PHILADELPHIA, PENN. (Nov. 20, 2013) – Today at the 2013 Greenbuild Conference in Philadelphia, Dogwood Alliance, in partnership with Forest Stewardship Council-US, Interface, Inc. and Staples announced commitments by Interface and Staples to purchase forest carbon offsets from two projects in the Southern Appalachian region of the US South developed by the Carbon Canopy. These major US companies have agreed to buy forest carbon from landowners who have committed to protect forest carbon stocks over the next 100 years and certify their forests to the rigorous standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system.
“Standing forests play a vital role in the fight against climate change. While today these projects define the new progressive–edge in forestry, we fully expect this concept to become mainstream within a decade,” said Andrew Goldberg, Director of Corporate Engagement at Dogwood Alliance. “Today’s announcement represents a future where the climate benefits of trees left standing actually have a market value, where long-term conservation of forests is profitable for landowners and where the forest products that we all use originate from management practices that conserve and restore, rather than degrade forests.”
The two projects announced today are the first for the Carbon Canopy and cover a combined 14,000 acres of forests in the Southern Appalachian region of North Carolina and Virginia.
“Staples is proud to be a founding member of the Carbon Canopy. In addition to building green facilities, fleets and the purchase of renewable energy, credible, high-quality forest carbon offsets offer additional opportunities for companies like Staples to reduce the impacts to climate change of their operations and supply chains,” said Mark F Buckley, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Staples Inc. “The ability to conserve forests while also creating future FSC-certified wood supply for products that we depend upon is a win for Staples, a win for our customers and a win for the planet.”
As the largest source of forest products in the US, the logging of Southern forests has long been a revenue mainstay for landowners and lumber and paper companies. But the forests’ ecological assets, which have had no corresponding market value, have often suffered. Considered the world’s most bio-diverse temperate forests, the region has lost critical habitat through unsustainable forestry practices. With the passage of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, the door opened for the development of forest carbon as a sellable asset. Increasingly, companies are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions through investments in climate change solutions, Carbon Canopy projects not only meet the high forest management standards of the FSC, but also the rigorous forest carbon accounting standards adopted by the Air Resources Board of the State of California.
“We’re excited about our role as one of the first partners to purchase offsets from these projects,” said Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability at Interface. “We’ve watched the project evolve from concept to working model and are excited about the prospect of Carbon Canopy to provide a high quality offset that will allow us to expand our carbon neutral product offerings.”
The Carbon Canopy was initiated in 2007 by Staples and Dogwood Alliance who teamed up with other conservation groups, wood products companies and landowners to protect Southern forests, combat climate change and develop sources of paper and wood products certified to the high standards of the FSC, globally recognized as the gold standard in forest certification.
“As a partner in the Carbon Canopy initiative, Domtar is proud to support this innovative approach to expanded FSC forest management certification and enhanced return to landowners. We congratulate Dogwood Alliance, Staples and other key partners for their commitment to unlocking the value of forests,’’ said Paige Goff, Domtar’s Vice President of Sustainability and Business Communications.
The Carbon Canopy partners include: Staples, Columbia Forest Products, Domtar, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Interface, Inc., The Forestland Group, Rainforest Alliance, Pacific Forest Trust, the National Woodland Owners Association, FSCUS, and Forest Stewards.
About Dogwood Alliance
Dogwood Alliance is increasing protection for millions of acres of Southern forests by transforming the way corporations, landowners and communities value them for their climate, wildlife and water benefits. Dogwood Alliance has revolutionized the environmental practices of some of the world’s largest corporations. For more information on Dogwood or the Carbon Canopy Project, please visit dogwoodalliance.org.