Rona adopts tough new eco-standards for lumber

The Canadian home-improvement retailer has announced plans to sell only certified lumber and plywood by the end of 2010. Three major certification standards will be recognized, but Rona will give preference to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Rona, one of Canada’s largest distributors and retailers of building materials and home improvement products, will begin sourcing all of its commodity lumber from certified forests by the end of 2010. This tough new standard, unmatched by any large retailer in North America, was announced at Rona’s spring show in Toronto on Nov. 21.

The new policy applies to all spruce, pine and fir sold through Rona’s network of 700 franchise and corporate stores. Accepted certifications include the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Rona will give preference, however, to FSC-certified products, and has set a goal to have 25 percent of the commodity lumber in its stores FSC certified by 2012.

Rona unveiled several other goals that will be phased in over the next three years: • By the end of 2009, all plywood panels must come from certified forests. • By the end of 2010, 30 percent of wood products available at Rona’s corporate stores will carry a certification label. • By the end of 2011, all suppliers must provide chain-of-custody proof that traces wood products back to their forest of origin.

Based in Boucherville, Quebec, Rona operates a network of 700 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores generating more than C$6.3 billion in annual retail sales. An estimated 10 percent of that, or C$630 million, is in lumber purchases.

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