On 1 February, the same day that the new FSC project certification standard took effect, 2B Office became the first project in the world to get certified based on that standard. It has also become the first FSC-certified project ever in the Iberian peninsula.
2B Forest, the company behind this project, provides advice to develop and implement strategies and innovative projects related to forest certification. As a company that practices what it preaches, 2B Forest already possesses two FSC forest management and chain of custody certificates. Naturally, when 2B Forest founder and director Susana Brigido heard of the possibility to get FSC Project Certification, she jumped at the chance.
Susana and her team felt there was not sufficient recognition of the effort and investment forest owners made to improve their management practices. This situation led to a lack of motivation from the owners as well as from the wood producers.
2B Forest wished to remedy this situation. They also wanted to alert market players to the importance of guaranteeing sustainable sources for forest products in the fight against climate change. The company decided that building their own office through the FSC project certification would be a great way to do just that. Additionally, this work would involve two of the main sectors using forest products: the civil construction and furniture sectors.
A challenging yet rewarding project
The main challenge was to find motivated partners to build the office and to combine the architect's vision with the use of local certified products.
"When reading the project specifications and realizing that 2B Forest would choose the suppliers of all forest-based materials and check the quantities and the type of material used, most companies demonstrated very little interest," recalls Susana Brigido.
2B Forest eventually found companies willing to participate in the project. "The most rewarding part was the partnerships we made in order to ensure the use of raw material from national forests and products from national industries", said Susana. Partners included FSC Portugal as well as local Azores Regional Government and wood producer Marques Britas S.A.
Another specificity was that the project only used national tree species. Among these local species, the suppliers provided maritime pine for the floor and as structural material, as well as cryptomeria japonica.
The office is expected to open its doors soon. It will include a collaborative working space. Co-workers will have a chance to further develop their knowledge of the protection and value enhancement of local forests. The office will also be a spot for 2B Office partners to showcase their FSC-certified products. This way, a more general audience may have more personal exposure to products from local responsibly managed forests.
"We are currently working with FSC Portugal in some workshops to explain our approach. Our website will soon include more information about the materials used and the meaning of being certified," adds Susana Brigido. "In the future, we aim to introduce products made with cork into the office. Portugal is the biggest producer of cork, and this material is also used in construction materials." Now that 2B Forest has gained knowledge and skills around FSC project certification, they will also develop a new initiative. From now on, they will advise construction companies or architects’ offices on procedures and records development. This way, their clients' works may also obtain the FSC project certification.
The work is only just beginning for 2B Forest and FSC's new project certification.