Test & Measurement
Enviva tracks wood supply with new program
By P&PC Staff
By P&PC Staff
Jan. 19, 2017 – Enviva Holdings, a producer of wood pellets, has released the first data from its Track & Trace (T&T) program. T&T is a proprietary system that enables Enviva to track every truckload of wood the company procures from the forest back to its source, providing a detailed understanding of the characteristics of the wood the company uses.
“Enviva’s sustainably produced wood pellets provide a cleaner energy alternative to fossil fuels, allowing electric utilities to replace coal and reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of energy generation while providing uninterrupted and dispatchable renewable energy that is there when customers need it,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva. “With our Track & Trace program, Enviva maintains unprecedented data on our wood supply chain, driving sustainable procurement activities and helping us demonstrate and verify our commitment to forest sustainability while creating jobs and supporting economic growth in the American Southeast.”
Enviva makes pellets using low-grade wood from Southern working forests, such as pulpwood and “leftovers,” including undersized or crooked trees, limbs, tops, wood chips and sawdust. As an additional component of its commitment to sustainable sourcing, Enviva says it 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 nonforest use.
The T&T information available to the public through a set of interactive maps.
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 says it does not accept any wood from a harvest without this information, and the company records the data and verifies the accuracy of its procedures through third-party audits.
Initial T&T findings
During the first half of 2016, Enviva’s wood came from these sources:
• About 72 per cent came from mixed pine and hardwood forests (43 per cent), Southern yellow pine forests (25 per cent) and upland hardwood forests (4 per cent). This wood 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.
• About 25 per cent was sawdust, shavings or residuals from wood product manufacturing.
• About 3 per cent came from working bottomland hardwood forests, made up of undersized or “understory” wood that was removed as part of a larger harvest; tops and limbs; brush; and “thinnings.”
• Less than 1 per cent came from landscaping or urban tree maintenance projects.
“Research shows that sustainably sourced and produced wood pellets can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to coal,” said Jennifer C. Jenkins, vice president and chief sustainability officer, Enviva. “Enviva is providing transparency into our sourcing process so that policymakers and other stakeholders can investigate for themselves the responsible wood supply approach that Enviva is taking to ensure the positive environmental impact of our wood pellets.”
“By implementing such a robust tracking program for wood from the forest, and by providing real insight into their sourcing practices to the public, Enviva has taken the lead in supply chain transparency for the forest products industry,” added Scott Poynton, founder of The Forest Trust (TFT), a nonprofit organization that partners with businesses to transform raw material supply chains to protect forests and communities.