Woodland Owner and Brand Owner Summit 2016

January 2016

Thanks to all those who attended our summit! Read our full recap blog here and browse through our photo gallery here.


Forest Products Working Group + the American Forest Foundation present:


The Challenge

Forest ownership in the United States is diverse. More than half of the forest land in the United States is owned and managed by some 11 million private family forest owners. Of those private forest owners, 92 percent (10 million people) are classified as “family forest” owners. Family forest owners have many different objectives for owning woodlands, with timber production often lowest on their list of priorities. Family forest owners rank beauty and scenery, family heritage, and privacy as the primary reasons for owning forests. However, these are still the forests that provide wood and pulp that the marketplace absolutely depends on for paper, packaging, furniture, and construction materials.

It is also a marketplace where companies need assurance that the wood fiber in their products is sourced from Sustainable Forest Management, or SFM. Forest certification is one tool that the marketplace uses to gain assurance of SFM in wood supplies, but to date, it has not been widely adopted by family forest owners due to a variety of reasons including returns on investment, administrative complexities, and lack of general awareness. Current certified forest area in the U.S. is less than 22%, with the majority of that area state-owned forests. Among family forest owners, certification adoption in the U.S. is less than 5%.

The ongoing challenge, which the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Forest Products Working Group and the American Forest Foundation are currently partnering to address, is “How do brand owners gain assurance of SFM from wood fiber sourced from family forests?”

Meeting Overview and Goals

At this exciting event, both ends of the forest products supply chain – Fortune 500 brand owners and family forest woodland owners – will connect and take part in a dialogue to explore their respective needs and challenges relative to sustainable forest management. The dialogue will build on the Forest Products Working Group’s efforts to examine the role of forest certification to explore, in partnership with AFF, frameworks for providing assurance that wood from family woodlands is produced sustainably.

Members of the Forest Products Working Group are engaged in a project to better understand strategies for gaining assurance of SFM from wood supplied by family forests. In partnership with AFF, the FPWG is organizing open and objective dialogue for two groups that have not had the opportunity to meet exclusively one-on-one. We will bring a diverse group of woodland owners from various forest types, forest sizes, certification preferences, and forest management goals along with brand owners from diverse industry sectors to accomplish through open and transparent dialogue:

  1.  Explore and gain mutual understanding of the respective needs and challenges relative to sustainable forest management for brand owners and landowners
  2.  Begin to discuss innovative strategies that push beyond current certification models considering the value of forest certification for family forest owners

This meeting is intended exclusively for family woodland owners and brand owners. Family forest owners invited will consist of the widest possible perspectives of landowner types with a focus on the U.S. Southeast.

We look forward to seeing you in Chattanooga!


Thanks to our sponsors, Georgia Pacific, McDonald’s and Staples!