What we've done
The Canadian forest products industry has consistently outperformed the general economy in terms of labour, capital, and multi-factor productivity growth. It’s one of the few Canadian industries that has higher productivity than its U.S. counterpart.
FPAC led a landmark study called Bio-Pathways that looked at the economic, environmental and social potential of extracting more value from every tree. This study concluded that traditional lumber and pulp and paper mills could indeed add on the production of high value bio-energy, bio-chemicals and bio-materials, and it identified a potential global market of $200 billion for these products by 2015.
Mills in Canada are now being revitalized and transforming themselves with the help of strategic government programs such as Investment in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT), with many companies vying to produce world-first innovative products. FPInnovations, a unique industry/government partnership, has been in the lead in researching groundbreaking innovations, resulting for example in the world’s first demonstration plant for nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) which can be used in such varied applications as bone replacements, auto parts and cosmetics. Canadian forest companies are also in the process of producing such innovative products as rayon, methanol, and thermal energy.
FPAC has also set up the Bio-pathways Partnership Network, bringing together representatives of various sectors including chemical, plastic, energy, auto parts and others who are interested in partnering in ways to produce innovative new products from wood fibre.
FPAC is now studying how to produce more value from the lumber side of the business such as innovative construction systems for multi-storey buildings.
The forest products industry has also been aggressively tackling new markets and is now Canada’s number one exporter to Asia, including China. Over the past 10 years the percentage of our exports to the United States has gone from 80% down to 62%. Canada has a trade surplus in forest products of $17.2 billion, second only to oil and gas.
Where we are going
The challenge for companies, working with governments and other partners, is to find ways to generate an additional $20 billion in economic activity from new innovations and new markets by 2020. FPAC member companies expect to derive more of their profits from these new products and markets with each passing year. The forest products industry is now a $57 billion business.