FAQ: Most Frequently Asked

The only whole trees that Enviva uses are either young commercial softwood thinnings, which are cut to ensure healthy growth of high-value timber, or in some cases small, diseased or deformed trees that do not meet specifications for sawlogs. In many places, there is no other market for this wood. Often, what may appear to be a whole tree is actually the top of a tree, which cannot be used to make the high-value wood products for which the trunks have been harvested.

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I have heard that burning wood pellets actually results in more carbon emissions than burning coal. Is that true?

No. According to the UK Environment Agency, switching from coal to biomass reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by between 74 and 90% on a lifecycle basis.[1]

Enviva consistently exceeds the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions targeted by governments like the UK.[2]  We know this because we track, internally audit, and are regularly assessed by stringent 3rd party audits of all GHG emissions associated with the harvest, transport, processing, and shipping of our products.  We report these total lifecycle emissions on a regular basis.

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Could the future growth of your business lead to deforestation?

No, the sustainability of our business is non-negotiable. We do not and will not contribute to deforestation.

American forests are thriving. The total forest area in the US is within one percent of what it was 100 years ago.  During the last 60 years, forest resources have increased by more than 50% in the US and 94% in the Southeast, where Enviva’s operations are located.[3]

Even when demand for wood has been greatest, American forest inventories have continued to increase.  According to the US Forest Service, forest volumes have increased for the past 60 years. The reason is simple, and supported by the data:  the more robust the markets for forest products, the more trees landowners grow, replant, and re-grow. There is sound statistical evidence showing that healthy forest markets encourage healthy and thriving forests.

It is also important to understand that the wood pellet industry represents a small fraction of forest product demand in the US. This is true even when taking into consideration recent declines in traditional forest products markets and the significant growth projections for our industry. In 2017, total US wood consumption related to European wood pellet demand is projected to represent approximately  3% of total tons harvested in 2012 for all forest products industries. [4]

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How do you know that the forests you source from are sustainably managed?

All of our forestry operations are certified on an ongoing basis for sustainability by the top international forestry organizations, which require no-less-than-annual 3rd party audits of our supply chain, on top of our own rigorous quarterly audits of our supplier operations. Sustainability is an essential, non-negotiable part of our business.

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