Innovations In Wood-The Story of the Spruce Goose

Howard Hughes was a billionare playboy before the term become de-riguer for the billionaires of today, both real and fictional. Hughes father had patented technology for oil drilling machinery and Howard used that beginning (Hughes Tool Company) as a springboard to other business interests and pursuits. This included film-making and aviation. 

 Howard Hughes started Hughes Aircraft as a subsidiary of Hughes Tool Company. Turns out, he became a skilled aviator who, in 1935, set a speed record of 352 MPH in an experimental aircraft known as the H-1. He also built the largest wooden cargo plane ever known-the Hercules H-4, or more famously, The Spruce Goose. 

Origin of the Spruce Goose

In 1942, during the dark days of World War II, German submarines were sinking a large number of allied ships. As a result, finding a way to transport troops and materials to the allies became a top priority for the United States. 

Henry Kaiser, a steel magnate and shipbuilder, took on the task of finding a solution. He knew Hughes’ genius as an aviation expert and pioneer could help him solve this problem. Howard Hughes agreed to help Kaiser so they met and signed an agreement for the HK-1 (Hughes Kaiser 1), which was the original model designation of the aircraft. 

Material Challenges

Due to the war, the materials needed to build a plane were scarce, aluminum and steel were being used to help advance war efforts. Therefore, Hughes and Kaiser had to find a creative solution to building a plane without these materials.  

 Despite the plane’s name being Spruce Goose (a name Howard Hughes despised), the aircraft was manufactured almost entirely from a birch based wood with a process known as Duramold 

The Duramold process involves impregnating birch ply’s with a synthetic phenolic resin. For reference, billiard balls are often made with phenolic resins. The ply’s are then laminated together with heat and pressure in a formable mold. The end result is a lightweight structural material that is very versatile in use. It was especially critical during WW2 as a replacement for aluminum and steel which were in short supply. The only parts of the aircraft that were not wood construction were the engines and electronics.  

Building the Spruce Goose

Kaiser and Hughes started the planning and building of the Spruce Goose in 1942. However, from the beginning Henry Kaiser and Howard Hughes had a rocky relationship. Hughes was a perfectionist and not very personable, and Kaiser had concerns over continual delays in construction and how much money was being spent to complete the project. As a result, Henry Kaiser left the project, leaving Hughes to complete it on his own. Ultimately, the plane was not finished until 1947, two years after the end of World War 2.  

The Spruce Goose Specifications

The Spruce Goose was originally designed as a prototype. What made the Spruce Goose unique amongst other planes of the time was not just being made almost entirely out of wood, it was the plane’s ability to take off and land on water at such an enormous size. The aircraft was essentially a big ship that could fly.  

With 8 engines, the Spruce Goose is a high-wing flying boat prototype originally built for transportation of military personnel and equipment. As mentioned, the frame is constructed primarily of Duramold with a light silver finish. Both wings have a stationary pontoon hanging down to balance the plane in the water. The engines are Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial piston design. 

Plane Specs: 

  • Wingspan – 320 ft. 

  • Length – 218 ft. 

  • Height – 79 ft. 

  • Empty Weight – 300,000 lbs. 

  • Cruise Speed – 135 MPH 

How Much Did It Cost?

The Spruce Goose went a little over budget. In fact, it went so over budget that Congress started investigating Howard Hughes to see if he misused the funding he received from the United States Government.  

 The total cost of building the Spruce Goose was $23 million dollars, equivalent to approximately $287.5 million today. In 1947, Howard Hughes had to appear before a United States Senate Committee to testify, and they ordered Hughes to prove that the plane he had built was capable of flight. 

The Maiden and Final Flight

The United States government wanted to see the Spruce Goose fly and Howard Hughes obliged. On November 2, 1947 off the coast of Long Beach CA, Howard Hughes steered the huge aircraft through the water in front of thousands of interested onlookers and doubters.  

 He taxied the Spruce Goose for several minutes before finally taking off. Hughes flew the plane 1 mile, which took 30 seconds, and reached a height of 70ft before landing the plane for the last time back into the chop of the bay. 

 The flight was a success, and Howard Hughes had redeemed himself by proving that the enormous and enormously expensive wooden aircraft that took too long to build was truly flight worthy. Unfortunately, the plane never flew again after that initial flight, and further production of any H-4 Spruce Goose planes never came to pass.

Where is the Spruce Goose Today?

The Spruce Goose changed hands quite few times during it’s history in dock. Originally, Howard Hughes kept the plane in a hermetically sealed dry dock. In 1980, it was purchased by the Aero Club of Southern California and a geodesic dome was constructed around it as an exhibit hall attraction.  

 In 1988, The Walt Disney Corporation purchased the attractions and real estate, and eventually decided they did not want to maintain it. In 1992, the Aero Club managed to find a suitable host and location in the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville Oregon. It was a colossal effort to transfer the aircraft to the Evergreen Aviation Museum, which required careful disassembly, trips by barge, train and truck, and reassembly at the site. The Spruce Goose is still currently on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum and is a great experience to take in if you happen to be in the area. 

Today I Learned

The 7 Essential Criteria of Sustainable Forest Management-Part 2

Join us in this Part 2 of Nature’s Packaging, “The 7 Essential Criteria of Forest Management”, where we finish describing the essential criteria and explain their importance in sustainable forest management.

Criterion 5: Maintenance of Forests Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles

Forests form one of the largest renewable soil carbon reservoirs, and they play a significant role in global carbon cycles. The carbon stocks are captured or processed in the dead and decaying matter, wood products, above and below the ground biomass, and soil. The impacts of climate change affect the structure and distribution of forests, their health, temperature, and even contribute to forest fires that can delete carbon capture and storage altogether.

While the forest management efforts can also alter the carbon cycle, sound management activities that enhance the carbon capture capacity in forests can positively impact carbon dioxide levels. Biomass in the forests can replace emissive fossil fuels, diminishing greenhouse gases.

Unlike any other criterion, the maintenance of forests’ contribution to global cycles embodies the direct link between the environment and the global economy. Carbon cycles result from fossil fuel burning, which are significant energy sources in the activity of the modern economy. Therefore, the capacity of forests to isolate carbon from the atmosphere will be a critical factor in global warming and the ability of the global economy to adjust to wider and more damaging environmental conditions and their associated costs.

This criterion uses three indicators that focus on the total carbon pools in forests, forest product carbon pools, and the amount of fossil fuel emissions avoided through forest biomass.

Criterion 6: Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term Multiple Socioeconomic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Societies

Forests provide a range of products for the benefit of society (pallets move the world!). These products serve the needs of different communities, and some of them are solely dependent on the goods and services for their livelihood. As a result, the global statistics on the production and use of forest products, employment opportunities provided in the forest sector, and investment illustrate some of the benefits and the needs for maintenance and enhancement.

Notably, the first five criteria are centered on the sustainability aspect of forests at the expense of the economic aspect. This criterion is the only one with an economic focus and thus has over 20 indicators, more than any other criterion. Due to their large number, the indicators are grouped into investments, employment, and culture.

The employment category capitalizes on the ability of forests to provide work and wages, while the investment category focuses on the attention of the society to forest maintenance. The cultural category is concerned with the most social of the socioeconomic indicators.

Criterion 7: Legal, Institutional, and Economic Framework for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management

The 7th criterion is concerned with a country’s overall institutional, legal, economic, and policy environment. It outlines the context for working groups to consider the preceding six criteria. The considerations or indicators here relate to the institutional capacity, legislation and policy measures at all levels, economic arrangements, and creating a conducive environment for sustainable forest management.

The criterion is associated with some inherent challenges, and thus the member countries have adopted different approaches to suit their specific societal and cultural needs. The complications arise from the variety of sources to make it difficult to capture relevant and meaningful quantifiable data and information to form the proper baselines from a global perspective. Working groups involved in the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators are resolved to revamp the criterion’s indicators to 10 and simplify the language to solve the inherent challenges.

Conclusion

The Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators are a beginning step in providing tools for collecting and reporting data necessary for conserving and maintaining sustainable forest ecosystems. These tools are designed and applied to depict the necessary components of sustainable forest management and provide working groups with a framework that describes the condition and value of those ecosystems.

They present a set of non-legally binding principles for the 12 member countries that are essential players in forest management and the global pursuit of the larger sustainable development goals. They are, however, collaborative and internationally agreed-upon criteria specifically meant to serve as a response to the urgent need to address sustainable forest management as part of a larger solution that addresses climate change and the socio-economic impacts on countries, industries, and people.

Today I Learned

The 7 Essential Criteria of Sustainable Forest Management-Part 1

The Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators were created in 1992 during the Earth Summit. They addressed the sustainable management of forests to conserve the overall range of critical functions and characteristics like carbon cycles, forest health, water and soil protection, biodiversity, and forest productivity.

In February 1995, the member countries, including the United States, Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Japan, and others, adopted these set of criteria for use by the working groups assigned to gauge their practicality and value.

The criteria dubbed-“The Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management”, were developed to focus on the challenge of assessing tangible progress towards forest conditions and sustainability.

The indicators are measurable components relating to a part of (or) the entire natural system, which can give insights into the condition of the forest ecosystem.

In today’s Nature’s Packaging post, we describe these essential criteria and explain their importance in sustainable forest management.

Criterion 1: Conservation of Biological Diversity

Biological diversity refers to the variety of life supported by Earth. It comprises distinct levels, including ecosystems, genes, species, and various creatures. The interactions of these levels make the earth habitable. However, in the wake of the climate change threats, the entire concept of biodiversity is under threat, which is why the first criterion focuses on the conservation of biological diversity.

Both harvest prepared and natural forests play a significant part in biodiversity. They are part of ecosystems where different life forms interact with the environment and allow the system to respond to changes, recover from disturbances, and ensure the sustainability of ecological processes.

Human activities tend to adversely affect biodiversity by altering habitats, extinction of species, reducing indigenous populations, and introducing invasive species. Conserving biological diversity allows the forest ecosystems to function properly and provide broader environmental and economic value (forest products).

In this criterion, there are a total of nine indicators. The first three are concerned with the diversity of the ecosystem, describing the type, amount, and organization of forests which provide insights into the ability of forests to support organisms and ecological processes. The other six indicators are concerned with the number and biological diversity of plants and animals supported in these habitats, focusing on the species and genes.

Criterion 2: Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems

Populations worldwide rely on forests directly for a multitude of forest-based products. The sustainability of these products is directly linked to the forests’ productive capacity, and if the requirements exceed the limit of that capacity, the ecosystem is depleted or damaged.

Thus, populations must ensure the sustainability of forests by determining acceptable levels of extraction of all the forest-based products that will not collapse the ecosystem. This must also account for the type of forest-based products in demand and how that demand changes due to social, technological, and economic trends advancements. Variations in a forests’ productive capacity can be a signal to modify those trends or other factors affecting the ecosystems.

The second criterion thus focuses on maintaining the productive capacities of forests. It has five indicators, where the first four indicators track conventional measures relating to the trends and status of the forests that support wood supplies. The last indicator focuses on the trends of non-wood products extracted from these forests.

Criterion 3: Maintenance of Ecosystem Health and Vitality

The expansion of a forests health and vitality is dependent on the functioning of the ecosystem’s processes and components. Any natural ecosystem, to maintain its functions and active processes, must have the ability to recover from external disturbances. While most disturbances and stress are natural, some extreme occurrences overwhelm the ecosystem, undermining its ability to function effectively.

As a result, there can be severe ecological and economic consequences, including environmental degradation and elimination of forests benefits to the society. Forest ecosystem health and vitality maintenance efforts can help minimize and mitigate these risks.

The criterion for maintenance of ecosystem health and vitality has three indicators. The indicators focus on the area and percentage of forests affected by circumstances beyond historic variations, lands affected by specific levels of air pollutants, and lands with significantly reduced biological components due to changes in critical ecological processes.

Criterion 4: Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources

Soil and water are the core components of a functioning and productive forest ecosystem. These forest components are essential in the regulation of groundwater. Further, the health of underground water systems is directly impacted by topography, soil, and water interactions. The interdependence of soil and water and forest ecosystems makes their conservation an essential aspect of forest management.

The interactions involved can significantly affect habitats and poor management can result in the loss of riparian buffering capability, degradation of aquatic habitats, and soil compaction. Water flow changes can result in flooding risks which threaten the lives of humans and other organisms.

It is the fourth criterion and has five indicators. The first four indicators focus on soil and water resources protection and management practices. In contrast, the last indicator is the size of water bodies with the noteworthy changes in physical, chemical, and biological properties.

 

Join Nature’s Packaging next week as we finish up with the remaining criteria in our next blog post, “The 7 Essential Criteria for Sustainable Forest Management – Part 2”

Hearne Hardwooods web homepage

Wood on the Web: Hearne Hardwoods

It’s time for the Nature’s Packaging – Wood on the Web series. In these posts, we explore interesting and unique web resources all about wood. In this blog post we look at Hearne Hardwoods, a specialty lumber yard with some very unique offerings.

Have you ever seen a beautiful piece of wood furniture and said to yourself, ‘Wow! Look at that beautiful wood grain. Where do they find pieces like that’?

Well, in some cases they find those beautiful pieces of wood at Hearne Hardwoods.

Hearne Hardwooods web homepage

About Hearne Hardwoods

Hearne Hardwoods Inc. was started in 1997 by Rick and Pat Hearne as a small, family-owned, specialty hardwood lumber company located in Oxford Pennsylvania on a historic 18th century homestead. From their simple beginning, the family grew it from a four person company with eight thousand square foot of usable space to a thriving business with eighteen employees and over fifty thousand square feet of manufacturing, storage, and a marvelous showroom. As the company has grown, so has their ability to provide unique wood products for new markets. Originally they were strictly a raw material yard providing exotic woods from around the world. Now, they have “branched” out to include manufacturing musical instrument blanks and this side of their business has grown significantly.

Hearne hardwoods strives to offer selections of some of the world’s most unique and gorgeous wood pieces from sustainably managed forests delivered to customers in a friendly, welcoming manner. All Hearne Hardwoods customers are treated with respect and warmth. The staff onsite are very knowledgeable about their inventory and are ready to help every customer with their project, big or small.

Today, Rick Hearne and his son, Brian, travel across the globe in search of the wonderful treasures of nature that inspire woodworkers and instill a sense of awe in their customers.

Hearne Hardwood Products

Hearne offers several different categories of products:

  • Raw lumber – rough sawn, random width and length with wide selection of species from Apple to Ziricote.

  • Live edge slabs – most kiln dried, some air dried. Sawn and sold as flitches (sawn from a single log and sold together). Available bookmatched.

  • Tonewoods – high quality guitar and ukele parts.

  • Lumber piles – basically means what it says. Raw materials sold as a unit.

  • Burls and Blocks – these are used for inlays, furniture pieces, gun stocks, turned pieces, etc.

  • Veneers – used to cover large areas. Great for paneling, doors, and cabinets.

  • Hardwood flooring – custom made to fit your personal style and taste.

  • You Name It! – unique pieces ideal for art, sculpture, and table bases.

Sustainability

Sustainable forest management is vital to preserving forests in general and especially when dealing with unique and exotic hardwoods from around the world. Hearne Hardwoods is pledged to procure forest products from legal sources who practice sustainable forest management.

They have invested in a rosewood plantation based in Central America that includes a nursery and a sawmill. They are committed to building a renewable resource that benefits the local populace as well. The plantations are diversified ecosystems of indigenous trees and plants that allow the local communities to prosper from the land. They have also mahogany, cedar, avocado, mango, and orange trees within the tracks of the plantation.

As part of sustainable management, the trees initially grow among corn stalks and when they grow tall enough they will provide shade for organic coffee bushes.

Another part of their commitment to sustainable management and renewable the resources is their project to replant fifteen saplings for every tree harvested. The trees are GPS tagged in a forest management plan and their positions are provided to the local government for tracking and so that future members of the community are aware of the resources and can take part in their growth and harvesting.

 

What is Supply Chain Sustainability? – Part 2

Why is Supply Chain Sustainability Important?

The increasing concern about climate change by consumers and businesses alike has pointed to supply chain sustainability as a strategic goal for all participants in the chain. Supply chain operations, from sourcing, to distribution, to end-user, are an energy-intensive process.

Nations, governments, and business leaders have recognized the after-effects of these processes and have called for dramatic improvements in various worldwide climate summits like the Paris Agreement and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The medium-term goal within these actions is to reduce GHG emissions on a global scale.

Many industries, like fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), logistics, and supply chain; are being scrutinized and called upon to provide plans and goals for sustainability in their operations. The new business leaders of these industries understand that their operations can have significant impact on the environment, which then flows through the social, political, and economic landscapes where they do business.

In example, Coca-Cola, who is a giant in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, utilizes its market reach to promote awareness of sustainability values and engage meaningfully with suppliers across its supply chain respectively. The 2020 Coca-Cola Business & Environmental, Social and Governance Report demonstrates the initiatives it is implementing within packaging, processes, and advocacy to redress its supply chain and communicate company-wide social responsibility and supply chain sustainability. In sustainable packaging, Coca-Cola’s goal is to make 100% of their packaging recyclable globally by 2025 and use at least 50% recycled material in all packaging by 2030.

For industries and companies like this example, it is up to the wooden pallet and packaging industry, as a service provider in their supply chains, to demonstrate the value of our products in achieving our customer’s goals for sustainability. Recycled wooden products do this by presenting sound, proven data that provides factual information for a customer’s sustainability initiatives.

Making a Supply Chain Sustainable with Wood Packaging

The goal of attaining a sustainable supply chain is to incorporate eco-friendly business practices in everyday operations, these include the use of recycled packaging and/or packaging derived from renewable resources. Achievement of a customer’s sustainability goals begins with important pillars that validate their goals and set up their operations for success with minimal disruption to any process:

Identification – companies identify areas of improvement along their supply chain from sourcing to packaging, to warehousing, to transportation. As operations are evaluated. The “low-hanging fruit” will highlight where the quickest positive environmental impacts will happen. This will help them jumpstart their development toward sustainability. As an expert in recycling processes and renewable wood products, you can guide them to quick wins that are identified at a granular level (read: pallet) and quickly coalesce into a significantly positive data point systemwide.

Collection – developing key performance indicators (KPIs) to use as a benchmark to track progress are integral to success. This helps businesses focus on their environmental goals. As an expert in recycling processes and renewable wood products, your input into those KPI’s will be critical. Luckily, all of this data is collected as a regular part of the services provided.

Commitment – service providers (like pallet companies) gain commitment from their customers by incorporating business practices that mirror the sustainability goals of their customers. This can include facility and yard tours that demonstrate real recycling processes in action and set expectations correctly with customers. Customers must understand that your services amplify their effort toward achieving their sustainability goals and contribute to their bottom line.

Connection – customers want to build on their successes in sustainability and engage with suppliers who understand this concept. Collaboration among businesses units within a customer’s business organization is compounded with optimization of their processes that reduces cost, waste, and environmental risks in the business operation. Wood pallets and packaging touches just about every business unit in some way, whether it be data, actual products, or services provided at the dock. Connecting those dots for the customer are crucial.

Evaluation – beyond KPI metrics there will always be the need to review and re-align with customer sustainability goals. These points of communication must be more than numbers in a spreadsheet or nice-looking reports with colorful infographics. An evaluation of service performance that is done regularly, whether quarterly or semi-annually, is integral to the progress of any sustainability initiatives. It will also help you as a service provider to address any concerns with the customer and help you achieve credibility as the invaluable sustainability expert that you really are.

Navigating successfully through these points to help a customer attain supply chain sustainability is complicated. Nonetheless, every wood packaging business in the industry should adopt these pillars to help promote our industry as sustainable, renewable, and recycling pioneers.

What is Supply Chain Sustainability? – Part 1

Supply chain sustainability is the comprehensive view and management of supply chain components, processes, and technologies deployed in business operations that have a direct or indirect impact on the environment, society, and economy. It includes endorsing good governance ethics throughout the lifecycle of products and services. Supply chain sustainability involves a business reflecting on the environmental and human impact of their production lifecycle from raw materials sourcing to production, storage, delivery, and all modes of transportation utilized.

The goal is to reduce environmental damage from component processes like energy consumption, water consumption, and waste production whilst significantly improving the lives of participants in the operating supply chain. Another important goal is to establish, protect, and develop a long-term social, environmental, and economic value for stakeholders, partner companies, government, and customers when bringing goods and services to market. To properly explore this subject, we need to define key terms:

Supply Chain: A supply chain is a collection of systems and processes that transform raw material into finished goods. Within this collection of systems and processes, there are multiple tiers of production and/or manufacturing, facilities in use for these operations, transportation across the spectrum of the operations, and all of the human capital involved in the movement of any product/ service from beginning of the cycle all the way to the customer.

Supply chain management: The act of coordinating raw material sourcing, production, distribution, and inventory among participants in the supply chain. It aims to maximize profit and gain a competitive advantage in the market by streamlining the commercial supply-side activities and operating as lean as possible to drive out costs whilst satisfying customer needs.

Climate change: Climate change according to the United Nation is the long-term alteration of temperature and weather patterns. The long-term trickle-down effect of climate change in business operations will see an increase in cost across all parts of the supply chain and affect the quality of goods delivered to customers. Natural disasters caused by climate change will test the level of flexibility in the supply chain with failure being the catastrophic result.

As we have written about greenhouse gases and climate change in a previous blog post, supply chain systems and processes are a large contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change. GHG emissions lead to a higher temperature, more drought, and a rise in ocean temperature. A rise in ocean temperature further leads to intense hurricanes and other disasters that can disrupt global commerce. With a deteriorating climate condition, supply chain risks will only become worse.

Today I Learned: Healthy Sustainable Forestry – Part 2

The 10 Principles for FSC-certified Forests

The Forest Stewardship Council sets clear standards for responsible forestry to achieve their mission. They set out a list of ten principles that need to be in place in an FSC-certified forest. These apply to all forests, regardless of the country, forest size, type, or whether it’s a natural forest or a plantation.

These ten principles are:

  1. Compliance with relevant laws and regulations. This includes all relevant international treaties or conventions.
  2. Commitment to workers’ rights and adequate employment conditions. This commitment is in line with the FSC’s focus on social policies, as well as the purely environmental ones. The goal must be to maintain or improve the economic and social well-being of the forest workers.
  3. Indigenous peoples’ rights. They promote and protect indigenous peoples’ legal and traditional property ownership rights, usage, and management. This protection covers the land, the overall territories, and the resources affected by the forestry management activities.
  4. Community relations. They must contribute to ensuring that the social and economic well-being of the local communities is maintained or improved.
  5. Managing the benefits obtained from the forest. Good management of forest products is essential to ensure long-term financial sustainability. As a result, the forests will be able to continue providing social and ecological benefits.
  6. Upholding environmental values and minimizing impact. The goal has to be to avoid adverse environmental effects as much as possible or repair them as needed. This includes protecting biodiversity, water resources, landscapes, soil quality, and the overall forest ecosystem.
  7. Planning the management of the forest.The forest’s management plan has to be updated regularly, based on the continuous monitoring carried out, to make sure that it’s adapted to any changes in conditions. The plan has to outline the long-term objectives and how to achieve them.
  8. Ongoing monitoring and assessment of the management activities. Continuous monitoring is carried out to measure the progress against the management plan and track the forest’s condition. Based on this monitoring, the program can be updated as needed.
  9. Maintaining forests with high conservation value. Any activities in forests with a high conservation value need to ensure the protection and enhancement of that value.
  10. Compliance when implementing management activities. These activities must comply with these ten principles and the subsequent 70 criteria established by the FSC that apply to their certified forests.

When forests comply with these principles and are FSC-certified, products made from their wood can carry the FSC logo.

What different types of certification does the FSC offer?

Different types of FSC certifications are available for businesses, as well as the better-known forest-management certification.

Being certified by the council means that the company’s products or projects have been assessed and determined to meet the FSC’s criteria for sustainable forestry, including social and environmental concerns.

These are the main types of certifications available:

Forest management.

For a forest to be FSC certified, it must comply with the ten principles stated above and the more detailed criteria that explain how to implement each one.

An FSC-certified forest balances long-term economic viability with the preservation of ecological biodiversity and the welfare of the local communities.

Chain of custody.

This certification ensures that FSC-certified wood is identified through the supply chain, from the forest to the final manufacturer and end consumer.

This way, we can be sure if a final product in the market comes from certified wood and feel confident that it won’t have been mixed up with non-certified wood.

Construction projects.

FSC-certified wood is not only destined for use in consumer products. It can also be used as materials in construction projects.

Through certification, construction companies can build their corporate sustainability goals directly into their project design and use the FSC trademarks to promote them.

How does the FSC work with different sectors?

They work together with organizations from different industries that have a common goal of sustainable forestry practices in the supply chain. This collaboration helps to raise awareness about responsible forestry initiatives within these industries and brings them closer to meeting social responsibility objectives.

They have developed a set of assets for five key sectors, and this is how they work with each one to support their sustainability goals.

Textiles

Fast fashion is getting a bad rap these days as a significant contributor to climate change, as well as polluting land and waterways due to the use of many plastic-based materials. But as sustainability moves higher on the agenda of all industries, a new generation of plant-based textiles coming from forests, including modal, lyocell, viscose, and rayon, are being used by more and more manufacturers.

These textiles are generally made from cellulose fibers found in plant cell walls, but they often come from poorly managed forests and contribute to deforestation. Other natural alternatives like cotton have a very resource-intensive, and synthetic materials that tend to be cheaper are plastics that have a significant environmental cost.

However, by encouraging textile manufacturers to use FSC-certified forest-based materials that have been sustainably produced we can reduce the impact that the raw materials used in the fashion industry have on the environment. FSC certification guarantees that the textiles used in clothing came from environmentally responsible and legal sources, giving consumers peace of mind.

Furniture

Furniture manufacturers use many forest materials throughout the production process, including plywood, chipboard, and solid wood. They are very interested in FSC-certified wood because it satisfies environmental standards and is very attractive to consumers.

Even with plastic taking over in so many areas of our lives, wood is still hugely popular when it comes to furniture. But consumers still want to know that their interior design won’t be contributing to deforestation, so they look for the FSC logo.  

Construction

There has always been a high demand for wood as a material among homeowners, especially as it’s energy-efficient as well as beautiful. But wood sourced from poorly managed forests can contribute to deforestation and environmental degradation.

Using responsibly sourced wood products from well-managed forests can help reduce emissions coming from the construction sector.

Plus, integrating responsible forestry standards and being able to use the FSC trademark on a construction project shows support for environmental goals and can be an added asset when promoting it.

Packaging

This has traditionally been a significant source of waste and overuse of plastic, but consumers are starting to pay more attention to what packaging their products come in. Companies are catching on and finding ways to both reduce excess packaging and use more sustainable materials.

By having the FSC logo on the packaging, the brands show their commitment to building more sustainable practices. And it might be the deciding factor that sways a consumer towards one brand or another.

Retail

Retailers have direct contact with the end consumers, so they can significantly influence their choices. Following consumer demands, many retailers are developing their own sustainability strategies and partner with manufacturers who also carry the FSC label.

This gives a powerful message to shoppers and helps shape their shopping habits and preferences.

 

Sustainability initiatives are no longer merely a nice thought. With so much customer focus on them, they are becoming an essential part of the social responsibility strategy for any company that wants to grow in the long term.

And with 50% of consumers worldwide recognizing the FSC label and trusting in the environmental work behind it, according to a Globescan survey, the FSC certifications have become a very powerful tool that businesses can leverage when working towards their sustainability goals.

 

Beautiful Forest

Today I Learned: Healthy Sustainable Forestry-Part 1

Today, being sustainable and eco-friendly is something that consumers are starting to demand of the business they support, and more and more companies are catching on to this need. It’s common these days to see companies promote their sustainability campaigns and boast about them in their marketing material.

But with so much noise around sustainability, it’s getting harder for people to know whether a business is truly committed to green, eco-friendly practices and taking real action or if they’re merely greenwashing.

That is why businesses that are genuinely working to be sustainable are turning to independent third-party certifications to prove to the consumer that their practices are sound from an environmental perspective.

Having certified corporate sustainability practices can also attract potential investors and put companies ahead of their competitors. They are stating their values aloud and showing stakeholders that they’re willing to invest in them.

What is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit international organization founded in 1993 by the environmental community. It was conceived after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the “Earth Summit” held in Rio de Janeiro the previous year.

Their mission statement is to “promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

The FSC has developed several tools to support in achieving its mission.

  • They’ve established a clear set of agreed principles that reflect sustainable forest management practices.
  • They developed a certification system that confirms when a forest complies with the FSC standards.
  • The FSC logo has enabled a product labeling system that verifies that the wood comes from a responsibly managed source, giving consumers confidence.

These tools empower consumers to make better informed, more sustainable choices, and they help businesses meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and achieve recognition for their environmental initiatives.

Through their actions, FSC works towards fighting climate change. Their work both promotes sustainable forest management practices and the use of recycled wood materials. This way, they want to ensure that the role of forests as natural net removers of CO2 from the atmosphere is protected to make progress towards net-zero emissions.

What are the benefits of working with the FSC?

The FSC doesn’t sell or distribute products itself, but it does certify companies to independent standards for responsible forestry.

The environmental benefits of buying FSC-certified wood are clear. Less destruction of forests and wildlife habitats; more sustainable use of natural resources; strong protection for workers, local communities, and indigenous rights.

Forests are home to many animals that help create a balanced ecosystem. The FSC helps protect biodiversity through its conservation policies which ensure that forest management can preserve critical habitats while still meeting economic needs.

And they are also known for being strong on sustainable social policies, including democratic decision-making with the people most affected by the land, fair wages and safe working conditions, and respect for human rights.

What is the FSC logo?

To bring awareness to sustainable forestry management practices, the council developed an easily recognizable standard that consumers would be able to look for and use when deciding which wood products are both environmentally friendly and responsibly sourced.

Their logo has become recognized worldwide as a symbol of responsible forestry practices, good corporate citizenship, and environmental stewardship. It certifies that the product comes from an FSC-certified forest. This means that the forest is responsibly managed, it’s being restored, and the environment is being preserved or enhanced for the local communities.

It’s hard to find a more widely recognized symbol in the world of eco-friendly initiatives than that of the FSC logo.

The strength of this symbol lies in the fact that thanks to its long history and solid reputation, it provides both businesses and consumers alike with confidence that products with the logo are made responsibly without compromising on quality or social responsibility.

This way, consumers can really choose to spend their money on companies that create products through sound business practices, thus creating a sustainable future.

And for retailers and manufacturers, using the FSC logo on their products gives them credibility as an environmentally responsible company. This can provide them with an advantage over their competition, especially as consumers now demand that companies take full responsibility for their supply chain sourcing and communicate it transparently.

The FSC recognition is not limited to products sold to end consumers. Businesses also can collaborate with the FSC and have their forests or projects certified to use the FSC trademarks to promote them.

Wood On the Web: Dovetail Partners

This month, Nature’s Packaging has found another great web-based resource for you that demonstrates the versatility in the forest industry and the opportunities it creates for employment, sustainability initiatives, economic knowledge, and government policy.

Our focus this month is on Dovetail Partners website (www.dovetailinc.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to collaboration, problem-solving, and job creation in industries related to forest resources and wood-based products.

The Dovetail Partners Mission

Dovetail Partners are all about collaboration. Their model is to work with individuals and organizations to create new and interesting ideas, systems, models, and programs that address the decisions and impacts regarding governmental and corporate policies, use of land, and consumption choices. They also work to build programs that encourage job creation and affect job quality in resource-based industries like forest management and forest products.

Dovetail Services

Dovetail provides a range of services to organizations that really help with everything from ideation of topics to project management to data collection:

  • Idea Development – develop ideas to reach desired outcomes.
  • Project Management – team, skills, and knowledge to keep projects on track.
  • Data Collection – seek the science available to address an issue and leverage expertise and network to fill the gaps.
  • Analysis – analysis of data and information to help present a clear picture of the outcome.
  • Report Development – organizing the ideas, data, and analysis into a document that effectively communicates the desired outcomes.
  • Outreach – deliver products meant to inspire, encouraging thoughtful work into the future.

Dovetail Projects

Dovetail Partners have completed a wide variety of reports across many different sectors of industry. All of these reports are available for download at their website https://www.dovetailinc.org/portfolio.php.

Some of the most relevant to the forest products industries include:

Global Forest Resources and Timber Trade

The report is an analysis of forest resources at global level, from both supply and demand perspectives (raw material supply, trade, processing/production, consumption). The report is global in scope but focuses on the United States primarily due to audience. It includes great breakdowns of the tropical and boreal timber markets with easy-to-understand graphics and data. It ends with market trends and how political policy worldwide is impacting trade and the markets.

An Introduction to the Circular Economy

This report defines the circular economy according to the UNECE definition (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). It is a system of production and consumption, which minimizes waste, optimizes the resources used with minimal pollution, regenerates natural capital, creates opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship, and reshapes production and consumption from a life cycle and recycling perspective. The report gives examples of how it is being applied in the natural and forest resource industries sector and the opportunities created by its application.

Carbon Storage, Credit Markets, and Forests

This Dovetail report is centered on the carbon credits generated by operations in the forest resources industries, the markets that have been created and new ones developing, and how the market generally operates from source to asset. While the framework is global in nature, the report focuses on the United States in particular. It also does a great job of delineating the voluntary and regulatory markets and how they differ in scope and development.

Why Wood Pallets and Containers

Here at Nature’s Packaging, our goal is to keep you informed about the forces that will have a political and economic impact on our industry. These are subjects and topics that are being discussed, explored, and implemented by whole industries and large organizations that are customers of the wooden pallet and container industry. We must remain informed with credible, relevant data and information that allows us to remain “at the table” and even expand our capabilities to align with these initiatives. The Life Cycle Assessment is a great start, but we must do more or we will be replaced by better marketing.

Wood for the W.I.N. – Carbon Accounting

There is a huge market gathering around carbon and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s). Governments are being pressured by the public to address climate change and global warming, and very soon regulation and the monetization of carbon offsets will create an asset tradeable marketplace that will classify a price for it.

As you read this post there are numerous bills in the US Congress being proposed to put a price tag on carbon. This prospective legislation, along with other cap and trade proposals, are the foundation of a new paradigm in the world economy. Imagine carbon offsets as the tradeable asset and a model price at around $100 dollars per metric ton. These are very real numbers based on existing frameworks in the EU system. Let’s break it down for the United States.

In 2020, the United States is estimated to have generated ~5.16 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. At the $100 per ton number that represents a VERY LARGE number, and about 2.5% of the total estimated US GDP for 2020. That is also accounting for the effect of the pandemic on the US economy.

Who is accountable for all of these emissions you ask? All of the companies in the US, and in the larger frame, the world. Now you can begin to grasp why the C-suite is concerned, and why companies are in a blitz of marketing and green policy initiatives.

In this exclusive Nature’s Packaging post, we dive into What’s Important Now (W.I.N.) for the wooden pallet and container industry by examining a methodology called “Carbon Accounting” that companies and organizations around the world are utilizing to assess their greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon Accounting 101

Carbon accounting, also known as greenhouse gas accounting, is an approach and process designed to audit and provide an assessment of the company’s carbon “footprint”, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by the company both directly and indirectly.

Carbon accounting measures the emissions produced by a certain business activities and processes. It quantifies the amount of output from the use of fossil fuels, agricultural practices, industrial production, various supply chain operations, and other indirect processes. The data and information generated from an account and inventory of emissions becomes the framework that a company utilizes to further manage their climate change impact and determine possible strategies to mitigate that impact going forward.

In terms of reporting, many countries have regulatory agencies that require companies to report their emissions. In the US, this would be part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP)

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a guideline created by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in partnership with the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD). Many companies around the world have adopted the GHGP as it provides accounting and reporting specifications, guidance appropriate to different industries, tools for calculation, and training for businesses and government entities.

The GHGP provides a standardized framework for measuring and managing emissions from both public and private sector companies and organizations. Additionally, an accounting protocol for emissions created from logistics operations was established in 2016 by a newly formed council. It was established in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, and it is known as the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) Framework.

Emission Scope

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol divides emissions into 3 Scopes. Companies measure and set goals to reduce emission based on the framework of these Scopes:

Scope 1

This scope is based on all the direct GHG emissions by a company. These are emissions that created by resources owned or controlled by the company. These include GHG’s produced from fuel combustion in assets like vehicles, boilers, and furnaces.

Scope 2

Scope 2 refers to indirect GHG emissions from consumption of utility purchases like electricity, heat, cooling or steam. These emissions occur outside any company’s actual facilities as a result of utility usage and are considered an indirect source of emissions.

The Corporate Standard is an accounting and reporting standard provided by the GHG Protocol that gives guidance on how an organization can calculate and inventory its Scope 2 emissions. The standard is designed to ensure consistent methodology and transparency of results between organizations around the world.

Scope 3

Scope 3 contains other types of indirect emissions that can be the largest source of GHG emissions for an organization and represent up to 90% of the total carbon footprint. Scope 3 sources include emissions that occur both upstream and downstream of the organization’s activities, as in supply chain and logistics operations. This upstream/downstream activity constitutes the organization’s full value chain in creation of its products and/or services.

Scope 3 includes 15 overall categories:

  1. Purchased Goods and Services
  2. Capital Goods
  3. Fuel- and Energy-Related Activities Not Included in Scope 1 or 2
  4. Upstream Transportation and Distribution
  5. Waste Generated in Operations
  6. Business Travel
  7. Employee Commuting
  8. Upstream Leased Assets
  9. Downstream Transportation and Distribution
  10. Processing of Sold Products
  11. Use of Sold Products
  12. End-of-Life Treatment of Sold Products
  13. Downstream Leased Assets
  14. Franchises
  15. Investments

Corporate Sustainability & You

Scopes 1 & 2 mentioned above are the starting points for any business and generally are the easiest to assess and reform as they are the closest to day-to-day operations. They can include anything from changing out lighting systems in buildings to promote savings on electricity costs, implementing new HVAC systems and filtration, utilizing new control software that maximizes the efficiency processes in building maintenance systems, to using “green” vehicles.

Scopes 1&2 are the ‘proof of concept’ phase in most cases as a company ramps into a sustainability program across the entire organization. However, companies also have to account for Scope 3 emissions in order to achieve and claim successes. The difficulties in Scope 3 accountability are directly related to the above-mentioned value chain that include suppliers and customers as part of the framework.

Many companies are embracing the GHG protocol and it’s variants like the GLEC Framework and the Corporate Standard. In example, Walmart has launched it Project Gigaton which aims to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030. Pepsico has incorporated the Pepsico Positive program to address their sustainability initiatives.

Both companies are customers of the pallet industry and we exist in their value chains. Additionally, there are many other companies in a multitude of industries that need and use pallets to move their goods through the supply chain. The Pallet Foundation provides numerous resources like the Environmental Product Declaration and the Landfill Avoidance Study as excellent reference documents that help inform customers how well the wooden container and pallet industry aligns with the sustainability efforts of these organizations.

It is critical that companies in the wooden pallet and container industry continue to fund, promote, and align themselves with these corporate sustainability efforts. As an industry, we must have a solid grasp of the various GHG protocols, carbon accounting, and sustainability initiatives because it exponentially multiplies the value of your company in the value chain of the customer companies we service. We must connect and understand what’s important to them now.

 

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