by David Lindsay, President and CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada
As the voice of the Forest Products Industry of Canada in Ottawa, FPAC works closely with politicians, public servants, academics and stakeholders from other industry associations. We have strong partnerships with environmental groups and Aboriginal associations. We also participate with other public policy organizations in Ottawa and elsewhere.
At a special reception on Tuesday June 2nd we invited many of our friends and colleagues to join us as we launched our environmental brochure “Growing a Greener Tomorrow”. This is the second themed brochure we have launched at a reception in Ottawa. Last year we partnered with Sustainable Technology Development Canada and FPInnovations to launch our innovation brochure “Expect us in the Unexpected”.
This year’s reception took on some added significance because it is probably the last time we will be hosting such an event for the politicians of the 41st Parliament of Canada. The event at the Rideau Club was an opportunity to say thank you for their service to our country.
Rather than a lengthy written blog, I thought it might be fun to tell the story of our reception with pictures. Scroll down and read the brief captions under each photo.
The FPAC environmental brochure was a big hit. Each guest had to complete a small quiz to be eligible for a “Tree-shirt” made from rayon fabric which is produced from natural, renewable forest fibre. Kerry-Ann Taylor from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair’s office and Kyall Glennie from MP Linda Duncan’s (Edmonton-Strathcona) office look for the answers to the quiz in our “Growing a Greener Tomorrow” brochure.
Staff wear the ‘Tree-shirt’ handed out at environmental reception to those completing a quiz. Using renewable resources to produce everything from clothing to engineered wood for lower carbon buildings to biochemical and bioplastics for cosmetics and car parts will become even more significant for the environment as we move into an increasingly low carbon economy.
In addition to all the information in our environmental brochure, our partners at FPInnovation provided a number of displays to explain the improvements in environmental technology in our mills. FPInnovations helps our companies continually improve their environmental footprint with advanced science and research.
Science and nature come together naturally in the Forest Products Industry. John McDougall the CEO of the National Research Council of Canada shares a laugh with Jim Brennan of Ducks Unlimited. Environmental groups and research science are important partners of FPAC. A solutions oriented approach based on science and strong partnerships is how we have developed our world class environmental reputation and are determined to continue to make improvements as part of our Vision2020.
David McArthur, Chief of Staff to Minister Greg Rickford of Natural Resources Canada discusses the environmental reputation of the forest products industry with Richard Garneau the CEO of Resolute Forest Products and Seth Kursman Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Government Affairs. According to a 2014 Leger Research survey of international customers, Canada’s forest industry has the strongest environmental reputation.
David Lindsay speaks with MP Leon Benoit, first elected to Parliament in 1993. He currently chairs the House of Commons Committee on Natural Resources, which has been working on a report about Canada’s forest products industry. While forestry is an important renewable natural resource, it also accounts for 12 percent of the manufacturing output of Canada and actually has more direct employees than the auto sector.
Natural Resources Canada is an important portfolio in the Canadian Government. FPAC works closely with both the public service and the political sides of government. Sharing a laugh at our environmental reception are Canadian Forest Service Assistant Deputy Minister Glenn Mason, Deputy Minister of NRCan Bob Hamilton and Minister Rickford.
During the 41st Parliament of Canada FPAC has worked closely with MP’s from all parties. Dick Harris, the MP from Cariboo-Prince George, as chair of the Conservative Forest Caucus, assisted us in many ways large and small. He is framed by his MP colleagues, Garry Breitkreuz and Cathy McLeod. FPAC took the occasion to thank all MP’s for their service during this term of Parliament.
It wouldn’t be a reception in Ottawa without some speeches. Here Minister Rickford says a few words about the forest products industry’s strong environmental record. While we are very proud of our progress as an industry we are committed to a further 35 percent reduction of our environmental footprint as part of our Vision2020.
One of the highlights of the evening was a very gracious presentation from Cathy Wilkinson of the International Boreal Conservation Campaign and lead for the environmental caucus for the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Cathy talked about the importance of working together and learning from each other. The CBFA is an agreement between forestry companies and environmental groups to work together on the twin pillars of economic development and environmental protection.
Our third presentation for the evening was from Stewart Elgie the founder of the Sierra Legal Defense Fund (now EcoJustice). Stewart is an environmental law professor at the University of Ottawa and associate director of the University’s Environmental Institute. He spoke eloquently about the successful environmental journey of the forest industry in Canada and he encouraged government, industry and our environmental partners to continue to work on creative ways to continue leading the world in finding environmental solutions.
Deirdre LaFrambroise from the Canadian Climate Change Forum listens closely to Talat Mohammad from FPInnovations as he explains some of the important technological advances in using formerly waste materials to make bioenergy and how to use the ash as a treatment for soils. The forest industry and forest products can be an important part of the solution in the post carbon economy.
In addition to many friends from government, the environmental community and the academic community, we were joined by Kathy Abusow and Andrew deVries from Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Rob Keen from Forests Ontario. The forest products industry has achieved much over the past 20 years built on partnerships, informed by science and continuously improving. Canadians can be proud of our environmental record.