Softwood Group, Agriculture Sign Memorandum

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The Softwood Lumber Board has signed a memorandum of understanding that builds on its relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grow demand for wood products as natural climate solutions. The organizations will jointly explore and coordinate additional market development, research, technological advances, and other activities to expand the use of wood in the built environment.

“Since signing the original MOU in 2015, the SLB and USDA have proudly worked together on many notable initiatives to promote and grow markets for softwood lumber in residential, commercial, and multifamily construction. We look forward to continued collaboration and cooperation for the benefit of the entire softwood lumber industry,” explained Caroline Dauzat, owner of Rex Lumber and SLB board chair.

“Together, we’re working to accelerate the adoption of innovative wood building system solutions through strategic investments and partnerships in training and support of educational opportunities for construction professionals, sawmills in regions that have lost infrastructure, carbon and climate change resources, and the continued joint funding of WoodWorks.”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called the new memorandum “another step as we work together to create and support markets for advancing wood products as carbon solutions for commercial buildings and resilient forests.”

Through increased partnerships and co-funding of joint initiatives, the SLB and USDA will achieve shared goals and objectives and deliver them at a rate that is more efficient and effective than working separately. Key initiatives include:

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• Promoting carbon-sequestering wood as a means to mitigate climate change through responsible material selection.
• Creating events to expand connections with large corporations who can use wood products to meet their sustainability goals.
• Exploring strategies and connections to sawmill investment for locations that have lost infrastructure.

“Transforming buildings from carbon emitters to carbon sinks by incorporating sustainably harvested and produced wood products from public and private timberlands benefits the environment and the economy more effectively than many other climate solutions currently available,” said Cees de Jager, SLB President and CEO. “This MOU symbolizes the positive impact that industry and government can have when they align on a common ambition.”

Since 2014, the SLB and its funded programs have achieved a carbon savings of 20.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of taking 4.3 million cars off the road for a year.