RONA,  the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, just announced a new procurement policy setting targets for FSC-certified products.  Five stores currently offer exclusively FSC-certified products and RONA plans to expand this in the long term to 25 percent of wood products, assuming competitive pricing and availability.

This basically means that RONA does not want to pay a premium for FSC lumber, and the extra costs of certification will be accrued by forest companies.
Further reinforcing that the general consumer will not pay a premium for commodity products (i.e. lumber) and certification is a cost of doing business and for maintaining market access. But we have to differentiate between commodity products and value-added products. Value added products are still receiving different levels of premiums (0-15%).

We are currently certifying a broker that promotes FSC in Russia, and he purchases birch plywood and pays a premium of 11% to the forest company.

 

NEW INITIATIVES TO SUPPORT THE INTRODUCTION OF RONA’S WOOD PRODUCTS PROCUREMENT POLICY
90% of softwood lumber sold at RONA is from certified forests and five stores now exclusively offer softwood lumber from FSC forests
Boucherville, Quebec, September 23, 2009 –

RONA Inc. (TSX: RON), the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, unveiled new initiatives today related to the introduction of its wood products procurement policy. This policy has been put in place to protect forests and offer Canadian consumers products from certified forests.

RONA is concerned about the environmental impact of the products it sells and wants to keep consumers fully informed of the steps it is taking to reduce its ecological footprint. With this in mind, the company has just rolled out new signage in its corporate and franchise stores across Canada to inform consumers that 90% of the softwood lumber for sale in store is from forests certified under the three certification programs recognized by RONA: the Forest Products Marking Program (CSA), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

RONA has also announced that five of its stores will now exclusively offer softwood lumber from FSC certified forests. Currently, wood from FSC certified forests is not widely available in Canada and RONA wants to make it easier for consumers to have access to such products. RONA’s new policy places preference on FSC certification because it is the one that best responds to the company’s requirements with regard to relations with local communities and biodiversity conservation. Consumers can buy wood from FSC certified forests in the following five stores: Rosemère (Réno-Dépôt) and Mascouche, Quebec, both stores in London, Ontario, and one in Barrie, Ontario.

“RONA wants to play a role in preserving nature as well as in the sustainability of natural resources, and at the same time help Canadian consumers adopt responsible consumption habits,” explained Normand Dumont, RONA’s executive vice president of merchandising. “Developing this wood products procurement policy allowed us to take practical steps toward protecting our forests, and we hope that these new initiatives will encourage consumers to buy wood from forests that have been sustainably and responsibly managed.”

RONA’s goal is that by the end of 2010, 100% of the softwood lumber – spruce, pine and fir for structural framing – for sale in its corporate and franchise stores will be from certified forests. RONA has also established a program to increase the proportion of softwood lumber from certified forests for sale in its affiliate dealers to reach 90% before the end of 2011.

Less than 5% of the softwood lumber currently offered in the RONA corporate and franchise stores is from FSC certified forests, but the company’s goal is to reach 25% before the end of 2012, depending on availability and competitive pricing.

RONA adopted the new policy in November 2008 as a way to take concrete action to help preserve the Canadian boreal forest for future generations. The step is part of a global approach the company has adopted, which recognizes the industry’s three main certification programs: the Forest Products Marking Program (CSA), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Under its new wood products procurement policy, RONA has made a commitment to do business with suppliers that share its dedication to sustainable development and that embrace responsible forest management practices. The company has established a strict evaluation process and will
issue a report every year on its progress toward its objectives. With the ongoing cooperation of all the stakeholders involved, the policy will be reviewed every year to reflect new issues and emerging challenges.

About RONA RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in
every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. For more information, please visit rona.ca </> .
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For information:
Media Financial Community
Michèle Roy Stéphane Milot
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs Senior Director, Investor Relations
RONA Inc. RONA Inc.
514-599-5900, extension 5398 514-599-5951
michele.roy@rona.ca stephane.milot@rona.ca