Lowe’s long-term goal is to ensure that all wood products sold in our stores originate from well-managed, non-endangered forests. We work with suppliers to encourage the maintenance of natural forests and environmentally responsible forest practices, and to increase the supply of certified wood products that we can make available to customers. Where there are proven environmental benefits, we also strive to increase the procurement of quality recycled, engineered and alternative products.
Our wood policy describes our sourcing guidelines. While the term “endangered” forest is often used interchangeably with “threatened” and “high-conservation value” forests, we consider the following characteristics to guide the application of our endangered forest policy:
- Forest types that cannot regenerate either with or without human intervention
- Forests in areas experiencing high rates of illegal logging (harvesting taking place in violation of local laws or regulations, or where traditional land rights are not yet settled)
- Forests in countries experiencing political or social unrest and where forest resources are used to fund armed conflict
- Forests where harvesting leads to the extirpation of indigenous species
Lowe’s Wood-Sourcing Database
The Lowe’s responsible wood-sourcing database actively tracks wood procurement, which we report on every other year, most recently in 2014. The database tracked more than 400 million cubic feet of wood for more than 11,500 products from 284 suppliers in 2014. North America has some of the most responsibly managed forests in the world, and since establishing our supplier database in 2003, we’ve purchased 85 percent to 94 percent of our wood from the United States and Canada. In 2014, we sourced approximately 94 percent of the wood we purchased from North America.
The wood-sourcing database allows us to monitor and enforce our wood policy with suppliers and change sourcing profiles that don’t meet our expectations. To populate the database, Lowe’s suppliers self-report where the wood was harvested, wood species, volume and if the wood has sustainable forest certifications. The information is not verified by external third parties.
Public Engagement and Conservation
In addition to responsible sourcing, we’re committed to contributing to forest-conservation efforts. As a charter member of the Boreal Business Forum, Lowe’s, along with other forest products customers, engages with provincial governments, forest products companies, environmental groups and First Nations to review and assess progress toward a broad, landscape-scale conservation plan to address the health of caribou herds in the Canadian boreal forest. In 2015 our efforts included on-site tours of active forestry operations, assessment of conservation plans and in-person meetings.
We evaluate our wood sourcing profile by tracking the country where the wood was harvested and if it has sustainable forest certifications. In 2014, 70 percent of our wood was certified for sustainable management practices, with 58 percent certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Since 2012, we increased our sales of certified wood by 2 percent. Below is a summary of our wood sourcing as of 2014.