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Weyerhaeuser is one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world. It is the world's largest private sector owner of softwood timberland; and the second largest owner of United States timberland, behind Plum Creek Timber. Weyerhaeuser has approximately 20,000 employees in 13 countries, including United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, Australia, New Zealandmarker, Chinamarker, Mexicomarker, Irelandmarker, Francemarker, and Uruguaymarker.

History

In January 1900, Friedrich Weyerhäuser founded the company as Weyerhaeuser Timber Company with 15 partners and 900,000 acres (3,600 km²) of Washingtonmarker timberland purchased from James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway. In 1929, the company built what was then the world's largest sawmill in Longview, Washingtonmarker. Weyerhaeuser's pulp mill in Longview, which began production in 1931, sustained the company financially during the Great Depression. In 1959, the company eliminated the word "Timber" from its name to better reflect its operations. In 1965, Weyerhaeuser built its first bleached kraft pulp mill in Canada. Weyerhaeuser implemented its High Yield Forestry Plan in 1967 which drew upon 30 years of forestry research and field experience. It called for the planting of seedlings within one year of a harvest, soil fertilization, thinning, rehabilitation of brushlands, and, eventually, genetic improvement of trees.

Weyerhaeuser consolidated its core businesses in the late 1990s and ended its services in mortgage banking, personal care products, financial services, and information systems consulting. Weyerhaeuser also expanded into South America, Australia, and Asia. In 1999, Weyerhaeuser purchased MacMillan Bloedel Limited, a large Canadian forestry company. Then in 2002 after a protracted hostile buyout, the company acquired Willamette Industries, Inc. of Portland, Oregonmarker. On August 23, 2006, Weyerhaeuser announced a deal which spun off its fine paper business to be combined with Domtar, a $3.3 billion cash and stock deal leaving Weyerhaeuser stock holders with 55 percent ownership of the new Domtar company.

In late 2008 Weyerhaeuser created a wholly owned subsidiary, Weyerhaeuser NR, to contain its non-timber business activities including, among others, the Cellulose Fibers and iLevel businesses. While Weyerhaeuser has not yet announced a decision to move its timberland business into a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), separating these businesses is a necessary step to do so.

Operations



Financial Information
  2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
Net Sales
(US$M)
21,896 22,629 21,931 19,873 18,521 14,545
Net Earnings (Loss)
(US$M)
395 733 1283 277 241 354
Weyerhaeuser imports timber products from Malaysiamarker, Chilemarker, and Brazilmarker, and has timber operations or offices in 44 American states, Canada, and 18 other countries. Weyerhaeuser is one of North America's largest distributors of wood products; it owns more than seven million acres (28,000 km²) of land in the U.S., and holds logging rights to more than 35 million acres (142,000 km²) of land in Canada. Weyerhaeuser has expanded beyond its roots in lumber and wood products; it controls more than 100 subsidiaries in fields such as construction, real estate sales, and development.

The company's operations are divided into four major business segments:
  • Timberlands — Growing and harvesting trees in renewable cycles.
  • Wood Products — Manufacturing and distribution of building materials for homes and other structures.
  • Pulp and Paper — Produces a variety of papers and the pulp used to produce papers, absorbent products, photographic film, and several others.
  • Real Estate — Builds homes and develops land. Weyerhaeuser has six subsidiaries collectively called Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company or WRECO, the largest of which is Pardee Homes.


The company also operates an IT internship program to develop professionals for employment in its IT department.

The company sponsors the Weyerhaeuser Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, which runs 120 miles (193 km) from Graylingmarker to Oscoda, Michiganmarker. It is one of three marathon races that constitute canoe racing's Triple Crown. The race is always held the last full weekend in July during the Grayling's annual Milltown Festival.

North Carolina TOSA Program

Weyerhaeuser also offers teachers the opportunity to experience life outside their classrooms during their summer breaks. The North Carolina TOSA Program, Teachers on Summer Assignment, offers a variety of internships to teachers, featuring such activities as forestry research, assisting in the pine nurseries, and reptile/amphibian tracking (to name a few). This six-week paid program provides teachers with insight on the business and its principles of sustainable pine farming and encourages the teachers to develop curricula for use in their classrooms that are not only aligned with the standard courses of study, but also Weyerhaeuser's lessons.

Corporate governance

The Weyerhaeuser board of directors consists of: Debra A. Cafaro, Mark Emmert, Daniel S. Fulton, John W. Kieckhefer, Arnold Langbo, Don Mazankowski, Nicole Piasecki, Steven Rogel, Richard Sinkfield, D. Michael Steuert, James Sullivan, Kim Williams, and Charles Williamson.

Environmental record

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified Weyerhaeuser as the 63rd-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 17.5 million pounds of toxic air released annually into the air. The pollution has had questionable effects on their employees.Major pollutants indicated by the study include formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, acetaldehyde, manganese compounds, and chlorine dioxide.

The Environmental Protection Agency has named it a potentially responsible party for at least 18Superfund toxic waste sites.

As of 2006, Weyerhaeuser has been committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by using its 2000 greenhouse gas emissions as a baseline. In 2006, Weyerhaeuser sequestered approximately 16.2 million metric tons of GHGs carbon dioxide equivalent. Weyerhaeuser sequestered about 2.4 times more carbon dioxide than was emitted, removing approximately 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere. Accordingly, Weyerhaeuser direct emissions in 2007 were 3.9 million metric tons and it sequestered about 11.2 million metric tons. Also in 2007, Weyerhaeuser met 67 percent of its operations' energy needs through the use of renewable and GHG neutral biomass fuels. The company has sought to reduce the impact of logging operations.

Weyerhaeuser is a player in the race to develop a low-carbon biofuel. The company has teamed up with Chevron Corporation to assess the feasibility of commercializing biofuel production from cellulose-based sources. One such source could be switchgrass—a prairie grass native to the southeastern United States. Two 25-acre tests to grow switchgrass were planted in May 2007 on the company’s forestland in North Carolina and Mississippi.

It is also a major owner of very healthy forests in the Washington area and allows fishing hunting and camping on there land.

Criticism

Employee Firearms Policy

On October 1, 2002, the company sent detection dogs into the parking lot of their Valliant, Oklahomamarker paper mill plant looking for drugs in vehicles in response to an employee drug overdose. They found no drugs, but the dogs alerted on 12 cars with guns in them.Warren, Susan. "Weyerhaeuser Fired Workers Who Had Weapons in Cars, And Legal Dispute Unfolds" - The Wall Street Journal (c/o TheHighRoad.org; AmericanLoggers.com[37575]) - November 26, 2004 Some of the employees were provided by sub-contractors, including Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) and Kenny Industrials. Bastible vs. Weyerhauser Co. - Case 05-7037 - at United States court of appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document) The company then asked the employees if they would open their vehicles for a hand search, two of them refused, of the remaining 10 vehicles rifles, shotguns, and handguns were found.

All three companies, Weyerhaeuser, KBR, and Kenny, "prohibited the possession of firearms by employees, including in parking lots used by employees." In addition, "KBR also maintains various bulletin boards throughout the Weyco mill and has posted specific "no weapons" literature on those bulletin boards. Further, '[a]ll KBR employees working at the Valliant Mill have completed a computer safety module which states that no weapons are permitted on the Mill site'."

On November 14, 2002, the vehicles in the parking lot were searched for a second time. All employees were warned that if contraband, either drugs or firearms, were found a second time, they would be terminated. 12 employees were found with contraband and were immediately suspended.

KBR ultimately determined to terminate their contractors: Steve Bastible, John Bryan, Douglas Rowan, Donald Payne, Larry Mullens and Scott Darden. Kenny Industrials terminated Ryan Lewis. And, Weyerhaeuser terminated Jimmie Wyatt, a shift supervisor of 23 years, with an exemplary record. An additional four employees were terminated, but because these individuals did not file suit against the company, their names remain unpublished. Jimmy 'Red' Wyatt and all the others said that they were never told of the policy change, extending the company gun ban to the parking lot, which had occurred in 2002.

The plant manager, Randy Nebel, said that firing the men was difficult but he felt safer with all the guns out of the parking lot. Nebel stated that all the employees had been warned of the policy change.

Several of the fired men, the plaintiffs (appellants), filed a civil suit against Weyerhaeuser (a defendant or appellee) for wrongful termination in Oklahoma state court, Bastible, Steve vs. Weyehaeuser Co. & Unknown Entities (Case No. CJ-02-00601), Search - Oklahoma District Court Records Wyatt, Jimmie M. vs. Weyehaeuser Company (Case No. CJ-02-00604), Lewis, Ryan vs. Weyehaeuser Company (Case No. CJ-02-00638). In the appeal to Federal court the cases were consolidated and Tulsamarker attorney Lawrence A. G. "Larry" Johnson (with Belva Barber) represented them. Mr. Johnson, a longtime Second Amendment lawyer, said that this was an injustice that must be addressed. Attorneys Robert Dowlut, of Fairfax, Virginiamarker, also filed an Amicus Curiae brief for the National Rifle Association of America on behalf of the plaintiffs (appellants; Bastible, et al.).

The appellants stated that they were wrongfully discharged because, among other things, they were exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

The plaintiffs (appellants), Steve Bastible, John Bryan, Douglas Rowan, Donald Payne, Larry Mullens and Scott Darden (case No. 05-7037), Jimmie Wyatt (case No. 05-7038), and Ryan Lewis (case No. 05-7039) lost in lower court and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals.

From the United States court of appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling (Weyco is the Weyerhaeuser Company):

: KBR's policy "prohibits bringing onto Company property, including Company-owned or leased parking areas, any firearms, whether properly licensed or not." Appellants' App. at 70. It also "prohibits an employee from taking onto Customer property, including Customer-owned or leased parking areas,[firearms.]" Id. at 70-71.


: Weyco's company policy provides the following: "the possession or carrying of firearms or other weapons, explicitly or concealed, by anyone within the work environment . . ., including vehicles on company property, is STRICTLY PROHIBITED." Id. at 62. "Work environment" explicitly encompasses "adjacent parking areas." Id. at 63. Weyco's "contractor safety requirements" for the mill provide that "possession of firearms . . . by any contractor employee subjects the contractor to potential termination of [the] contract and immediate removal from the site." Id. at 72-73. They further state that "[n]o firearms are allowed on the mill site including parking lots." Id. at 73.


: No party directs us to any place in the record where there is a copy of Kenny Industrials' policy on firearms. However, no one disputes the fact that Kenny Industrials employees who work at the mill, like KBR employees who work there, must comply with Weyco's policies, set out above.


The court of appeals upheld the lower courts decision that the employees violated the company (s) policies.

In addition, on April 13, 2006, Wyatt has filed a separate, breach of contract case against the company, Wyatt, Jimmie M. vs. Weyehaeuser Company (Case No. CJ-06-00212).

References

  1. For information on predecessor companies, see Friedrich Weyerhäuser.
  2. Weyerhaeuser Welcomes Oregon Willamette Employees as Companies Combine to grow Global Leader
  3. Weyerhaueser Corporate Board
  4. Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 (Study released April,2008) retrieved 14 Dec 2009
  5. http://www.cbc.ca/thunderbay/features/brain-poisoning/index.html?dataPath=/photogallery/regions/thunderbay/gallery_339/xml/gallery_339.xml
  6. Toxics Release Inventory courtesy rtknet.org
  7. EPA database courtesy Center for Public Integrity
  8. [1]
  9. [2] retrieved 1 Nov. 2008
  10. [3]
  11. http://www.cathedralgrove.eu/text/02-Protest-1.htm
  12. [4]
  13. Blumenthal, Ralph. "Gun Organization Takes On an Energy Giant" - The New York Times - August 3, 2005 - retrieved: 2006-11-24


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