Folks, I'm going to interrupt our review of recycling in the United States to stick in a post on a timely topic-in fact, a time-sensitive topic.

The Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association (HPVA) has created a proposed ANSI standard for legality due diligence. Prompted originally by the Lacey Act legislation, they are now hoping it will serve to assist companies selling into the EU, Australia, Japan and other countries with active or pending legality requirements. They introduce the standard as follows:

This standard is intended to assist companies in establishing a quality controlled system to significantly reduce the risk of illegal timber and wood products entering their supply chain and to demonstrate the level of due diligence in controlling associated risk. This Standard covers importing, exporting, and interstate commerce of timber and wood products with a North American focus and could have international implications for timber in international commerce. This Standard is not a chain-of-custody scheme, a legal verification system or sustainability certification, and does not constitute legal advice for due diligence compliance or guarantee legality of wood products.

The standard is currently in its public comment phase, and the National Wood Flooring Association is one of many organizations providing feedback. Individuals and independent companies may also offer their comments on the guidelines. If any NWFA member wants to receive a copy to review, email me here and I'll send it out to them. Comments are to be emailed before June 24 to both psa@ansi.org and khowlett@hpva.org with the Standard's reference number in the subject: BSR/HPVA LTDD 1.0-201x.

Note that an ANSI standard is a "Big Deal" issue. It is something that often is put into government contracts or architectural specifications for big projects. It might become terms of a contract. Even though this is voluntary, this could be a standard that you'll be expected to follow if you want certain business.

In my personal opinion, this standard is very confusing and would be nearly impossible for most companies (particularly small- and medium-sized companies) to follow. I appreciate the efforts that the HPVA and other members of the development group have made to try to provide the industry with a guide, but I have a number of very specific concerns about it. So I would encourage you to read it for yourselves. See if it something that would help your business and see if it something you could put into action at your own company. If you like it, let them know. If you don't, tell them why so they can make it better. This is going to potentially impact on your business's future-how you buy and how you sell, so please, get a copy and take a look!

(And back to fun facts about recycling next week…)

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")