SEATTLE, WA -- November 23, 1999 -- Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. (NYSE:PCL) today announced the successful completion of an independent, third-party audit of its 3.3 million acres of timberland under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program (SFI). The audit, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that Plum Creek met the SFI's twelve objectives in all material respects, noting numerous good management practices.
"We are very pleased that this rigorous examination of our forest practices corroborates Plum Creek's commitment to the highest level of environmentally responsible forest management," said Michael J. Covey, Plum Creek Vice President of Resources. "Plum Creek is the first timber company to have all of its forestry operations audited by an independent third party under the SFI program." While the audit did not identify any areas of significant non-conformance, it did point out areas in which the Company could make further improvements, which according to Covey, "will provide the basis for Plum Creek's continuous improvement in its future management practices."
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative program was developed in 1994 by the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA). The program is a comprehensive system of principles, objectives and performance measures that integrates the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality. An independent Expert Review Panel made up of representatives from the environmental, professional, conservation, academic and public sectors, reviews the SFI program annually. In 1998, the AF&PA added a voluntary, independent third party verification process to the SFI program. The total amount of timberlands enrolled in the SFI program has reached 57.1 million acres nationwide.
As part of the SFI independent third party verification process, Plum Creek asked PricewaterhouseCoopers, an internationally recognized audit and consulting firm, to examine its timberlands for compliance with SFI. In each of Plum Creek's four regions, PricewaterhouseCoopers assembled a team of auditors, including experts in the fields of biology, silviculture, soils, and forest management. The audit teams visited a sample of selected forest management sites across all 3.3 million acres of Plum Creek's timberland. The auditors reviewed timber harvest practices, road construction, reforestation, streamside management, and many other activities. Their conclusion: Plum Creek has met all of the twelve stated objectives of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program.
Jack Ward Thomas, a member of the SFI Expert Review Panel, and former Chief of the United States Forest Service, applauded Plum Creek's achievement. "Plum Creek's stewardship of its resources and good forest practices are commendable," said Thomas, the University of Montana's Boone and Crockett Chair. "With the leadership of progressive companies like Plum Creek, the entire industry has made great strides in recent years. The SFI program has provided the framework for consistent improvement in sustainable forest practices in the United States."
"Plum Creek intends to continue annual independent forestry audits," noted Plum Creek's Covey. "We believe all of our vital constituencies will recognize the value of this commitment. Increasingly, our major customers and shareholders are looking to do business with or invest in those companies who demonstrate environmental responsibility."
Plum Creek is one of the largest timberland owners in the nation with timberlands and mills located in the Northwest, Southern and Northeastern United States.