Sourcing sustainable and responsibly harvested timber for our fresh sawn products is a fundamental part of our ethos at Pioneer Millworks, including our domestic Larch Shou Sugi Ban and Siding & Shiplap options.
We caught up with Michele Caryl our long-time Acquisitions Manager to talk about how we source our fresh sawn Larch from well managed PEFC certified forests in the Pacific Northwest and why that is important to us.
Q: Where does our fresh sawn Larch come from?
A: Pioneer Millworks Larch is sourced domestically in the Pacific Northwest from sustainably managed forests from a supplier that has been practicing conscientious forest stewardship since 1939. All of the Larch we use in our products is milled from PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) Larch lumber or boards, which is similar to the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certification that our other fresh-sawn options carry, such as Douglas fir.
Our Larch supplier has a commitment to sustainability that goes far beyond just the PEFC certification though, it’s part of the way the company, which is now in this fourth generation, has managed its forest for decades, long before such certifications existed.
Q: Why is Pioneer Millworks Larch sourced from PEFC Certified forests and not FSC® Certified forests?
A: As far as we know, there is no FSC® certified Larch being harvested in North America at this time in the quantities we need. There are forestry companies in Europe, usually in Eastern Europe (primarily Russia), who do have FSC® Certified Larch, but it is not available domestically or conflict free from Europe.
Q: What is the difference between PEFC and FSC®?
A: There is no substantial difference between PEFC and FSC® Certifications in terms of the processes that have to be followed, the chain of custody requirements, or the responsible business practices that must be maintained to attain the certification. In fact, the two are related, with PEFC arising out of the needs of smaller to mid-sized forests that were overlooked by FSC® in the 1990’s. PEFC started in Europe and was initially called the Pan-European Forest Certification Council, and today the PEFC remains more widely known in Europe than it is in the United States, but it is an international standard for responsible forestry, just like FSC®.
Q: Why is it important to Pioneer Millworks to source fresh sawn timber from certified forests?
A: Sourcing our fresh sawn wood from responsibly managed forests that are conscientious in their harvesting, and treat their workers and local communities equitably, is fundamental to what Pioneer Millworks is all about. As a triple bottom line company, placing equal emphasis on People, Planet, and Prosperity, it is part of our ethos, and even beyond that, it’s just the right thing to do.
We intentionally take the extra steps to seek out suppliers that align with our ethos, because it is meaningful to us as a company and to the architects, designers, and homeowners that buy our products. Our customers have come to trust that our fresh sawn products are not contributing to clear cutting or environmental harm to our forests, and these certifications help to back that up.
Michele is a veteran of the days when Pioneer Millworks was a tiny operation in Shortsville, NY. Often out of the office digging through a ramshackle building talking the value of timbers with partners and clients, Michele's most happy spending her time with her husband, two beautiful daughters, her guitar riffing son Evan, and her grandchildren.
See all our Larch options:
Learn more about PEFC and FSC®: