Molpus Woodlands Group is one of the oldest timber-related companies in the United States with a storied history that dates to 1905. Over its 117-year history, Molpus has evolved from a mercantile store to a lumberyard, to a sawmill, and now to a timberland investment management organization (TIMO). Since its inception as a TIMO in 1996, Molpus has invested, on behalf of its clients, more than $4 billion across 4 million acres of timberland across the U.S.
Molpus acquires, manages and sells timberland as an investment vehicle for a variety of investors. It focuses on earning optimal cash returns while also being a good steward of the forests that it manages. Molpus incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and practices into all its investment analysis and decision-making. The team at Molpus believes their strong ESG initiatives have positive implications for the environment and the communities in which they live and work.
Molpus has achieved many significant milestones in its ESG initiatives. Most recently, it celebrated the planting of 251 million trees since 1998 as part of its sustainable forest management program. Molpus recognizes the importance of land-based solutions and healthy forests in climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. It is also actively engaged in nature- based carbon-offset projects that help preserve forests as carbon sinks. Carbon offsets represent an increase in carbon storage to compensate for carbon emissions that occur elsewhere. The company was awarded, on behalf of a client, the 2018 Carbon Project Developer of the Year award by the California Climate Action Reserve at the 2019 North American Carbon World conference held in Los Angeles, California.
Private working forests, such as those Molpus manages, are a fundamental part of the underlying infrastructure of the U.S. economy. These forests produce renewable, recyclable, and reusable wood and paper products that our economy depends on. These forests also absorb and store carbon, produce clean water and air, sustain vital biodiversity, provide recreation experiences and supply a growing resource for renewable energy.
Molpus also boasts many other ESG initiatives. It currently offers an annual scholarship program at five different universities that targets students in under-represented populations. Its objective is to help bring more diversity to the forestry management profession. Molpus also prides itself on employing qualified natural resources professionals to manage forests who have completed training programs that focus on issues like water quality and enhancing biodiversity. Molpus helps monitor and protect over 6,000 miles of streams and rivers to ensure clean water. It also monitors and preserves species of concern, including the grizzly bear, gopher tortoise and forest songbirds. All of Molpus’ management forests are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program (SFI) Forest Management Standard, which is recognized by the globally recognized Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Where beneficial, additional certification to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards is also obtained.
“Southern AgCredit has been a constant champion for Molpus and its success for more than a decade now. It is not just a transactional relationship for each party, it’s a partnership,” says Hunter Barlow, Southern AgCredit’s agribusiness portfolio manager. “It’s been Southern AgCredit’s knowledge of timber financing and unique loan products that has helped this relationship grow and flourish as it has.”
“We have worked with Southern AgCredit for many years as they understand our business and the needs of our sustainable forestry management. Their deep knowledge of our industry enables them to address our objectives and tailor lending solutions to our clients needs,” says Michael Cooper, Molpus’ senior director of client relations and business development. “Southern AgCredit comes from the rich history of the Federal Land Bank System, and their level of expertise in lending to the forestry industry is unique.”