Delivering Responsibly Sourced CLT


We’re excited to share that Katerra’s cross-laminated timber (CLT) factory in Spokane Valley, Wash. has received Chain of Custody (CoC) certification under three major certification programs: Sustainable Forestry Initiative? (SFI?), Forest Stewardship Council? (FSC?), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

There is growing recognition that we need to change the way we build to reduce global emissions. Mass timber sourced from well-managed forests is widely regarded as a natural climate solution to lowering the carbon footprint of buildings. We sat down with Craig Curtis, chief architect for Katerra, to learn more about what CoC means in the context of mass timber, and why it is important.

Craig Curtis, Chief Architect, Katerra

What does Chain of Custody certification mean?

CoC certification traces the path of wood from certified forests through the supply chain to the final product. In our case, we worked with third-party certifier SCS Global Services to verify that we source lumber from well-managed forests that adhere to SFI, FSC, and PEFC requirements. Because there is more than one forest certification framework, which can vary based on forest types and forest management practices, we sought the certifications most applicable to where we source wood and our customers’ needs.

Why is it important?

Third-party verified traceability for forest products is an important requirement for building projects constructed to green building standards such as LEED and the Living Building Challenge. Developers and architects follow these standards to create more sustainable structures. By offering the option of SFI, FSC, and PEFC certifications, our clients can more easily reach their own sustainability goals and requirements across our turn-key building products and material-only sales. 

Katerra’s CLT Factory in Spokane Valley, Washington

What are some of the other benefits of certification that people might not be aware of?

People are increasingly seeing forests as a very important tool in addressing broader sustainability challenges. For example, a certified forest captures carbon at rapid rates, therefore helping to mitigate climate change. A certified forest is also a boon for biodiversity. One of the advantages of SFI, for example, is a requirement to support conservation research in forests. That helps us, and anyone who uses our products, contribute to addressing climate change, maintain and conserve biodiversity, and help keep water sources in forests clean and safe.

“That helps us, and anyone who uses our products, contribute to addressing climate change, maintain and conserve biodiversity, and help keep water sources in forests clean and safe.”

What is Katerra’s commitment to sustainability?

Our goal is to deliver buildings with improved environmental performance and a reduced carbon footprint without adding costs. Because we can control the entire end-to-end building process, we are uniquely positioned to understand and influence the sustainability of our buildings. We are committed to sourcing environmentally-responsible forest products, and this extends to our manufacture of CLT where we source 100 percent of our lumber from well-managed forests.

What’s on the horizon for Katerra CLT?

We have a growing portfolio of CLT projects across building typologies and geographies and we’re nearing completion on some of our first CLT projects, including the Catalyst Building and the Postmark. We’re also continuing to expand our CLT product offering to further customize our mass timber services and products to meet the unique needs of our clients. We look forward to sharing more details about these efforts in the future. Stay tuned!

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