Forest Products Certification: The Business Customer Perspective


  • Richard P. Vlosky
  • Lucie K. Ozanne


Environmental certification, United States, business customers, wood products


While only a handful of wood products suppliers and business customers are currently involved in manufacturing or purchasing certified wood products, the potential exists for increased industry participation. Previous empirical work on environmental certification has examined the perceptions and a titudes of consumers, with few studies examining the perceptions of corporate customers. This research examines perceptions and activities associated with environmentally certified wood products for architects, building contractors, and home center retailers. Study results indicate that industrial forest product customers are not supportive of wood products certification efforts. Even when management environmental concern exists, there is a breakdown in elevating this concern to a corporate commitment or philosophy. Additionally, the federal government was consistently found to be the organization least trusted to certify forest management practices, while independent third-party certifiers were most trusted. A willingness to pay for certification was mixed, and few respondents felt that their customers would pay a premium for certified products.


Adams, J. S. 1986. An experiment on question and response bias. Pub. Opin. Quart. 20 (Fall):593-598.nAnonymous. 1992. Manufacturers groups oppose tropical woods bills. Furniture Today 16:37.nAnonymous. 1994. Certification: One response to environmentalism. Random Lengths Yard Stick. June.nAnonymous. 1995. Forest certification: An SAF study group report. J. Forestry 93(4):6-10.nAnonymous. Undated. Smart Wood Program: North American certification initiative (CUSA) summary. Rainforest Alliance, New York, NY.nBanerjee, B. 1992. Corporate environmentalism: The greening strategy. Pages 234-235 in David Craven and Peter Dickson, eds. AMA Educators' Proc., Knowledge Development in Marketing. American Marketing Assoc., Chicago, IL.nBoyd, H. W., Jr., R. Westfall, and S. F. Stasch. 1981. Marketing research text and cases. Richard D. Irwin, Homewood, IL.nBuckley, M. 1994. How serious are the European wood importers' requests for lumber certification? Presentation at Conf. Sustainable Forest Management: Current Trends, Perspectives, and Options for Lumber and Wood Manufacturers, May 3-4, Louisville, KY. Sponsored by Purdue University.nCabarle, B., R. J. Hrubes, C. Elliott, and T. Synnott. 1995. Certification accreditation: The need for credible claims. J. Forestry 93(4):12-16.nCoddington, W. 1993. Environmental marketing: Positive strategies for reaching the green consumer. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, NY.nDillman, D. 1978. Mail and telephone surveys-The total design method. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.nDonald, M. N. 1960. Implications of non-response for the interpretation of mail questionnaire data. Pub. Opin. Quart. 24(Spring):99-114.nHair, Jr., J., R. E. Anderson, and R. L. Tatham. 1992. Multivariate data analysis with readings, 3rd ed. Mac-Millan Pub. Co., New York, NY.nHansen, R. A., C. Tinney, and W. Rudelius. 1983. Industrial survey sampling. Ind. Marketing Mgmt. 12:165-169.nHochstim, J. R. 1967. A critical comparison of three strategies of collecting data from households. J. Statist. Assoc. 62(9):967-989.nMater, J. 1995. Certified forest products: Building tomorrow's market today. J. Forestry 93(4):36-37.nNational Home Center News 1994 Retailer Score-Board. 1995. National Home Center News, New York, NY.nOzanne, L. K., and R. P. Vlosky. 1995. The certification information system: A chain-of-custody framework for environmentally certified wood products. Working paper, Louisiana Forest Products Laboratory, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA.nOzanne, L. K. 1996. Willingness to pay for environmentally certified wood products: The consumer perspective. In press.nOzanne, L. K., and Paul M. Smith. 1997. Segmenting the market for environmentally certified wood products. In press.nPeterson, C. 1994. Green certification of wood. Current Issues in Forestry, Univ. Massachusetts Coop. Extension System 6(1).nRead, M. 1991. An assessment of claims of sustainab lity applied to tropical wood products and timber retailed in the UK, July 1990-January 1991. World Wide Fund for Nature. London, UK.nWaffle, R. 1994. The market realities of certificat on. Presentation at Conf. Sustainable Forest Management: Current Trends, Perspectives, and Options for Lumber and Wood Manufacturers, May 3-4, Louisville, KY. Sponsored by Purdue University.nWinterhalter, D. 1994. Consumer perceptions of forest sustainability and willingness to pay. The Woodland Steward 3(1).nWinterhalter, D., and D. Cassens. 1993. Telling the sustainable forest from the trees. Furn. Design. Mfg. (August):101-106.n






Research Contributions