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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable materials

Congressman recognizes North Cal Wood Products for sustainability efforts

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Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) has presented North Cal Wood Products of Ukiah, California with his Sustainable North Coast Certificate in recognition of its dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Since 1986, North Cal has engaged in sustainable business practices, reclaiming and re-purposing lumber and supplying sustainably-harvested timber products, the Ukiah Daily Journal reports.

“North Cal is leading the field in sustainable business practices and should be applauded for their dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” Huffman said. “North Cal’s culture of innovation and its commitment to providing living wage jobs promotes support for both the environment and its human caretakers. I thank them for their leadership and positive work.”

“I am appreciative of fact that Congressman Huffman took the time to recognize and appreciate that some of us in the building world are trying to recycle and re-use things that would end up in the landfill and just go to waste,” said Frank Vranken, owner, North Cal Wood Products.

The company has reclaimed and remanufactured millions of board feet of lumber, recycling up to 90 percent of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. North Cal works with designers, architects and builders to provide reclaimed products to a wide range of commercial and residential projects, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

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December 1, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Steelcase looks beyond traditional panel products

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Two Steelcase executives discussed how sustainability can be used as a lens for various initiatives and goals, specifically around wood-based materials, and how research and supplier partnerships assist with innovating around the process and commodity of wood-based materials.

Alicia Crawford, materials chemistry specialist, and Sharon Tracy, principal researcher, materials science, discussed these issues at the International Wood/Fiber-based Panels Conference 2015.

Crawford said that Steelcase buys mostly M3 particleboard, for use in products for corporate, health care and education markets. Steelcase has a wood manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids.


Steelcase is seeking to innovate outside of product development, Crawford said, which allows greater creativity. She said that Steelcase is seeing more regulations and increasing specifications from customers. Customers are becoming more educated about what they want.

Tracy described the innovation process at Steelcase, and how materials development can be done ahead of the product development timeline. The company wants to know what it can learn from suppliers.

“Sustainability is our basic lens…for innovation,” Tracy said. The company is looking at the chemistry of the product itself as well as the energy required to make the product.

Steelcase is looking at alternatives to urea formaldehyde, since some customers don’t want any in their panels.

In summary, there is market demand for sustainability, and customers are showing their interest in what is in the product. Steelcase is designing new products with well-being and sustainability in mind, and is exploring new materials to meet custom demand for sustainable materials and products.

And Steelcase is looking beyond traditional particleboard and MDF panels for future products.

The International Wood/Fiber-based Panels Conference 2015 addressed a wide range of issues, including the market for MDF panels, quality concerns, UV finishing. The first-ever conference was held at Rosemont, Illinois, near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The conference was organized by Alexander Watson Associates,, and MDF Yearbook.

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November 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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New standard for tracing wood sustainability is in development

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is developing a new standard which will allow the consumer to trace wood to well-managed forests, or ill-managed forests.

Wood is one of the world’s most precious resources and there is increasing consumer demand to know it comes from responsibly raised forests.

Illegal logging and deforestation have devastating effects on our planet, like destroying the ecology and increasing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing communities. As consumer awareness grows, so too does the demand for reliable evidence that wood-based products are derived from sustainably managed forests.

ISO’s upcoming standard for the traceability of wood products, ISO 38001, has now reached the first consultation phase, where ISO members involved in its development have four months to form a national position on the draft and comment on it.

“ISO 38001 will not only demonstrate that the raw material originates from well-managed forests, but that the final product can also be tracked through its various stages of production,” said Dr. Jorge E.R. Cajazeira, chair of the ISO committee leading the standard. “This can go towards encouraging the use of traceable wood and even preventing illegally sourced wood from getting into the supply chain.”

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July 10, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Columbia Forest Products receives leadership award

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Columbia Forest Products (

) has been named a winner of the FSC Leadership Award in the Forest Stewardship Council U.S.’s Conservation Champions for 2014. The award was presented to Columbia Forest Products at an event held Oct. 23, 2014 at Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans.

In being named for this award, Columbia Forest Products was cited for its leadership in the building materials manufacturing sector. The FSC U.S. Leadership Award selection committee unanimously agreed that the company’s dedication to producing vast quantities of FSC-certified wood products, and its FSC-centric education and marketing, exhibited compelling leadership in the FSC system and the green building products industry segment.

The 2014 FSC Leadership Awards were bestowed on eight commercial companies, one nonprofit organization and two individuals. In addition to Columbia Forest Products, company recipients included Domtar, Kimberly-Clark, Martin Guitar, RoyOMartin, Scholastic, Sterritt Lumber and Sustainable Northwest Wood.

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November 26, 2014 at 7:00 am

IWPA launches sustainable wood products trade initiative with Burma

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The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) ( launched a responsible trade initiative with Burma. The initiative is connected to the work of IWPA and IWPA members, who are promoting forest management reform in Burma and are establishing direct trade with Myanmar under a license recently issued to IWPA by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The IWPA Burma Responsible Trade Initiative is designed to allow U.S. wood traders to work directly with Myanmar industry and government agencies involved in the timber trade. The initiative is only available to IWPA members, who are covered under the Treasury Department license.

“IWPA’s goal is to be a positive force in Burma by encouraging the development of independent legality verification and sustainable management of Burma’s forest resources,” said Cindy Squires, Esq. executive director of the IWPA. “Currently, logging legality verification programs are in their infancy in Burma, and our hope is that by launching direct trade with Myanmar we can provide critical market support for the establishment of such programs.”

IWPA members participating in the initiative have committed to encourage the Myanmar timber industry and government to put reforms into place that seek to ensure that logs are harvested in Burma in a sustainable manner and in compliance with Burmese law.

U.S. importers operating under the new license will be encouraging the mills supplying product to U.S. importers to work toward independent legality verification. IWPA will be working with counterparts in the European Union and Australia via the Global Timber Forum to assist and encourage Myanmar to put into place such reforms.

As part of this initiative, IWPA and its members will also be promoting trade in lesser-known species to take pressure off of popular species.

Written by cabinettrends

August 11, 2014 at 7:00 am

Office furniture supply chain moving toward green chemistry

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Sustainability programs are being implemented in West Michigan and other areas, which means that now suppliers are going to need to start providing more detailed information about the chemicals that go into their products, MiBiz reports.

The programs will require those myriad companies in the supply chain to get comfortable disclosing what goes into their components and who supplies them. The practice parallels green chemistry, which is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as reducing or eliminating hazardous substances. “This means we are talking to our supply chain,” Gabe Wing, director of environmental health and safety, Herman Miller, told MiBiz.

This year’s annual GreenUp seminar, held in October by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, featured speakers from Steelcase and Herman Miller discussing their company’s push for more sustainable materials and the expectations for their supply chain around materials reporting.

Now that office furniture manufacturers are ramping up their efforts to remove harmful chemicals and other questionable materials from their products, they are aware that significant changes in government regulation will soon be coming at them.

MaryEllen Mika, supply chain manager for Steelcase Inc., told MiBiz that her company has taken up new initiatives with its component suppliers in the search for the greenest materials possible. Herman Miller sees green chemistry, as well as the broader idea of sustainability, as not just a business decision but as an ethical issue, Wing told MiBiz. “If you don’t score well enough through that process,” Wing told MiBiz, “you’re not eligible for new business.”

Written by cabinettrends

December 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

Woodland Creek Furniture opens own showroom for sustainable products

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Woodland Creek Furniture, based in Traverse City, Mich., has announced the grand opening of its new handcrafted and fine furnishings showroom in West Bloomfield, Mich., according to

Urhouzz will be the first retail location in metro Detroit for Woodland Creek, a family-owned business. For almost 12 years, the company has been devoted to crafting unique and custom furniture from local and sustainable sources. Robert Evina, president of Woodland Creek Furniture, has joined the effort toward bringing jobs back home from overseas.

Evina founded his business because he wanted to design unique, handcrafted furniture while traveling the world during his career. Throughout it, he has seen most of Eastern and Western Europe and Asia seeking unique accessories and furniture made from exotic woods.

All of the items manufactured by the company and sold at the new store will be made using only reclaimed woods and renewable materials. Over 50 percent of their products are made in the U.S., and over 30 percent are made in their Michigan workshop. The new shop invites customers to step in and meet the builder and receive a guided tour of the place. Each item is marked with a tag with the builder’s name. Evina is currently in the process of creating live online streaming of the furniture-making process, so customers can actually watch their furniture being built.

About 90 percent of the furniture that will be sold at Urhouzz will be customizable in size and finish.

“We do not want people to buy from us just because most of the furniture is made in the U.S. Rather, we want them to fall in love with our designs, our competitive pricing, our customization — the fact that it is made in America should be just icing on the cake,” said Evina. For more information, visit

Written by cabinettrends

September 17, 2013 at 7:00 am

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