Weyerhaeuser Recognized as BEST Business for an Environmentally Sustainable Tacoma

Tacoma Distribution Center Recognized for Sustainability by Local Environmental Organization Citizens for a Healthy Bay
Oct 30, 2013 4:00 PM ET

Weyerhaeuser Sustainability

When Matt Schemp, finance and planning manager for Weyerhaeuser, asked local environmental organization Citizens for a Healthy Bay to conduct an environmental assessment at Weyerhaeuser’s Tacoma, Wash., wood products distribution center, he hoped for good news and tips on how the facility could improve its recycling and housekeeping efforts.

By the end of the tour, members of the audit team had very few recommendations. In fact, they recognized Weyerhaeuser as one of Tacoma’s BEST businesses (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tacoma). 

“I was looking for ways to save money and further shrink our environmental footprint,” says Schemp. “I heard about a group offering free assessments and asked them to visit. Turns out we’re doing pretty good.”

Established in 1990, Citizens for a Healthy Bay engages citizens in restoring and protecting Puget Sound’s Commencement Bay and surrounding habitat, working closely with businesses and agencies to reduce waste and pollution. 

Schemp and Dee Goodin, Weyerhaeuser’s Northwest area general manager, took the Citizens for a Healthy Bay staff on a tour of the 17-acre distribution center, which includes an 80,000-square-foot warehouse and 22 forklifts. The auditors found associates keen on recycling, both in the offices and in the yard. Even the used forklift oil is sold to a local machinery company to help heat its warehouses.

While the site saves energy through computer and lighting shutdowns, it’s currently undergoing a lighting survey to see if further improvements are feasible. Because stormwater runoff goes directly into the bay, the auditors were especially interested in the site’s storm drain system, which includes filters that are monitored and changed regularly.

“Our environmental compliance notebook has been instrumental in driving appropriate behaviors at our site,” says Goodin. “It’s a great how-to, hands-on manual that we've followed for a long time. Reducing our waste stream and continuously improving is ingrained in our culture.”

 “Getting this recognition is good for the site and the people who work here,” says Schemp. “We’ve also established a relationship with stakeholders who can see that our work aligns with our values.”

Learn more about Weyerhaeuser’s environmental performance in its online sustainability report