Blog

Partnering for a Healthier, Sustainable Environment and Stronger Communities

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Forterra NW
Two men moving a tree at the Kent Valley Toby Levey

For 30 years Forterra has been bringing about powerful, practical and positive change. We accomplish that by conducting land transactions, stewarding land, engaging communities, innovating and advancing forward-thinking policies.

Our work is rooted in the understanding that coalitions and partnerships are essential to successful outcomes. We can’t do our critical work without the help of our partners. They are at the core of what we do.

We believe partnerships have the power to strengthen our work and have a positive impact on our environment and our communities.

All our current projects work in a collaborative effort with at least one other entity, if not several, whether it be government agencies, corporations, other nonprofits or Tribes – and always directly with the communities where we work.

Partnerships: Three Guiding Principles

In all the work we do across conservation, restoration, community and innovation, finding the right partnerships is imperative to the success of the project. It starts with a shared set of values and a commitment to our community principles.

When it comes to partnerships, we abide by three guiding principles:

  1. We treat partners with dignity and act with integrity.
  2. We are candidly clear about our capacity, interests, project goals and risks.
  3. We show up with humility and listen to understand the land, its history and its stewards.

Partnerships help inform how we approach our work.

Our Forest to Home initiative – Forterra's winning Breakthrough Challenge innovation – is no different.

Resilient Communities Through Sustainable, Equitable Land Use

We have brought together a coalition of Tribes, communities of color, local government, land trusts, impact investors and engineers with a common goal in mind: to make communities more resilient through more sustainable and equitable use of land.

Bringing forth the expertise of our partners, combined with Forterra’s financial and real estate prowess, has a more powerful impact than acting alone. We harness the strengths, abilities and expertise from our different partnerships to innovate and solve the complex challenges of our Forest to Home initiative.

It begins with our forests.

We are partnering with Tribes, forest ecologists and forestland owners to ensure we responsibly harvest our timber in a sustainable way that supports a fully functional forest.

That means maintaining other ecological values such as sequestering carbon, protecting and providing wildlife habitat and the watershed, and providing wood for building homes.

CLT: Strong, Sustainable Building Material

At the center of the Forest to Home strategy is modular cross-laminated timber (CLT).

We are tapping into the vast knowledge of European timber engineers with decades of experience working with CLT to help us create and implement this strong, and sustainable building material.

We are also partnering with local municipalities to create an innovation center that will house the next generation of high-tech wood product companies and to reinvigorate the wood products industry in the town of Darrington, Washington, Snohomish County and the Pacific Northwest.

The Darrington Wood Innovation Center will become a place to build and assemble the modular prototypes. This, in turn, will create significant, high-quality job growth in mass timber, and a scalable model for rural development and investment. Working closely with these municipalities ensures we are meeting the region’s unique needs.

Our community partners allow us to put all these distinct parts into action to build attainable homes using CLT and offer homeownership to communities facing displacement and gentrification. And to provide hubs and workspaces so that community members can continue to operate small local businesses.

Community-based organizations, leaders and businesses that are rooted within the community ensure there is trust and transparency. Such partnerships are critical to the success of Forest to Home.

Beyond Traditional Financing to Overcome Homeownership Barriers

Finally, our finance partners allow us to look beyond traditional financing structures, which often require large down payments and other fees that act as a barrier to homeownership for many communities.

These partnerships allow us to offer nonprofit co-op ownership, leveraging communal ownership to reduce costs for repairs and limit the resale price to preserve affordability over time. As a result, we can offer homes that are attainable and affordable over the long term.

Due to our partnerships, the Forest to Home initiative has the potential to yield a triple bottom-line result having environmental, economic and social benefits.

Chosen for their industry expertise, leadership, connectivity, like-mindedness and goal sharing, our partnerships gift us with the ability to think differently, take creative leaps and innovate.

It takes this type of collective approach to create radical solutions for positive change.

Read: Forest to Home: A Model for the Future