By Don Kayne
President and CEO, Canfor Corporation
Chair, Softwood Lumber Board Programs Committee
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) has been transformational for the softwood lumber industry in many ways, helping us to generate over 1 billion board feet of demand (protected volume and new consumption) in the last year alone. One oft-overlooked but key ingredient to the SLB’s success has been its ability to bring together American and Canadian companies to work together toward the common goal of expanding markets. Working under the SLB’s umbrella, it is no longer Canadians versus Americans. Rather, firms on both sides of the border— both large and small, publicly traded and private—have overcome various commercial and day-to-day challenges to unite and work together to grow markets that benefit all of us.
For its part, the SLB and its highly focused and targeted programs have responded and made good on their promises to investors. Third-party analysis shows the SLB’s portfolio of investments protected and grew markets equivalent to over 3.6 billion board feet of lumber demand since 2012. In that time, the SLB has generated $19.74 of revenue on every $1 invested. The American Wood Council is growing the evidence base that proves the viability of wood use, and is using that data to influence building standards. Think Wood uses strategic communications to promote wood’s use in non-residential construction. WoodWorks provides expert design and construction solutions that translate into more projects using more wood. Meanwhile, the Wood, Naturally campaign reaches homeowners and influencers before they buy and steers them to wood for residential uses.
Everyone involved with the SLB is committed to its mission, because we can all see how the SLB’s programs and the global trend toward sustainability create clear pathways to new opportunities and expanded markets for softwood lumber products, and a greater share of markets in relation to steel and concrete.
To fully grasp the benefits the SLB provides, I remind myself of what my company would need to do to achieve the same results. It simply would not be possible. The SLB does far more than any one industry actor could do alone.
The SLB has been a game changer for our industry and is one of the most transformational initiatives I have been a part of in my nearly four decades in the lumber business. We will soon decide whether or not to continue to invest in the SLB as our industry’s singular initiative focused on growing markets. Now is the time for all of us to take stock, examine the importance of SLB results for our own companies, and understand the impact the SLB has had already. I look forward to the SLB’s first five years being a springboard to further growth and achievement for our industry.