Welcome to the Enhancing Collective Action Working Group


  1. Per the above, the main goal is to produce a challenges & solutions document in this thematic area that will be the basis for work during the Summit and, when finalized, will chart the critical path forward post-Summit.
  2. Utilize and contribute to the Knowledge Hub, where relevant resources – reports, links, recorded webinars, research papers, etc. – are concentrated and curated.
  3. Identify and recruit speakers for Summit level-setting presentations in this thematic area followed by break-out groups.
  4. Conclude Summit discussions with wrap-up / report out / next steps in this thematic area.

The aim is for each working group to have goals 1-3 ready to share no later than March 15th, allowing sufficient time for review and distribution prior to the Summit on April 14th and 15th.


  • While important, procuring climate smart wood on a project-by-project basis will be insufficient to drive progress in forest stewardship, restoration and conservation across the U.S. and Canada at scale; to accomplish this, changes in public policy are required (Public Policy).
    • What collective actions are currently aimed at policy or regulatory reform?
    • What jurisdictional level are these policies focused (National, State/Province, Local Government)?
    • What topics are these policies focused (e.g. forest management, conservation, restoration, buildings, materials)? For example:
      • Incentives for improved forest management, such as public funding for working forest conservation easements;
      • Public procurement of climate-smart forest products;
      • Advocating for strengthened forestry regulations;
      • Support for forest restoration, an increase in protected areas, and ecologically appropriate afforestation; and
      • Incentives for new construction with mass timber
  • Coalition of design organizations committed to designing with sustainable mass timber (Private Sector).
  • Joint government/business jurisdictional approaches to forest stewardship, restoration and conservation.
  • Science-Based Targets for Nature for businesses.

Overarching Questions:

  • What are the opportunities to build alliances to achieve common goals?
  • What are the opportunities to reduce fragmentation and duplication?

Working Group Folder (GoogleDrive link)

Working Group Document (GoogleDrive link)

Hi All, I just added a topic about Architecture 2030’s Efforts Related to Climate, Wood, & Forests if you are interested to learn more about what we are focusing on.

The main items that relate to our Enhancing Collective Action Working Group are on Embodied Carbon Policies, including a City Policy Framework for Dramatically Reducing Embodied Carbon that we collaborated on with Bionova for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, as well as on Global Action via our planned Built Environment Summit at COP26 in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Declare.

Following up on the questions posed today, including alliances that are brining the forest sector into the conversation and goal-setting, rather than starting with us on the outside. The first one is the recently launched CEO Principles on Private Working Forests as a Natural Climate Solution. I recommend clicking on the policy principles. CEO Principles

Second alliance: Forest and Agriculture Alliance https://agclimatealliance.com/.

Third alliance, but this one is more a shared learning effort for forest land owners to respond to the changing climate, how do we manage these forests to be resilient? The Climate Smart Land Network is a great resource and growing group, an open and inclusive environment to learn together, to adapt together: Climate Smart Land Network | North America’s ground game for climate change (climatesmartnetwork.org).

And last, the Carbon Leadership Summit hosted a Wood Carbon Seminars, which are now available to watch and learn (including detailed FAQs provided by the speakers). I highly recommend building off of the success of this collective action. Wood Carbon Seminars - Carbon Leadership Forum

Hi Ara, it would be great if the principles could speak more clearly to the importance of policies that creating incentives for or require improvements in forest management that increase carbon storage and ecological resilience. Is that meant or implied by these?

  • Increased public funding and policies should focus on innovative approaches to increase carbon benefits in and from forests and improve the scalability and outcomes of USDA private forest conservation programs, such as the Forest Legacy Program, State and Private Forest Grant Programs, the Healthy Forests Reserve Program.
  • Policies should encourage, recognize, and reward private sector partnerships that advance the carbon potential of sustainably managed forests and forest products at scale.

It’s a bit unclear.

Also, it would be great if there were principles that address the need to conserve remaining primary forests that are not currently protected, and that more explicitly call for support of forest restoration and ecologically-appropriate afforestation.

Changes like these could attract the support of a broader group of stakeholders, as the current signatories seem heavy to industry. It’s great that you have the support of TNC and EDF, but it would be more powerful if there were more support from the environmental community.

The task of the working groups is to clarify major challenges to progress and to identify solutions that are actionable by the stakeholders represented in the Summit.

I think one of the biggest challenges our working group faces could be identifying the common ground on which collective action could be based. Our group is diverse, comprising a wide range of perspectives, values, goals, interests, etc. It seems possible and even likely that we will disagree on a variety of key issues, such as:

  • · The extent to which primary forests should be protected;
  • · Whether protections should be extended to allow for proforestation of some secondary forests;
  • · The definition of climate-smart forestry;
  • · Whether different forest certification systems should be placed on the same level by those seeking to procure climate-smart wood;
  • · Whether regulations should be strengthened to make forestry climate-smarter

My question is how we can handle our differences in a way that is most productive given that our goal is to identify solutions. I can see us spending a lot of our limited time and energy engaging in debate, but I’m skeptical that this will change divergent positions (worldviews?) or yield outcomes that we’d be excited to share with other Summit participants.

One idea would be to use the draft Vision statement as a way to clarify areas of agreement and disagreement, and then focus on the potential for more effective collective action based on the former.

What do others think?


Hi Jason –

I think you are wise to raise the issue of how we, as a group, will handle disagreement, and the idea of using the draft Vision statement as a way to identify areas of agreement and disagreement is a good one. I think that can be a productive discussion.

In addition, I would offer that I think it will helpful for us to take seriously the act, and the work, of “agreeing to disagree”, and we should feel comfortable saying this, so that discussions don’t meander around before we realize that we do indeed have a disagreement. And once discovered, we should also take the necessary time to document our disagreements in ways that meet the approval of all sides. This work, in itself, will help create platforms, and new starting points for future discussions that won’t require all parties “go back to the beginning”. Let’s be as thoughtful about our disagreements as we will be about the areas where we agree. It has also been my experience that the act of carefully outlining a disagreement can surface areas of agreement that didn’t initially get explored in the discussion.



I agree with Clark.

We may need to ‘park’ areas of disagreement and try to resolve them over time and in order of our collective sense of priority.

I suspect if we do that we will find many areas of agreement on what we are trying to accomplish. If we can come to some semblance of common agreement on a lot of topics we should try to use that as a foundation to find agreement (even if it is to disagree) on the more contentious issues.

I’d much prefer that to focussing solely on the areas of conflict only to find they have become a wedge that divides us.

Peter Moonen

National Sustainability Manager
Canadian Wood Council
Ph: 604.886.0033
Cell: 604.399.9990


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Great stuff, Clark

I would like to raise a cultural question related to seeing preservation as the best approach to “recruitment and retention” of high conservation value forests. I see one of our policy topics is increase in protected areas. Preservation of landscape a part from human actions is a Western view not shared by all cultures. I grew up with the idea of conservation and preservation as most of us have but there are opinions that would push us on that and say that it is possible to manage for the sacred and for human action to aid in achieving recruitment and retention of the rare forest types we all would like to see expanded toward their natural representation on the landscape.

I support using “parking areas” to make sure we don’t go down rabbit holes.

I would also like to have us avoid prescriptive language like “protected” or “preservation” and instead use the language for describing outcomes as the goal such as sourcing wood from management that ensures maintained or improved forest health; sourcing that moves the landscape toward recruitment of under-represented forest types and overall composition in terms of species, age, and spacing. Or similar. We can find language that represents this in a more simplified form.

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These comments could be suggested as changes to the Vision document. The goal is to have each WG see if they can come to consensus on a set of suggestions so as to make things a bit more manageable.

I understand what you are saying here, Paul, and do think there is a role for people in managing forest landscapes toward recruitment of more natural and mature forests – while harvesting timber. I also think there are and always will be cases where protection or conservation should be the priority and where logging for timber production should not occur.

Thanks for sharing this, Ara.

Great to see the FACA’s policy recommendations (Pages 27-30)

Develop a carbon accounting framework to encourage forest carbon sequestration
This framework could be applied to multiple policy mechanisms that represent promising approaches for scaling climate benefits on private land, including:
■ Tax credits for carbon sequestration in the land sector
Transferrable tax credits, provided for carbon sequestered, captured and used over a baseline, would incentivize carbon sequestration in forests and storage in wood products.
■ Carbon crediting programs
Build out a carbon crediting approach that could apply in the private sector (e.g., with a large brand seeking to validate their investments in carbon removals), as well as in other voluntary markets. Use an existing private sector approach as the baseline, adapting and building out the approach to apply to the range of existing markets and new opportunities that arise.

The framework should feature a two-pronged approach that can be applied to voluntary, incentive-based policies, as well as to a wider range of voluntary investments in forest carbon that require high quality credits.
Landowners would pick one of two options:
■ Practice-based approach where the tax credit/carbon credit is determined by USDA-approved practices that the landowner implements. A practice-based approach appeals to smaller landowners and is USDA’s comfort zone.
■ Performance-based approach where the tax credit/carbon credit is determined by carbon sequestration performance above a baseline. A performance-based approach works better for large forest owners, delivers outcomes with higher environmental certainty at scale, is more open to innovation and is USDA’s aspiration.

For a tax credit, carbon credit or any other policy mechanism, USDA should be the home. USDA can be a valuable partner in developing tools and approaches that enable participation in carbon markets and tax credits. USDA’s experience and relationships will be key for successful program development and implementation.

Any approach (tax credit, carbon crediting, or other) should meet these principles: be market-based, achieve real mitigation benefits, consider impacts on the entire forestry value chain, avoid requiring co-benefits, base payments on climate benefits, recognize other benefits from sustainable forest management, and include safeguards to promote positive outcomes for forests and the climate.

Value: If structured appropriately, a landowner tax incentive for forest carbon sequestration and improved, standardized approaches to carbon crediting could increase the return on investment to private forest owners for carbon sequestration and catalyze further efforts by private forest owners in providing climate benefits at scale. By developing a framework for carbon accounting that could apply to these and other mechanisms, we can ensure that opportunities created within any policy mechanism work for forest landowners, while also providing significant benefits to the

See also: Tax credit for carbon sequestration and carbon bank on pages 10-11.

Today someone asked me if there was anything in the environmental community related to forests that is roughly analogous to the CEO Principles and that provides a basis for policy proposals. The only thing I could think of is the Stand4Forests platform which has a pretty long list of endorsers, from grassroots to national environmental groups to scientists to elected officials. The basic position is that we need to expand protections for forests in N. American in order to effectively address the climate crisis. In the U.S., the push for increased protection is focused on federal public lands.

I believe there are 3 pillars on which enlightened collective action on forests must rest:

  1. encouraging improved management of working forests
  2. increasing protections in some critical areas, including primary forests and some secondary forests for proforestation
  3. engaging in strategic and active forest restoration / afforestation

The CEO Principles focus on 1) while the Stand4Forest platform focuses on 2). I don’t know of anything similar that focuses on 3) – maybe Jad or some else knows?

Anyway, one path forward could be to see if our group agrees that these three pillars are essential and see what collective action efforts might fall out of that – including in the near term suggested revisions to the Vision statement. If it is possible to bring 1) and 2) together, and include 3), then we would have the basis for a far larger, more powerful coalition than has ever existed before to my knowledge.


Shouldn’t our principles also include something like:

An aggressive decarbonization of the built environment using alternative low carbon materials and strategies, including wood products.

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Ara and Vincent, thanks for sharing the FACA policy recommendations, very interesting and a super-helpful perspective.
Reflecting on the conversations in this forum, and on the parallel discussions I am part of within the Sustainable Design Leaders group, here are some initial thoughts on where the design industry is at with this conversation, and what sort of policy recommendations we might be interested in seeing:

  • Given that the design and construction industry is learning that the embodied carbon impact of wood varies hugely based on where and how the wood is harvested, and even within various certification systems (work of David Diaz et al), we’re nervous about the growing movement towards more mass timber construction, which is largely driven by our client’s growing desire for “low-carbon” buildings, and what that means for all of us, since we don’t currently have adequate information on the actual GWP potential for specific wood, from specific sources, processed in a significant variety of ways.

  • Given this, it feels premature to be advocating for a construction industry “lower carbon” tax credit, especially because we don’t yet have the: “…calculator that is well documented, scientifically sound, widely used, material agnostic, compares between materials and considers all life cycle stages.”

  • In addition, the proposed tax credit is for the use of “any materials” that have a lower carbon footprint, which also makes us nervous, because the aforementioned calculator also doesn’t exist for non-wood construction materials. There are very likely some materials that we could specify that have lower embodied carbon, but are worse performing on the healthy materials spectrum.

  • Taking this outlook in aggregate, we are concerned that well intentioned, low-carbon product selection could result in negative outcomes for the forests and/or for human health. We need more and better data.

  • So at this stage in the process, we want to be advocating for policies and incentives (potentially including tax credits) that accelerate the development of systems for documentation and tracking of wood from forest to building, and for development of the calculator described above, built in a way that there is consensus agreement on the science that went into it, and with a methodology that allows for continuous improvement.

I hope this is helpful, and contributory to the discussion.

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Dear Enhancing Collective Action Working Group,

We have received the proposal from David Fairman, CBI, which includes his understanding of our working group’s needs and a proposed draft approach to our process. This is outlined in this GoogleDoc from David: Facilitator’s DRAFT Approach to the CAWG Process

In addition to this proposed draft approach CBI has outlined the associated costs of organizing and facilitating our working group (and others):

  • Prep for and facilitation of 2 CAWG weekly calls: 2 hours prep plus 1 hour per call, plus 1 hour to summarize key points x 2 = 8 hours

  • Work to organize and facilitate vision drafting team, and to contribute edits to vision if appropriate: 10 hours/week x 3 weeks = 30 hours

  • Liaison with Steering Committee: 3 hours/week x 3 weeks = 9 hours

  • Prep for and co-facilitation of Summit: 5 hours prep + 7 hours facilitation = 12 hours

Total hours = ~60

Budget @ $250/hour = ~$15,000

Jason and I think that CBI’s proposed draft approach is a good way to proceed, but our organizations and the other conveners had not budgeted for this work and do not have the ability to pay it.

Since the proposed draft approach cannot be funded within a reasonable amount of time to move forward now, we recommended that the proposal itself be one of the working group’s Solutions to the Summit in response to Prompts 3 (the Challenge being that the current Vision needs work — too long, not enough support, etc). The proposed facilitation can then be fundraised for and pursued if there is interest after the Summit.

Regarding the draft vision statement, the Enhancing Collective Action Working Group will table our effort at a collective revision prior to the Summit . Those who choose can still provide individual or combined comments to the draft, just like any participant of the Summit is encouraged to do, but we will not devote more time to it in our WG — rather we will concentrate on other Challenges / Insights / Solutions.

Please share any feedback you have on this update and recommendation on how to proceed. Your time and contribution have been and will continue to be valued.

Thank you,

Sounds like a reasonable path forward.

All the best

Vincent - this seems like a good and thoughtful approach


As a new participant to the Collective Action group I am hesitant to wade into conversations mid-stream. But I figure I was asked to join for a reason, so here goes.

I think recommending a consensus statement coming out of the Summit is reasonable, assuming there’s agreement it’s not possible beforehand. I’d still like to push to identify areas of potential agreement, if only to support that recommendation after the Summit is over.

Perhaps three areas where we can find some consensus are research, incentives and primary forest.

Research would focus on adding precision to the murky term “climate smart.” What practices store additional carbon? How can we increase resiliency of forests as climate change increases the risks of catastrophic events? I think this is likely to be more of a literature review with a consensus summary rather than new primary research, but who knows.

Incentives would focus on rewarding and incentivizing forest practices in line with the consensus summary from the research. For example, if longer rotations increase carbon storage, how can we incentivize that? Personally, I don’t see this venue as the place to incentivize common practices, as those are amply represented in other forums. If the status quo writ large got us into the climate mess, my opinion is we need to incentivize behavior that is better than status quo if we hope to solve the problem of climate change. I think this is true, even as I agree that forests overall continue to add carbon in the US. What’s the responsibility at the level of an individual landowner/manager, and how can we incentivize climate smart practices?

Primary forest, which I define here as both intact forest landscapes and pockets of remnant old growth within larger working forests, is possibly an area of consensus. Can we agree that where primary forest exists in the Lower-48 states, it should not be harvested (at least under the banner “climate smart”)? The Canadian boreal is trickier, since there are vast swaths of intact forest and to prohibit all harvest may not be equitable to the First Nations and local communities in those regions.

My main point here is whether we can still work to identify areas of potential consensus, staying clear of thornier topics of which I am very familiar.

I look forward to the next Working Group discussion and the Summit ahead.