Sustainability Embedded into Timber REIT

Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) is working to ensure that its sustainability principles are embedded into its culture, according to Shari Brown, the timber REIT's director of environment and sustainability.

Brown spoke with REIT.com during the 2012 NAREIT Leader in the Light Working Forum in Dallas last month, where she emphasized the importance of sustainability within all aspects of the company.

"The core of our company is timberlands. We own over 6 million acres in the United States. Weyerhaeuser's vision is to provide and deliver superior sustainability solutions for the world," she said. "Sustainability is embedded into our DNA, so we have taken the step to really develop a holistic and very comprehensive sustainability strategy."

She said the strategy includes a number of commitments and will guide the company's performance path going toward the year 2020. Those aspects of sustainability include social, financial and environmental performance.

Most of what Weyerhaeuser already does is aligned with sustainability principles, but Brown pointed out that it's important to translate that into the new sustainability language of today. This means making sure the entire company understands those principles and have them integrated into all of its decision making processes.

Additionally Brown said the company has five homebuilding companies across the nation. It recently rolled out a "Living Smart" program that addresses sustainability efforts across several areas. In terms of energy efficiency, she said all of the homes are 15 percent or more energy efficient than the applicable code for that particular area.

Other program categories aside from energy include health, home and water.

"Home Smart, for example, is using recycled carpets that are still durable and beautiful but made out of recyclable materials," Brown said. "With Water Smart we offer water-sense faucets and fixtures."

"Many of our projects are quite ambitious and set us on a path to being a leader in the sustainability arena," she said.