Enviva unveils Track & Trace forestry data

Wood pellet giant Enviva has released its latest proprietary Track & Trace forestry data, highlighting the company’s ongoing commitment to a sustainable and transparent supply chain.

These data are another key tool for measuring and demonstrating Enviva’s sustainability practices throughout the Southeastern US.

“We are committed to keeping forests healthy and growing, while producing a cleaner energy alternative to fossil fuels,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva. “Track & Trace is fundamental to that commitment, and the latest data clearly demonstrates how our forestry practices continue to have a positive effect on Southeastern forests.”

Track & Trace is a proprietary system that enables Enviva to monitor every truckload of wood the company procures from the forest throughout the entire supply chain process.

According to Enviva, this technology provides detailed insights into the wood’s unique characteristics – including origination – enabling the company to continue to refine its sustainable sourcing policies.

The latest Track & Trace data shows that Enviva sourced wood from nearly 1200 working forest harvests in 83 counties in five Southern states over a six-month period ending in March 2017.

The forests in the Southeast continue to grow and thrive, with the total amount of forested land in Enviva’s primary supply area increasing by 320,842 acres since 2011, according to the US Forest Service. Inventory on that land has grown by 10% during that time period, and continues to increase as forests grow at a faster rate than they are harvested.

Other findings include:

  • Approximately 38% of Enviva’s wood came from pine and hardwood mixed forests, 29% from Southern yellow pine forests and five percent from upland hardwood forests. The wood sourced by Enviva consists of undersized or “understory” wood that was removed as part of a larger harvest; tops and limbs; brush; and “thinnings” that were removed to make additional room for planted pines to grow.
  • Approximately 23% was sawdust, shavings or residuals from wood product manufacturing.
  • Four percent came from working bottomland hardwood forests, also consisting of undersized or “understory” wood; and tops and limbs.
  • Less than one percent came from arboricultural sources, such as landscaping and urban tree maintenance.
  • Wood fibre harvested on these tracts came from trees that were an average of 36 years old.

Low-quality materials

Enviva makes pellets using low-grade wood from Southern working forests. Enviva does not use high-quality wood that would otherwise be milled into furniture or construction materials, but procures only low-quality materials such as pulpwood and “leftovers,” including undersized or crooked trees, limbs, tops, wood chips and sawdust.  

Additionally, Enviva does not source wood from independently identified bottomland forest ecosystems that demonstrate high conservation value attributes, or from any forest where the landowner plans to convert to a non-forest use.

Before selling wood to Enviva, a supplier must provide detailed data on the specific forest tract being considered for harvest, including each individual tract’s precise geographic location, acreage, forest type, species mix, age and the share of wood from each harvest that goes to Enviva versus other consumers. Enviva does not accept any wood from a harvest without this information, and Enviva records the data and verifies the accuracy of its procedures through third-party audits.

“The Track and Trace system helps us to finely tune the science applied to forestry practices,” said Jennifer C. Jenkins, Ph.D., chief sustainability officer at Enviva. “The data we collect about our sourcing allows us to confirm that we are buying wood that is consistent with the value we place on forest stewardship. Our goal, as always, is to contribute to the health of the working forest landscape.”

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