Recent surveys conducted by the Southern Forest Products Association  (SFPA) and Random Lengths assessed the use of forest certification programs in the wood products industry and uncovered interesting results:
Approximately 61% do not use a certification system
Approximately 46% of southern pine producers do not plan to seek certification any time soon
Approximately 60% of southern pine producers receive regular requests for certified products
About 89% feel it is important to market southern pine lumber as a “green” product.
Random Lengths respondents:
Approximately 56% do not engage in a certification program
Seeking certification depends heavily on “regional market variances, whether the customer base is residential or commercial, and whether a seller seeks a share of government projects that require green certification.”
SFPA surveyed Southern Pine producers who are members of the Southern Pine Council and Random Lengths surveyed a broader industry representation, including producers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.
Russell Richardson, SFPA’s director of industrial markets, helps translate some of the data: “One impediment to seeking certification is certainly cost; according to Random Lengths’ survey respondents, the average cost of obtaining and maintaining certification is $19,898 annually. Five respondents noted even higher costs into the six figures. While many companies are not embracing certification programs, they are hearing a lot about it and are working to accommodate their customers.”
Richardson continues: “Based on the numbers we are seeing from the surveys, the feelings of the wood products industry toward certification is a mixed bag. They like the fact that they are being environmentally conscious. They also have to balance their investment in certification in order to maintain a viable business model. Certification is now just over 15 years old. The era of green building has significantly accelerated the demand for certification throughout the lengthy wood products supply chain. Watch green building closely, just as new building construction affects demand of traditional wood products, green building construction will affect demand of certified wood products.”
Kimberly Lamkin Drew, APR
Drew Public Relations, Inc./Southern Pine Council