Today 21 of Canada’s largest forestry companies announced a landmark agreement with environmental groups to protect a huge section of the country’s Boreal Forest.
Member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and nine leading environmental organizations, unveiled the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.
The Agreement calls for the suspension of new logging on nearly 29
million hectares of Boreal Forest to develop conservation plans for
Also, FPAC members, who manage two-thirds of all certified forest land
in Canada, have committed to the highest environmental and sustainability standards of
forest management within a total area of 72 million hectares–an area
twice the size of Germany.
Conservation groups agreed to global recognition and support for FPAC member efforts. "Do Not Buy" campaigns by Canopy, ForestEthics and Greenpeace will be suspended while the Agreement is being implemented.
The Pew Environment Group, which worked with the Ivey Foundation to
facilitate the negotiations, said the agreement is the largest
commercial forest conservation plan in history.
Environmental groups, including the three organizations that have been mobilizing large customers towards green products, say the coming together of two traditional adversaries reflects a new commitment to a common goal.
"This is our best chance to save woodland caribou, permanently protect vast areas of the Boreal Forest and put in place sustainable forestry practices," said Richard Brooks, spokesperson for participating environmental organizations and Forest Campaign Coordinator of Greenpeace Canada. "Concerns from the public and the marketplace about wilderness conservation and species loss have been critical drivers in arriving at this agreement."
"The importance of this Agreement cannot be overstated," said Avrim
Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. "FPAC member companies and their ENGO
counterparts have turned the old paradigm on its head. Together we have
identified a more intelligent, productive way to manage economic and
environmental challenges in the Boreal that will reassure global buyers
of our products’ sustainability. It’s gratifying to see nearly a decade
of industry transformation and hard work greening our operations, is
culminating in a process that will set a forestry standard that will be
the envy of the world."
Signatory environmental organizations, FPAC, and the Association’s companies have begun meetings with provincial governments, First Nations and local communities across the country to seek their leadership and full participation in advancing the goals of the Agreement. The Agreement recognizes that aboriginal peoples have constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights that must be respected and engaged in order for the Agreement to fulfill its objectives.
The progress made to reach the objectives laid out in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement will be regularly measured and reported on by a jointly agreed-upon independent auditor.
Forestry Companies Participating in the Agreement:
AbitibiBowater (NYSE: ABH), Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor (CFP.TO), Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc. (CAS.TO), DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International (Nasdaq: MERC), Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Papier Masson Ltée, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc. (TMB.TO), Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd (WFT.TO), Weyerhaeuser Company Limited (NYSE: WY)–all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.
Environmental Organizations Participating in the Agreement:
Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign. The Hewlett Foundation’s support for boreal forest conservation has been critical to the collective efforts of these groups.