Item Coversheet

 Item 6.

TO: Sustainability Resiliency Committee Meeting

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: July 11, 2018


Flavia Tonioli, Sustainability Manager and Carlos Markovich, Senior Planner
Item C4 AF - May 16, 2018 Commission Meeting
Commissioner Micky Steinberg
On May 16, 2018, the Mayor and City Commission referred a discussion to the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee (SRC) regarding potential policy for sustainably sourced wood. The item was sponsored by Commissioner Micky Steinberg.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), about 31% of our planet’s land area is covered by forests. However, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) states our forests are under threat, with over 32 million acres of natural forests around the world being logged illegally every year. Illegal logging occurs when timber is harvested, transported, processed, bought or sold in violation of national regulations. Illegal logging occurs due to the existing demand for timber, paper and derivative products.

The United States was the first country to ban on trade in illegally sourced wood products with the amendment of the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act, originally adopted in 1900 to ban trafficking in illegal wildlife, was amended in 2008 to include plants and plant products, such as timber and paper. However this policy is based on the premise that importing companies would ensure their supply chain meets the requirements of the Act, which is very difficult to verify in countries with different policies and enforcement capabilities.

In order to combat illegal logging, it is fundamental for local governments to develop and enforce public policies and incentives that encourage legal and sustainable forest management and transparent trade in forest products, across supply chains. In addition, it is essential for consumers to make responsible purchasing choices and shift demand for legal and sustainable forest products. There are few forest certification programs that validate forest management practices using a set of standards and assist the end user to identify wood that has been sustainability harvested throughout their supply chain.

In U.S., the most recognized voluntary programs are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Internationally, FSC and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) are the two leading voluntary sustainability standards operational in the forestry sector. These programs provide certifications on sustainable harvesting wood by auditing the supply chain, and considering if it practices fiscal responsibility, provides equity, and environmental stewardship. The average cost for certified wood tends to be 10% to 25% higher compared to the non-certified wood. According to the World Bank and WWF, every year the global market loses US$10 billion from illegal logging, with governments losing an additional $5 USD billion in revenues.

Cities and counties are becoming more aware of their potential impact on the sustainable wood harvesting supply chain, and are developing policies to encourage legal and sustainable forest management and transparent trade in forest products.

As part of their environmentally preferable purchasing policy, the City of Oakland (CA) procures wood products such as lumber that originates from forests harvested in an environmentally sustainable manner and give preference to wood products that are certified to be sustainably harvested by a comprehensive, performance-based certification system. The certification system includes independent third-party audits, with standards equivalent to, or stricter than, those of the FSC certification. In addition, the City of Oakland encourages the purchase or use of previously used or salvaged wood whenever practicable. Also, as part of their internal sustainable purchasing practices, Multnomah County (OR) requests and specifies wood products from sustainable forests that have been independently audited and verified, and are certified by FSC.

In Europe, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland adopted public procurement policies for timber, requiring public purchasers to demonstrate the timber is of legal and sustainable origin. At the local level, Barcelona (Spain) developed a Timber Policy in 2004, which requires municipal departments, districts and agencies to ensure that all wood products purchased stem from sustainable forestry. The Timber Policy specifies sustainable forest management procedures and requests the wood to be FSC certified or an equivalent certification.

In Miami Beach, there has been an increasing use of tropical hardwoods as design elements to finish walls, decks, and doors. Amongst these tropical hardwoods, Ipe wood has been highly used due to its resistance to weathering, including sea mist, termites, and sun. According to WWF and Interpol, illegal logging accounts for 50 to 90% of forestry activities in key producer tropical forests in Amazon Basin, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, presenting 15-30% of the global wood traded. Unfortunately today the supply for certified wood in some areas, like Southeast Florida, is still limited compared to the non-certified wood market. The first step would be to educate consumers about the importance of sustainably sourced wood so they start taking conscious decisions when purchasing wood and helping to shift demand to the sustainability sourced market. As the demand for certified wood increases, yard lumbers would then increase their supply to meet the market’s demand.

Developing policies that supports sustainable harvest wood, would place Miami Beach at the forefront of sustainable purchasing practices and demonstrate our commitment to mitigating the causes and effects of climate change, as well as promote sustainable development. As part of the Sustainable and Resilient Procurement Policy, the city could pursue an internal policy supporting the use of only local reclaimed and virgin lumber that practices fiscal responsibility, provides equity, and environmental stewardship. In order to verify and ensure the sustainable forest management procedures, the wood purchased would need to follow the specifications standards and be certified by SFC or SFI or PEFC. If this policy was deemed successful, in the future the city could implement a policy requiring private construction to use responsibly sourced wood. The city would then work with the lumber yards to ensure the supply would be prepared for the upcoming demand for certified wood.

The following is presented to the members of the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee for discussion and further direction. The Administration recommends that the SRC supports an internal policy for sustainability harvested wood.      

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