AWC, NAFO, SLMA Statement on Sustainability Executive Order

Dec 09, 2021

Washington, DC – The American Wood Council, National Alliance of Forest Owners and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association issued a joint statement on President Biden’s Executive Order, Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability.

“We applaud the President for harnessing the federal government to lead the way in transforming the built environment to net-zero. The materials used to construct buildings account for 27 percent of total building emissions, according to the United Nations, and lowering the carbon footprint in buildings, construction, and renovations is critical to meeting climate goals. We can significantly cut the carbon footprint of the traditional built environment by expanding wood use and substituting traditional building materials with wood products, including mass timber – leveraging the carbon benefits of our nation’s forests into our buildings, communities, and cities.

Climate change presents a direct threat to infrastructure, supply chains, financial investments, and the U.S. economy. Governmental procurement practices can mitigate those risks by creating climate-resilient infrastructure, bolstering domestic supply chains, and expanding carbon sequestration in both the built environment and in America’s working forests. Increasing procurement of wood products addresses each of these challenges.

Wood buildings lock away carbon, turning our buildings and cities from emission sources into emissions vaults. Mass timber in particular is an affordable, scalable, and realistic option for achieving our shared climate goals. The Federal Sustainability Plan appropriately recognizes the role of life cycle analysis in making choices that can reduce emissions. As more and better data is developed, LCA processes will become even more robust and enable more thoughtful, climate-smart decision making in governmental procurement.

Wood is the only carbon-storing, renewable, resilient and sustainable building material that can be grown and re-grown, and our sustainably managed forests can meet increased demand:  Since 1958, U.S. forest cover has been stable and forest volume has increased by 60 percent. Modern forest management in the United States ensures some of the highest sustainability standards in the world. Private working forests support 2.5 million American jobs and U.S. wood product manufacturers directly support over 450,000 family-wage jobs, both primarily in rural communities.

The forestry and wood products sector looks forward to working with the federal government to achieving a net-zero emissions building portfolio with American-grown and manufactured wood products.”

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The American Wood Council (AWC) is the voice of North American wood products manufacturing, an industry that provides over 450,000 men and women in the United States with family-wage jobs. AWC represents 86 percent of the structural wood products industry, and members make products that are essential to everyday life from a renewable resource that absorbs and sequesters carbon. Staff experts develop state-of-the-art engineering data, technology, and standards for wood products to assure their safe and efficient design, as well as provide information on wood design, green building, and environmental regulations. AWC also advocates for balanced government policies that affect wood products. www.awc.org | @woodcouncil

The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) is a national advocacy organization committed to advancing federal policies that ensure our working forests provide clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and jobs through sustainable practices and strong markets. NAFO member companies own and sustainably manage more than 46 million acres of private working forests – forests that are managed to provide a steady supply of timber. NAFO’s membership also includes state and national associations representing tens of millions of additional acres. Private working forests in the U.S. support 2.5 million jobs. Private working forests – which provide 90% of our timber harvest for wood and fiber – also account for nearly three-quarters of our total gross forest carbon sequestration. Learn more at nafoalliance.org.

The Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association membership footprint spans from Texas to Maryland and includes sawmills, lumber treaters and lumber remanufacturers. In total, there are 81 member companies operating roughly 130 locations. The mills directly employ nearly 10,000 people, in addition to the countless secondary jobs that are supported in the rural economies across the Southeast. Our members also manage over 2 million acres of timberland.