Forest Stewardship Council Certifies Potlatch Management Practices
Press release from the issuing company
SPOKANE, Wash.--April 20, 2004-- Potlatch Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer L. Pendleton Siegel today announced that the company has set a precedent by becoming the first U.S.-headquartered, publicly traded forest products company to certify its forest management practices under the standards of the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Siegel said that operations on Potlatch's 668,000 acres in Idaho have been certified under FSC and that the company's Idaho lumber and plywood manufacturing operations will be certified to market FSC-certified products by the third quarter of 2004. The company is also evaluating FSC certification of its forest management practices in Minnesota (320,000 acres) and Arkansas (485,000 acres).
"We expect our FSC certification will contribute significantly to our strategy of employing third-party certification to improve earnings and add to shareholder value," Siegel said. He explained that Idaho's FSC certification will complement third-party certifications already earned in 2002 under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 systems.
"Potlatch will be in a position to benefit from what appears to be a growing trend toward preferences for certified products, including FSC-certified products, among large building products retailers, secondary manufacturers, architects, contractors and governments at all levels," Siegel stated. "The trend fits well with Potlatch's commitment to assert our leadership in forestland stewardship, and we expect to grow with it," he said. He added that third-party certification demonstrates the company's commitment publicly in ways that can benefit shareholders as well as society and the environment.
Siegel further explained that third-party certification has been instrumental in securing public and private support for revenue-producing cooperative conservation easements, including a major project in Idaho. Such projects maintain private forestland for sustainable management and public access through sale of the private owners' development rights. "We expect our FSC certification to provide additional benefits in that area by making our lands more attractive candidates for easement contributions."
The Potlatch Chief Executive also expressed his praise for the dedicated company foresters who have brought the company to this place in environmental leadership and who will implement this standard on the ground. "At the end of the day, it's the stewardship in the forest that makes the difference, and we have a forestry staff committed to making the difference," said Siegel. Siegel also extended thanks to a number of conservation organizations that have endorsed the company's decision to certify under FSC, including several organizations that participated in a public presentation of the certificate in Spokane. "We are especially indebted to the Gifford Pinchot Institute for Forest Conservation, which hosted the event and was instrumental in our FSC certification." Participants included the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Lands.
To qualify for FSC certification, Potlatch's management practices in Idaho underwent a rigorous audit by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). The findings in the audit process and Potlatch's willingness to adapt certain practices resulted in Potlatch being awarded the FSC certification.
For more information see Potlatch Corporation's web site at www.potlatchcorp.com or the web site for the Pinchot Institute for Forest Conservation at http://www.pinchot.org/.
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