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Q&A Âť

allowed us to build trusting relationships with all of our stakeholders, from our employees and our suppliers, to our local communities and all the folks who support our supply chain, to customers, and regulators overseas. The industry is maturing, and we’re helping to set the standard for safety, sustainability, quality, efficiency and reliability. Has Enviva’s Track and Trace program and its sustainability policies helped your company market its products in Europe? How? Absolutely. Our customers depend upon us to deliver a consistent and sustainable product, as well as to contribute to the health of forest lands. This starts with thoroughly understanding our supply chain and, to do so, we launched the Track & Trace program. Track & Trace is a proprietary and innovative system that quite literally tracks and traces every truckload of wood procured from the forest or sawmill back to its source. It provides a detailed, tract-level understanding of the characteristics of the wood. We know the precise condition of the forest, the location of the harvest site, who owns the land, the type of forest, how it was harvested, the number of years since the last harvest, the number of acres harvested and the percentage of the total harvested volume for each tract. This allows us to make informed sourcing and procurement decisions and to share the information publicly. Transparency is critical to building trust—we are consistently reviewing and improving our practices and we are happy to engage with stakeholders to continue to improve and share information about our sourcing systems. Our Track & Trace data is a pillar of our commitment to transparency and an important element of Enviva’s Responsible Wood Supply Program. As a major player in the wood pellet industry, can you discuss what the main challenges have been? We’re in what I would call a “juvenile� industry and we have had to work through many engineering challenges without the benefit of a century of best practices to

fall back on. It’s taken a lot of perseverance and problem-solving. I’m very proud of our culture of continuous improvement that has allowed us to continue to grow the production capacity at each plant, and make substantial improvements in quality while maintaining a relentless prioritization of safety. Another challenge has been building a reliable and scalable supply chain that connects landowners in the Southeast U.S. to customers around the world. This involved all the normal logistical challenges of moving goods, but also doing so with the lowest possible energy footprint, and developing a comprehensive program of education, certification, and transparency to ensure that all the wood fiber we purchase comes from sustainably managed forests. The last thing I’ll mention is more of an opportunity than a challenge. As the company and industry grow, we have a stronger voice to tell what has sometimes been seen as a complex story. We have a chance to educate the public about the science our industry is built on. Biomass produced sustainably in Southeast U.S. is playing an increasingly important role in improving the environmental profile of energy generation and in providing economic benefits to communities. It’s a powerful story about the carbon benefits of replacing coal with biomass, and about the positive relationship between the rates of forest harvest and forest regrowth. Author: Patrick C. Miller Staff Writer, Pellet Mill Magazine pmiller@bbiinternational.com 701-738-4923

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 | PELLET MILL MAGAZINE 23

2018 January/February Pellet Mill Magazine  

The European Production & Consumption issue

2018 January/February Pellet Mill Magazine  

The European Production & Consumption issue