Potlatch CEO Calls Forest Certification a Boon for Company Shareholders

Potlatch CEO Calls Forest Certification a Boon for Company Shareholders

Potlatch Corporation's 473,000 acres in Arkansas have been third-party audited and certified under the rigorous environmental, social, and economic standards of the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSCUS). In addition, the company's pine sawmill at Warren, Arkansas, has been chain-of-custody certified by FSCUS and is therefore authorized to market its southern yellow pine dimensional lumber products with the FSC label.

"FSC certification will contribute significantly to our strategy of employing third-party certification to add to shareholder value," said Potlatch chairman and CEO L. Pendleton Siegel. He explained that Arkansas' FSC certification will complement third-party certifications already earned in 2002 under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 systems.

The Arkansas certification follows by one year the precedent-setting FSC certification of Potlatch's 667,000 acres in Idaho along with chain-of-custody certification of the company's Idaho lumber and plywood manufacturing operations. FSC certification of the Potlatch Idaho forestlands resulted in the company becoming the first publicly traded integrated forest products company in the U.S to become FSC-certified.

The company is also evaluating FSC certification of its Minnesota forestlands (319,000 acres) and has received chain-of custody certification for its pulp-based manufacturing operations at Cypress Bend, Ark., and is pursuing chain-of-custody at its pulp-based manufacturing operations at Lewiston, Idaho.

"There appears to be a growing trend among large building products retailers, secondary manufacturers, architects, contractors and governments at all levels toward preferences for certified products, including FSC-certified products," Siegel stated. He noted that Arkansas Governor Huckabee had recently signed legislation that promotes the conservation of natural resources through the use of sustainable building rating systems. "This trend fits well with Potlatch's commitment to forestland stewardship, and we expect to grow with it," he said. He added that third-party certification demonstrates the company's commitment publicly in ways that can benefit shareholders as well as society and the environment.

Siegel added that the company's third-party certifications continue to be instrumental in securing public and private support for cooperative conservation easements, which produce additional value for Potlatch shareholders. Conservation easements are currently under consideration in Arkansas, with the goal of maintaining private forestland for sustainable management and public access. "We expect our FSC certification to provide additional benefits in that area by making our lands more attractive candidates for easement purchases," he said.

The World Wildlife Fund has called Potlatch "a leading member of the global business community committed to healthy business and healthy forests."