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Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, Historical And Unprecedented

May 18, 2010

In what is being described as “the greatest accomplishment in the history of forest conservation,” today 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and nine leading environmental organizations, unveiled the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

This unprecedented agreement applies to 72 million hectares of public forests licensed to FPAC members.

“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.”

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The Agreement calls for the suspension of new logging on nearly 29 million hectares of Boreal Forest and to develop conservation plans for the approximately 36,000 remaining endangered woodland caribou, while maintaining essential fiber supplies for uninterrupted mill operations.

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.

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement: An Historic Agreement Signifying A New Era of Joint Leadership in the Boreal Forest.

Parts of Canada that will be most affected by this agreement are Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.  However the Forest Lands included in this agreement stretch from British Columbia to New Foundland.

“This is a key element of our economic policy, going forward, to keep the jobs in Canada,” stated a signatory participant during this morning’s Press Conference. It was also noted that this agreement can set a precedent for other industries and other environmental groups, “Instead of going to war, come to the solutions table.”

The signatory participants to the agreement have agreed to independent auditors and reports made public among other transparency features. They have also integrated First Nations’ Treaty and Land Rights into the Conservation Agreement. “The Agreement raises the bar on how we approach First Nations’ Land Rights,” commented a signatory participant.

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.

Following is a list of Companies and Environmental Organizations participating in the agreement.

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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, Weyerhaeuser Company 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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