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recognizing environmental responsibility
Increasingly, when buying wood or paper products, consumers are seeking assurances that the products come from producers that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. But how do consumers identify a responsible supplier of sustainable forest products?
Consumers should look for wood and paper that come from responsible sources that respect five key principles of sustainability; namely, suppliers that:
The scope of illegal logging in the world has grown alarmingly over recent years. Illegal logging is a principal cause of deforestation abroad and a direct contributor to climate change and loss of biodiversity. Canada has essentially no illegal logging and has undertaken efforts to oppose it elsewhere in the world. The Canadian forest products industry welcomes a marketplace that bars illegally logged products.
Look at what harvest legally means in Canada:
- Forestry operations are conducted under one of the toughest regulatory and enforcement regimes in the world.
- Companies must adhere to their government-approved forest management plans, which specify where and how much they can harvest.
Companies certified for sustainable forest management are audited for compliance with the certifying body's standard,
including prohibitions on illegal logging.
- FPAC members have implemented a system to trace the origins of all fibre used in their operations to demonstrate that it was sourced legally.
Consumers want assurances that the trees harvested to supply the wood used in building their homes or the paper used in their home office printers are promptly regenerated. Canada has, essentially, a zero deforestation rate, because every tree logged is promptly regenerated. Less than one-half of one percent of forest area is harvested annually and, by law, must then be regenerated as natural forest with the same native species; harvested areas are not converted to tree plantations. Canada's conservation, harvesting, and regeneration practices are constantly improving. Canada has more forest area certified for sustainable forest management than any other country. Those standards impose great discipline, as well as a requirement to pursue continual improvement in forestry operations—with the result that practices in the field quite often exceed government standards.
Look at what regenerate promptly means in Canada:
- Canada still has 90% of its original forest cover; land cleared for roads, agriculture, urban development, and other non-forestry purposes makes up the remaining 10%.
- More than 600 million seedlings are planted annually to help forests regenerate.
- Millions of hectares of regenerating forest are thinned and weeded to help establish the new growth.
More than 31 million hectares (almost 8%) of forest and other wooded land—an area the size of California—in Canada is protected.
- 24 million hectares occur in the boreal regions.
Reducing waste has become a growing preoccupation of consumers and industries around the world. Those who buy and use our products expect that we will do our part to reduce waste, and we have a remarkable story to tell in several respects. We use 98% of each tree harvested—solid wood to lumber, chips to paper; and sawdust and other residues are increasingly used to power our mills, replacing fossil fuels. Today, more than 60% of the energy that Canada’s forest products industry consumes comes from sawmill and logging residues (which would have been treated as forest waste decades ago). We are major players as well in helping to recover and recycle paper. Consumers should take comfort in the fact that we want, as they do, to see an end to any useful paper ending up in a landfill site.
Look at what no waste means in Canada:
- 87% of the fibre used for making paper in Canada comes from sawmill residues and recycled paper.
- Sawmill residue that is not suitable for making paper is used as biomass energy.
- The national paper recycling rate has reached an all-time high of 58%.
- Canada’s forest products industry supports a “no good paper to landfill” policy, encouraging Canadians to recycle even more.
The relationship between forests, forest products, and greenhouse gases is complex, and it is an area of science in which learning is still developing. But our customers want to deal with companies that take seriously the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases. Toward that end, our industry has already surpassed its Kyoto targets by more than ten times what it would have been required to do had the deal had been ratified. Moreover, ours is the only forest industry in the world to commit to being carbon neutral, and we are well on our way toward achieving that goal.
Canada’s forest products industry has become a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change because it delivers a triple benefit: helping the environment, lowering costs, and aiding global market acceptance of Canadian products. Now the industry is pledging to achieve a world first: to become carbon neutral through the lifecycle of products by 2015, without purchasing carbon offset credits. Canadian producers will embrace more renewable energy and greater energy efficiency, improved forestry practices that boost carbon storage, and divert even more good paper from landfills.
Look at what reducing greenhouse gases means in Canada:
- The pulp and paper sector has reduced its greenhouse emissions to 57% below 1990 levels.
- The same sector gets 60% of its total energy needs from renewable energy—especially biomass.
- The industry produces enough energy to supply all of the electricity needs of greater Vancouver or Denver, with more on the way.
- The industry’s goal is to achieve “100% net energy self sufficient” using renewable fuels.
Customers want to know that we have been subject to independent scrutiny, and so we welcome that discipline. In fact, no company that refuses independent certification can be a member of FPAC.
Transparency and accountability are fundamental to the Canadian concept of sustainability. Foreign observers have expressed envy at how our public is assured, by law, in forest management planning. Furthermore, the internationally recognized third-party certification standards for sustainable forest management, to which most Canadian companies adhere, require them to seek public input in setting program goals and/or report regularly to the public about performance on the ground.
Look at what welcoming independent scrutiny means in Canada:
- Canadian laws provide explicitly for public input in the development of forest management programs.
- Canada has more than 145.7 million hectares of certified forest—an area double the size of Alberta or Texas—more than any other country.
- All certified operators are third-party audited for compliance with the certifying body's standard.
Canada is a global leader in sustainable forest management. Customers and consumers alike can be assured that the forest products coming from Canada meet to their fullest the five key principles of being a responsible source.