The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), representing Canada’s largest industrial producer of renewable energy, today commended the Government of Canada on the introduction of the EcoENERGY Renewable Initiative, which will help the forest products industry continue its implementation of technologies to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

“The forest products industry is reinventing its energy model and transforming itself from one of Canada’s largest industrial energy users to being a net source of green power.  Today’s announcement is a step forward in helping us realize our vision of reaching self-sufficiency, cleaner air and more,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC.  “Our industry currently generates 60% of its own energy using green, renewable fuels and there is a tremendous amount of new technology in the works that points to the potential increase in that number to 100%.  The EcoENERGY Renewable Initiative recognizes the tremendous potential of biomass as a green energy source that can contribute toward meeting climate change and clean air objectives.”

“As the cost of energy rises, conversion to renewable energy sources is simply good practice for the forest products industry, particularly in the pulp and paper sector.  The EcoENERGY Initiative will help accelerate this conversion while also securing important environmental and economic benefits for the industry and the communities that it supports,” continued Lazar.  “Moreover, the industry is absolutely committed to doing all that it can to remain within the carbon cycle.  In addition to the industry’s commitment to sustainable forestry management, moving away from fossil fuel dependency ensures that it is taking no more from nature than it gives, and will ultimately ensure the continued well-being of our forests and ecosystems.

Over the past decade, Canada’s forest products industry has invested over $8 billion in facility upgrades and innovative processes in a continued effort to improve its environmental performance.  By switching from fossil fuels to biomass, a clean, green carbon-neutral energy source derived from industry by-products such as bark, sawdust and wood shavings, the industry has reduced its fossil-fuel dependence to the point where 60% of the pulp and paper sector’s energy needs are self-generated from renewable sources.  The sector is now the largest industrial source of cogeneration (combined heat and power capacity) in Canada, which is largely powered by carbon-neutral renewable biomass.  That “cogen” combined with the sector’s small hydro generation already produces enough renewable energy to replace three nuclear reactors.

“Investments in the development and implementation of new technologies that increase efficiency have not only helped to enhance the industry’s overall productivity and competitiveness, but have also been instrumental in contributing to the industry’s significant air quality and greenhouse gas emissions improvements,” continued Lazar.

From a clean air and general environmental perspective, the results have been tangible for FPAC members: since 1990, these include a 74% reduction in particulate matter per tonne of output; a 64% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions; a 54% improvement in greenhouse gas emissions intensity; a 40% reduction in landfill waste; and a 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  These environmental improvements have taken place during a period when production volumes in the industry have increased by 20%.

“We are confident that with the right policy framework, the industry has the potential to be a net exporter of renewable energy with the potential of servicing the power needs of the communities in which it is present.  This new incentive is a significant step towards establishing that framework.  We certainly look forward to working with the government to further develop this initiative.”

FPAC is the voice of Canada’s wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs.  Canada’s forest industry represents 3% of Canada’s GDP and exports over $40 billion of wood, pulp and paper annually.  The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in hundreds of Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

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For more information, contact:

Isabelle Des Chênes
Director, Communications
Forest Products Association of Canada
(613) 563-1441 ext: 323 Mobile: (613) 853-2938
ideschenes@fpac.ca