  

The value of “going local” underpins our Forest Stewardship Council Certification Program and our subsidiary enterprise, Sustainable Northwest Wood.  Through this program and our distribution warehouse, we’re successfully building markets for local, sustainably-sourced wood and helping small businesses access those markets.  

Our vision for Oregon forest products is that many can be both local and FSC-certified. Sustainable Northwest Wood demonstrates this possibility, with two-thirds of its $1.5 million in sales per year coming from FSC-certified wood. And 20 wood products manufacturers and 40 related businesses in Oregon benefit from Sustainable Northwest Wood’s ability to market and distribute their products.

Meanwhile, FSC-certified markets are growing exponentially. Twenty-two of the 59 small businesses in our FSC certification program are in Oregon, 15 of which came on in just the last 20 months. Together, these businesses support 260 jobs and bring in $16.5 million in total wood sales.

We believe that, for Oregon to remain competitive and attractive in the wood products industry, we must find ways to integrate the lead international standard with our local wood ethic. Ignoring it could hurt our industry in the long-run, as, increasingly, consumers and commercial clients alike are asking companies to verify the responsible sourcing of their wood products.

We’ll share our ideas at our booth at the upcoming Wood Solutions Fair on Thursday, October 23rd, at the Oregon Convention Center. The fair is one of several events commemorating this special week. It’s free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged at WoodWorks.org.

We look forward to seeing you at the fair on Thursday!