The Softwood Lumber Board has signed a memorandum of understanding that builds on its relationship with the United States Department of Agriculture 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.
“Since signing the original Memorandum of Understanding in 2015, SLB and USDA have proudly worked together on many notable initiatives to promote and grow softwood lumber markets in residential, commercial and multi-family construction. . We look forward to continuing our collaboration and cooperation for the benefit of the entire softwood lumber industry,” explained Caroline Dauzat, owner of Rex Lumber and chair of the board of directors of SLB. “Together, we are working to accelerate the adoption of innovative wood building system solutions through strategic investments and partnerships in training and supporting educational opportunities for construction professionals, sawmills in the regions who have lost infrastructure, carbon and climate change resources, and continued co-funding of WoodWorks.
“For many years now, the 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 as carbon solutions for commercial buildings and resilient forests,” said Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.
Through increased partnerships and co-funding of joint initiatives, SLB and USDA will achieve common goals and objectives and achieve them at a more effective and efficient pace than working separately. Key initiatives to accelerate the adoption of innovative wood building solutions include:
- Continued joint funding of WoodWorks, a free provider of education 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 to forest management and wood construction.
- Create events to expand connections with large companies that can use wood products to achieve their sustainability goals.
- Support academic 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 owners by removing or eliminating market barriers to the use of wood products in new market segments.
- Explore strategies and links to sawmill investments for locations that have lost infrastructure.
“Transforming buildings from carbon emitters to carbon sinks by incorporating wood products harvested and produced sustainably from public and private forest lands benefits the environment and the economy more effectively than many other climate solutions. currently available. This MOU symbolizes the positive impact that industry and government can have when they align on a common ambition and the strategy to achieve it,” said Cees de Jager, President and CEO from the management of SLB.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on September 14, 2021, at a quarterly meeting of the board of directors of WoodWorks, an organization that SLB and USDA jointly fund. By supporting programs like WoodWorks, the SLB directly influences the completion of construction projects that use wood, increasing softwood lumber consumption and carbon benefits surrounding the built environment. Since 2014, SLB and its funded programs have achieved a carbon savings of 20.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of removing 4 .3 million traffic cars for one year.