Hopefully, you’re convinced that buying imported lumber is actually beneficial for the environment and that thanks to CITES regulations, it’s become very difficult to illegally harvest and export lumber. But how can you be absolutely certain that the imported lumber that you purchase has been harvested legally?
Realize That It’s Your Responsibility
Believe it or not, if you purchase illegally harvested lumber, you could be held responsible for that; the folks at Gibson Guitars found that out the hard way. That reality makes it extremely important for you to request documentation from your lumber supplier; while they’re required by law to have documentation, they are not required to supply you with it unless you ask. Asking is required of you, as part of your “due diligence.”
Use a Lumber Supplier You Can Trust
Part of your “due diligence” is also ensuring that you purchase lumber from a supplier that is completely worthy of your trust, taking the steps to ensure legal and sustainable harvesting that you personally cannot. J. Gibson McIlvain relies on long-time relationships with suppliers that have earned trust over many years. For us, that includes sending employees to visit suppliers as well as hiring agents in the countries from which we import lumber, so that they can conduct periodic verification that responsible practices are continually in place.
Find an Importer of Record
Of course, the obvious choice would be to commit to buying all your lumber from J. Gibson McIlvain. But if you don’t, at least do this: make sure your lumber supplier is an importer of record. By doing so, you will save yourself a lot of headaches and better ensure that your lumber has been legally harvested and imported. Essentially, an importer of record is the entity that owns the lumber from the moment it comes to our shores. Fewer middle men means fewer opportunities for the chain of custody to be problematic; of course, it can also translates into lower prices, since fewer people are taking their cut.
Basically, purchasing your lumber from an importer of record allows you to stop worrying about whether you’re in compliance with regulations such as the Lacey Act and CITES. An importer of record has already proven to do the work required to make sure the lumber they are selling meets any and all requirements.
While we hope you’ll definitely choose to purchase imported lumber and make sure it’s from an importer of record, we do want to make sure that you realize that for all the exotic hardwoods we carry, we are the importer of record. We very carefully make sure that the lumber mills we work with throughout the world have long-term sustainability plans for the species in question. And it doesn’t hurt that we have over 2 centuries — yes, centuries! — of experience in forging relationships with responsible sawmills. We can also air dry or kiln dry your lumber in house, mill it, and ship it directly to your job site.