The National Wood Flooring Association has formed the Forest Stewardship Council Procurement Group, with the aim of reviewing and developing systems for private landowners who want to adopt FSC certification.

According to Anita Howard, communications director for NWFA, approximately 270 million acres of U.S. forests are owned by small landowners, but only 2.5 million acres (less than 1 percent) are FSC-certified. "The Procurement Group is trying to combine landowners into a larger group, and remove some of the barriers of certification," Howard said.

The NWFA's FSC Procurement Group is spearheaded by a steering committee that includes manufacturers and industry groups both inside and outside of flooring. Members include: Don Finkell, Anderson Hardwood Floors (chair); Neil Poland, Mullican Flooring (vice-chair); Ed Korczak, NWFA; Lewis Fix, Domtar; Jason Grant, NWFA advisor; Ian Hanna, FSC Family Forests Alliance and FSC-US; Robert Hrubes and Dave Wager, Scientific Certification Systems; Linda Kramme, World Wildlife Fund-US; Fran Price, the Nature Conservancy; Eric Smith, Kapstone Paper; Karen Steer, Tropical Forest Trust and FSC-US; and Lisa Stocker, Rainforest Alliance/TREES program.

The FSC Procurement Group was formed as part of the NWFA’s Responsible Procurement Program, which recognizes wood flooring companies that work to sustain the nation’s forests. The voluntary program offers three tiers of increasing participation and associated certification.

Howard noted that Anderson has become the first certified manufacturer, earning both Tier 1 and Tier 2 certification under the program. Mullican is also set to become certified after its audit is completed. "We also have about half a dozen interested parties waiting for their audits to begin, and about half a dozen who have expressed interest in participating," Howard added.

The program is supported by the Forest Stewardship Council-US and the FSC Family Forests Alliance, which recognize the NWFA RPP as "a valid incremental approach toward socially and environmentally responsible forestry," according to the FSC.