Washington, DC – The American Wood Council, National Alliance of Forest Owners and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association issued a joint statement on President Biden’s Executive Order, Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability.
“We applaud the President for harnessing the federal government to lead the way in transforming the built environment to net-zero. The materials used to construct buildings account for 27 percent of total building emissions, according to the United Nations, and lowering the carbon footprint in buildings, construction, and renovations is critical to meeting climate goals. We can significantly cut the carbon footprint of the traditional built environment by expanding wood use and substituting traditional building materials with wood products, including mass timber – leveraging the carbon benefits of our nation’s forests into our buildings, communities, and cities.
Climate change presents a direct threat to infrastructure, supply chains, financial investments, and the U.S. economy. Governmental procurement practices can mitigate those risks by creating climate-resilient infrastructure, bolstering domestic supply chains, and expanding carbon sequestration in both the built environment and in America’s working forests. Increasing procurement of wood products addresses each of these challenges.
Wood buildings lock away carbon, turning our buildings and cities from emission sources into emissions vaults. Mass timber in particular is an affordable, scalable, and realistic option for achieving our shared climate goals. The Federal Sustainability Plan appropriately recognizes the role of life cycle analysis in making choices that can reduce emissions. As more and better data is developed, LCA processes will become even more robust and enable more thoughtful, climate-smart decision making in governmental procurement.
Wood is the only carbon-storing, renewable, resilient and sustainable building material that can be grown and re-grown, and our sustainably managed forests can meet increased demand: Since 1958, U.S. forest cover has been stable and forest volume has increased by 60 percent. Modern forest management in the United States ensures some of the highest sustainability standards in the world. Private working forests support 2.5 million American jobs and U.S. wood product manufacturers directly support over 450,000 family-wage jobs, both primarily in rural communities.
The forestry and wood products sector looks forward to working with the federal government to achieving a net-zero emissions building portfolio with American-grown and manufactured wood products.”