Natalia Vidal, M.Sc. (2003), Ph.D. (2009)

Thesis Title (2003): Chain of Custody Certification: Current Status and Level of Knowledge in the North American Solid Wood Sector
Dissertation Title (2009): Diffusion, Adoption, and Implentation of Corporate Responsibility Practices in the Forest Sector: A Proposed Framework

Abstract: Chain of custody certification has influenced the marketplace for forest products over the past two decades. A category of forest certification, chain of custody certification is responsible for providing a guarantee that the wood product purchased was manufactured with raw materials from environmentally certified sources. More than ever, companies are having to consider this issue and make decisions on whether or not to adopt this program. For this, they usually seek information about the implementation of chain of custody certification, including descriptions of the characteristics, requirements of the process, costs and benefits.

Information on how North American primary wood product companies are addressing chain of custody certification is scarce. However, it is critical for the further development of this concept. A survey of primary wood products manufacturers was conducted in order to verify the current status of chain of custody certification in Canada and the United States. Accredited certification bodies in North America were also interviewed by telephone. Results indicate that approximately 50% of primary wood producers will be certified by 2007 and that the acquisition of benefits from chain of custody certification may be a key factor in increasing adoption levels.

A cluster analysis and a determinant function analysis suggest that company size is an important variable to be considered when analysing the adoption of chain of custody certification by primary wood producers. According to these analyses, larger companies are more likely to be chain of custody certified than smaller companies. In addition, larger companies seem to be more cognisant of the benefits to be accrued from chain of custody certification. The costs of implementing chain of custody certification is also related to company size with a general trend being lower costs for larger companies.

Current Position: Assistant Professor at the Unversity of New Mexico