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The Boreal stretches through all provinces except PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

Media Centre

Press Releases - 2010

Forest industry and environmental groups sign world’s largest conservation agreement to protect the Boreal Forest



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TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2010, Toronto/Montreal, Canada – Today 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and nine leading environmental organizations unveiled an unprecedented agreement that applies to 72 million hectares of public forests licensed to FPAC members, 16 million hectares of which is in Quebec.

The Agreement, when fully implemented, will conserve significant areas of the vast Boreal Forest in Quebec and Canada, protect threatened woodland caribou and apply the highest environmental standards to forest management. Environmental organizations will engage in recognizing and applauding the efforts of participating companies to international markets, giving them a competitive market edge.

The Agreement calls for the suspension of new logging on nearly 29 million hectares of Boreal Forest , 8.5 million hectares within Quebec, allowing for the development of conservation plans for endangered caribou, while maintaining essential fiber supplies for uninterrupted mill operations. “Do Not Buy” campaigns by Canopy, ForestEthics and Greenpeace will be suspended while the Agreement is being implemented.

“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.”

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 Melissa Filion, spokesperson for participating environmental organizations and interim director of Greenpeace in Quebec. “Concerns from the public and the marketplace about wilderness conservation and species loss have been critical drivers in arriving at this agreement. We have a lot of work to do together to make this agreement successful and we are committed to make it happen.”

The Agreement identifies explicit commitments for both sides and sets out a plan, which includes:

  • The development and implementation of world-leading forest management and harvesting practices;
  • The completion of joint proposals for networks of protected areas and the recovery of species at risk including woodland caribou;
  • A full life cycle approach to forest carbon management; and
  • Support for the economic future of forest communities and for the recognition of conservation achievements in the global marketplace.

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. Participants recognize that governments, including First Nation governments, are decision makers within their jurisdictions. 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 Agreement for the Boreal Forest will be regularly measured and reported on by a jointly agreed-upon independent auditor.

Forestry Companies Participating in the Agreement:
AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Papier Masson Ltée, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd, Weyerhauser Compnay Limited−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.

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Forest Products Association of Canada: Monica Bailey, Manager, Communications: 613-563-1441 xt 323
Canopy: Josee Breton, Quebec Spokesperson: 418-456-2373
David Suzuki Foundation: Catherine Orer, Communications Specialist: 514-679-0821
Greenpeace: Catherine Vezina, Media & Public Relations: 514-212-5749
Canadian Boreal Initiative: Suzanne Fraser, Director of Communications: 613-552-7277
SNAP Quebec (Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society): Sophie Paradis, Communications Director: 514-603-7627