The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) hosted a Wood Flooring Manufacturer’s Assembly in St. Louis at NWFA Headquarters on December 16 and 17.  More than 50 manufacturer representatives were in attendance.

One of the topics discussed was the NWFA Responsible Procurement Program (RPP).  The goal of the RPP is to harness the power of the United States wood flooring industry to promote environmentally and socially responsible forest management in the regions that supply the timber on which we all depend.

The NWFA RPP provides progressive “tiers” in which participants gradually move toward higher levels of social and environmental responsibility and performance.

 Tier 1 requires participation in the NWFA Verified Renewing Forests program – and enables use of the NWFA Verified Sourced from U.S. Renewing Forests label – for domestically sourced wood flooring products in off-product claims only. It also requires participation in the NWFA Verified Legal Origin program for imported products and enables use of the NWFA Verified Legal Import label.  Program participants have three years to progress from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

Tier 2 recognizes companies that source their wood from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests and agree to increase their overall use of FSC-certified wood during the next two years.  Importers advancing to Tier 2 are required to complete the NWFA Verified Legal Origin program for all products that require legality verification.

Tier 3 is the highest level of achievement within the NWFA RPP. It grants recognition to companies whose trade in FSC-certified products exceeds 50% of overall sales and whose non-FSC sales meet FSC Controlled Wood standards.

Speakers at the Assembly included Deb Hawkinson, Executive Director of the Hardwood Federation, who presented information about the US Lacey Act amendment prohibiting illegal logging.  Corey Brinkema, President of the Forest Stewardship Council US, presented information about the value of forest certification programs.  Neil Mendenhall, Chain of Custody Natural Resources Program Associate with Scientific Certification Systems, presented information on the credibility of third-party auditing programs for the RPP.  Walter Smith, SmartWood Program Training Manager with the Rainforest Alliance presented information about the credibility of auditing programs for imported wood.  Gary Gramp, Technical Director with the Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association, presented information about the California Air Resources Board legislation affecting VOC and formaldehyde emissions within the state of California, which take effect on January 1.  Other presentations were made by NWFA Board members Don Finkell and Neil Poland.

As a result of the meeting, 14 manufacturer members have requested licensing agreements to begin participating in the NWFA Responsible Procurement Program.