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Stars out this week to throw support behind forestry, climate change and sustainability in USA

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Stars out this week to throw support behind forestry, climate change and sustainability in USA

July 29, 2020 - 16:39
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 29, 2020 (Fastmarkets RISI) -The stars lined up this week -- to discuss forestry.

The US's largest timberland-owning company, Weyerhaeuser this week launched a new 10-yr "3 by 30" sustainability strategy that it said is to be fully integrated" into the company's day-to-day work, and to focus on "contributing to climate change solutions, helping provide sustainable homes for everyone, and helping rural communities thrive."

Weyerhaeuser said it would commit to a "companywide, science-based greenhouse gas reduction target that aligns with the goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C." It also said it would promote "mass timber and other innovative wood-building materials" and help "ensure sustainable building standards and tools include science-based assessments of wood products," and improve its "overall Giving Fund strategy."

The Weyerhaeuser report was out a day after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon threw in support for forestry and recycling from the world's largest retail/grocery company during a forestry conference session that was sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, one of the largest pulp and paper companies in North America. President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, also spoke about the forestry topic at the conference with Congressional legislators.

Talking for 10 minutes at the conference, McMillon called for "sustainable management" of resources and supported the Trillion Tree Initiative, launched in January at the World Economic Forum. The initiative aims to increase global reforestation efforts. McMillon noted the forestry supply chain through to paper and board production, telling about the huge second half of March at Walmart stores where tissue products flew off the shelves with panic buyers.

Cross-laminated in Bentonville.McMillon added that Walmart's new campus being built in Bentonville would include cross-laminated timber from British Columbia-based Structurlam Mass Timber. Walmart owns 30% of Structurlam, he said. Cross-laminated timber is viewed as a replacement for concrete and steel.

For its sustainability strategy, Weyerhaeuser CEO Devin Stockfish said: "The past couple of months have brought into even sharper focus the urgency for companies to drive positive change and influence beyond their immediate operational footprints. Our new strategy reflects our commitment to meet that challenge, from keeping our employees safe through the COVID-19 pandemic to creating a truly inclusive environment for our people."

RBC Dominican Securities analyst Paul Quinn this week lauded Weyerhaeuser's plan.

"Specifically, Weyerhaeuser aims to help position working forests and wood products in existing or new carbon offset markets, as well as the 'just-developing' carbon removals accounting initiatives. In our view, monetizing the value of carbon offsets from timberland properties could create an attractive revenue stream in the future," Quinn told investors.

"According to Weyerhaeuser, using more mass timber products in buildings would help to decrease dependence on building materials that require fossil fuels in their production," Quinn said. "To develop mass timber markets, the company will strengthen prioritization in legislative action plans to support state code adoption, create wood construction incentives, and maintain the competitiveness of sustainably certified wood."

Further, Quinn said that in the "Timberlands segment, the company aims to identify the sustainability benefits of certain margin-improvement initiatives such as reducing transportation costs. In Wood Products, Weyerhaeuser will identify and track investment in capital projects that have sustainability benefits such as improved energy efficiency."

--bygrudder@fastmarkets.com