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Forest industry remains committed to Boreal Forest Agreement

OTTAWA, Dec. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) remain committed to the promises made to Canadians, rural communities, the environment and the marketplace under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) and will continue to work hard with environmental partners on its implementation.

Greenpeace has announced it has abandoned the agreement but all other signatories remain at the table, dedicated to both the spirit and the letter of the CBFA. The agreement is aimed at conserving both the Boreal forest and ensuring economic prosperity while taking joint responsibility for success.

"This historic agreement has been widely lauded around the world for embracing a new paradigm of co-operation and it's unfortunate that Greenpeace has decided to walk away. However forest companies remain committed and will continue working on implementation." says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. "The CBFA is a very complex deal with a wider scope than any other agreement ever reached anywhere in the world.  Progress has not been as fast as originally hoped but we fully intend to keep working with conservation groups and foundations as well as Aboriginals, communities and the federal and provincial governments until we get it done."

Progress under the CBFA includes: 29 million hectares of caribou-sensitive habitat that continues to be suspended from logging; a win-win solution in north-east Ontario that protected caribou while increasing wood supply to support mills and communities; and a substantial blueprint for caribou action planning at the national level that is the most comprehensive work in this area ever reached.  Signatories are now making progress across the country to implement the agreement: four regional groups are active in Quebec, in North-East and North-West Ontario and in Alberta; work plans are under development in Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; Aboriginals and provincial governments are increasingly engaged.

The Canadian forest products industry also continues to reduce its environmental footprint on other fronts.  Canada has more than 40% of the world's certified forests ―151 million hectares ―undertaken by an independent third party.  Canadian mills have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% since 2005 while emissions were going up in the general economy.  The industry has also reduced air contaminants by 44% and water use by 30% during the same time frame. As part of Vision2020, companies have set an ambitious goal to further reduce their environmental footprint by 35% by the end of the decade.

"We are proud of our world-leading environmental credentials that are well-recognized in the international marketplace," says Lindsay.  "Other environmental groups have recognized industry for our efforts at greening our forest practices and we invite Greenpeace to come back to the table to work with us and others who remained committed to the CBFA. That's where the action is."

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.


BACKGROUNDER

  • The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) signed May 18, 2010 by 21 forest companies belonging to the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), seven environmental groups and two foundations.
  • The CBFA is an historic agreement signifying a new era of joint leadership in the Boreal Forest.  It covers 76 million hectares of public forests making it the largest conservation agreement ever reached in history.
  • FPAC member companies commit to the highest environmental standards of forest management and conservation, while environmental organizations commit to global recognition and support for FPAC members' efforts.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 29 million hectares of caribou habitat remain off limit to harvesting.
  • Parties to the CBFA have agreed on a substantial blueprint for caribou action planning at the national level. This is the most comprehensive work ever reached in this area and includes joint recommendations to the federal government on national caribou recovery strategy and a jointly produced scientifically based methodological framework for caribou action planning.
  • Jointly developed recommendations were delivered to multiple provincial governments with respect to caribou action planning.
  • A win-win solution was reached in northeast Ontario that protected caribou while increasing wood supply to support mills and communities. It was endorsed by the province, First Nations and local communities.
  • Four regional groups are active in Quebec, in North-East and North-West Ontario and in Alberta.
  • Conservation plans are under development in Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
  • Engagement with First Nations is underway right across the country.
  • The CBFA is working collaboratively with provincial governments―for example on Land Use Framework planning in Alberta and caribou recovery planning in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • About 120 people from coast to coast are working on implementation.
  • About $4.5 million has been spent so far on implementation.

ONGOING EFFORTS

  • Industry has requested an increased pace of implementation with ambitious work plans in all regions with regular reporting and joint accountability.
  • The federal government has committed $4 million to support the CBFA.
  • Industry has offered environmental groups $200,000 to help them participate effectively.
  • The signatories remain dedicated to the following six goals:
    • World leading forest practices
    • Completion of a network of protected areas
    • Recovery of endangered species
    • Reduction of greenhouse gases
    • Improved forest sector and community prosperity
    • Recognition in the marketplace.

SOURCE FOREST PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

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