Softwood Lumber Council and USDA Strive to Increase Demand for Wood Products as Climate Solutions
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that builds on the existing collaborative relationship between SLB and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As part of the MOU and effective immediately, SLB and USDA are expanding a public-private partnership that aims to increase demand for wood products as natural climate solutions. The organizations will jointly explore and coordinate the development of additional markets, research, technological advancements and other activities to expand the use of wood in the built environment.
âSince signing the original MOU in 2015, SLB and USDA have proudly collaborated on many notable initiatives to promote and develop softwood lumber markets in residential, commercial and multi-family construction. We look forward to continued collaboration and cooperation for the benefit of the entire lumber industry, âsaid Caroline Dauzat, owner of Rex Lumber and chair of the board of SLB. âTogether, we are working to accelerate the adoption of innovative wood construction system solutions through strategic investments and partnerships in training and supporting educational opportunities for construction professionals, sawmills in regions that have lost infrastructure, carbon and climate change resources, and the continued joint funding of WoodWorks.
âFor many years now, USDA and SLB have enjoyed a constructive and positive partnership and this new MOU is another step as we work together to create and sustain markets to advance wood products as a as carbon solutions for commercial buildings and resilient forests, âAgriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack said.
Through increased partnerships and the co-funding of joint initiatives, SLB and USDA will achieve common goals and objectives and achieve them at a more efficient and effective pace than working separately. The main initiatives to accelerate the adoption of innovative wood construction solutions include:
- Ongoing joint funding from WoodWorks, a free provider of training and technical support related to the design, engineering and construction of commercial and multi-family wood buildings in the United States
- Promote carbon sequestering wood as a means of mitigating climate change through responsible material selection.
- Develop initiatives to broaden the understanding of embodied carbon, life cycle assessments and the link with forest management and timber construction.
- Create events to expand links with large companies that can use wood products to achieve their sustainability goals.
- Support university and young professional training programs by highlighting the benefits of forests and forest products and how to design and build with them.
- Establish support programs for developers and property owners by removing or eliminating market barriers to the use of wood products in new market segments.
- Explore strategies and linkages to sawmill investments for locations that have lost their infrastructure.
- “Turning buildings from carbon emitters into carbon sinks by incorporating sustainably harvested and produced wood products from public and private forests benefits the environment and the economy more efficiently than many other climate solutions.” currently available. This MOU symbolizes the positive impact that industry and government can have when they align with a common ambition and the strategy to achieve it, âsaid Cees de Jager, President and CEO of SLB.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on September 14 at a quarterly board meeting of WoodWorks, an organization that SLB and USDA jointly fund. By supporting programs like WoodWorks, the SLB directly influences the completion of construction projects using wood, increasing the consumption of softwood lumber and the carbon benefits surrounding the built environment. Since 2014, SLB and its funded programs have achieved, through support for the design and construction of wooden buildings, a carbon saving of 20.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of 4, 3 million cars taken off the road for a year.