The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) offered their original Wood Trade Compliance Training and Due Diligence Tools (WTC) across the country in 2016 and 2017, with nearly 100 different companies participating. The more than 250 attendees came from companies ranging from well known big box stores to 1-2 person organizations; from manufacturing and trading companies; as well as from law firms, service providers, ENGOs and even the government. The course provides an outline of compliance issues ranging from Lacey to CARB, to the FCPA, CITES, Forced Labor, the SDN list, and much more.
If you don’t recognize all those issues, you might want to look at taking the class this year…
Some companies sent two or three or ten of their employees. In some classes, an entire table consisted of members of one company. Those tables often found themselves getting very specific during some of the discussions and exercises, talking together about how to immediately apply some of the ideas to their own organization. They got one great benefit from the class. On the other hand, other companies took the strategy of splitting up people, either sending different people to different classes or even splitting up staff at the same class so they talked to as many people as possible, sharing ideas.
All the IWPA courses were created with a tremendous amount of industry volunteer input. We’ve had dozens of people review drafts and provide ideas and support or sample material. Companies large and small—doing business in China; manufacturing in the US; sourcing out of South America and purchasing or making everything from decking to flooring to cabinets to plywood all provided input.
Currently the original full day class has been scheduled for twice this year—this February in Houston and this August in Atlanta. These classes will be followed by some of the new modules developed.
The first new course, Audits for the Wood Trade Professional, will debut in Houston in February. This class is designed to look at conducting different types of audits—both in terms of material and format. As an example, material topics would include looking at Lacey and CARB and social issues, while exploring both site and “desk” formats. The course will also be repeated in June and in August. To be clear, you won’t walk out of the class with a template, but you will be much better prepared to design and conduct audits of your own—as well as to know more about preparing for one being conducted on your own company. I have to say that it has been a very interesting process getting ideas from some big companies who, shall we say, REALLY know about audits. The topic seems simple in many ways, but hopefully the half day class will help you avoid some potential pitfalls.
The second new course has the long title of Key Components of Wood and Forestry Regulatory Schemes but we just call it Forestry Schemes. Topics to be covered include considering the impact of private and public ownership from a due care perspective and differences between various certification programs. The course will be offered twice this year, in June and August. This is also a half day class.
The third new course, Advanced Wood Trade Compliance, digs a bit deeper into concepts of due care in the wood industry. It is a full day course and will be offered in June and August both. If you haven’t taken the introductory course yet, you may not be ready for this—but if you want to get it all at once, Atlanta in August will be Wood Trade Compliance Week with all four courses being offered in one big block.
Even if you don’t make these classes, the IWPA has provided a page of wonderful resources. Bookmark this site.
When I became Metropolitan’s Environmental Compliance Officer in 2008, I was, to the best of my knowledge, the first in the flooring industry to hold that position. I now attend classes where there are a half dozen or more full or part time Compliance Officers in the room. It’s slowly becoming a recognized field in the wood industry and even if you don’t feel you need a full time staffer in that position, you do need to know the ins and outs of basic compliance. So sign up for a class now!