These days, consumers look for more ways to shop responsibly. Organic produce, secondhand furniture, and energy-efficient appliances are a few examples of how demand is increasing for sustainable, environmentally friendly products across all industries. Wood products are no exception. That’s why businesses that source lumber for their products—such as wood flooring companies—have been finding new ways to protect the planet and gather their materials responsibly. Ethical lumber sourcing is more than a fancy label you can put on products. Between environmental regulations and customer demand for eco-friendly products, the importance of ethical lumber sourcing is more significant than ever before. Explore the environmental efforts behind this practice and why they matter with this overview.
What Does Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing Mean?
When referring to lumber and wood products, sustainable sourcing means harvesting wood in a way that preserves its natural environment. Lumber companies that harvest wood sustainably do so from managed forests. This means professionals grow, harvest, and process lumber in a way that keeps the forest intact and able to continue growing. In addition to allowing trees to continue growing as a more sustainable resource, this practice helps preserve the natural ecosystems in and around the forests.
While sustainable lumber sourcing refers specifically to managed forests, there are other ways companies can adopt more ethical harvesting practices. Energy usage is a huge part of this. More efficient tools and practices can cut down on energy and fuel usage and reduce a company’s carbon footprint. These and similar practices help keep companies responsible for their practices, creating a more environmentally friendly market for businesses and customers alike.
The Importance of Sourcing Wood Responsibly
What happens when companies use unsustainable practices to harvest their wood materials? Sustainable lumber preserves ecosystems and ensures that trees can continue to grow and provide resources for us. Without this care and attention, companies end up destroying landscapes through deforestation. This can cause a severe lack of availability in rarer species of wood.
However, the market isn’t the only thing at stake. Deforestation destroys habitats and puts local wildlife and other types of plants in danger. Forests are also crucial in keeping carbon emissions low and preserving the planet’s atmosphere.
All these harmful effects have a lasting impact on both the immediate area and the surrounding environment. That’s why companies who source lumber and manufacture wood products must commit to sustainable, ethical practices that preserve these crucial resources and the planet that creates them.
Enforcing and Practicing Ethical Wood Sourcing
Companies are starting to face more pressure from legal entities and consumers alike to be more environmentally friendly in their operations. Fortunately, companies can refer to plenty of guidelines and existing practices when adopting more sustainable wood sourcing practices. From industry certifications to product design, here are a few ways companies address the importance of ethical lumber sourcing.
Laws, Regulations, and Certifications
Companies must follow federal and local laws about proper lumber sourcing. In the United States, the Lacey Act protects wildlife, fish, and plants from illegal practices. Established in 1900, the Lacey Act made it unlawful to take, sell, possess, or transport wildlife and plants in a way that violates state, local, or national law. In 2008, politicians amended the Lacey Act to protect a wider range of plants and plant products—including illegally logged woods.
In addition to laws and regulations, many companies seek to further improve their practices by earning various industry certifications. One such accomplishment comes from the Forest Stewardship Council, an international organization that seeks to make it easier for companies to source wood responsibly. An FSC certification shows that a managed forest complies with international treaties, treats its employees well, focuses on conservation and restoration efforts, and harvests lumber sustainably through a continuously evolving plan. Seeking certifications from the FSC and similar organizations allows companies to improve their practices and display their environmental commitment to customers.
Recycling Efforts and Sustainable Product Design
Reducing, reusing, and recycling are some of the simplest and most important environmental practices anyone can follow. Companies that sell wood products can join in on these efforts. Recycling wood products or using recycled wood are two straightforward ways to eliminate material waste. Recycled wood fibers can become paper, cardboard, and other packaging materials. Building products out of reclaimed wood can help decrease the demand for freshly harvested wood.
Smart product design is another way to adopt more eco-friendly practices. Engineered wood flooring is a good example of this since it requires less fresh lumber than solid hardwood. Instead of a solid wood board, engineered hardwood consists of a fiberboard or plywood core beneath a solid wood veneer. This clever design offers the same beauty and durability as hardwood for fewer resources. In fact, manufacturers can even use recycled wood products in the core of their engineered hardwood, making it even more eco-friendly.
Public Commitments and Worldwide Transparency
Much of what a company does is a result of demands from consumers. As more and more people start making personal commitments to the environment, companies find that the market favors businesses that reflect those commitments. A customer who wants to shop sustainably will give their money to a company that has followed eco-friendly practices and certifications. The pressure is on businesses to openly and passionately demonstrate how they build greener practices.
How From the Forest Makes a Difference
At From the Forest, we care about the practices and operations that make our high-quality products. That’s why we are open about and proud of our commitment to the environment. From the Forest’s collection of white oak engineered hardwood flooring and other flooring products consist of wood from locally and responsibly managed forests. In these forests, professionals only cut a portion of mature trees. Other mature trees remain to spread and help the forest continue to grow. Meanwhile, lumber workers leave small trees alone to continue to grow and promote a healthy ecosystem. Additionally, the high-density fiberboard core within our engineered hardwood consists of recycled or unused wood materials, allowing us to waste as little material as possible.