In 2012, FPAC launched the Vision2020 challenge and we committed to reporting publicly on the collective progress of the industry every two years. Below you will find our first progress report looking back to the years 2010 to 2012 on the Environmental Performance goal of delivering a further 35% improvement in the sectors environmental footprint.


The Canadian forest products industry has been very aggressive in reducing its environmental footprint. As custodian of 10% of the world’s forests, the sector has emerged as a global environmental leader.

The pulp and paper segment of the industry has made dramatic progress in reducing air and water pollutants, for example by eliminating the use and release of toxic chemicals such as PCBs and dioxins and furans. The sector has eliminated the use of coal and reduced the use of oil to generate electricity by more than 90%. Thirty facilities now generate green electricity on site using residual materials from their operations. Greenhouse gas emissions have decreased around 70% since 1990.

Despite this substantial progress, the sector has committed to further green its operations by an additional 35% by 2020 to maintain the Canadian industry position as a global leader in environmental credentials.

Progress to Date

In 2010-2012, the reduction in waste to landfill was 31%, a most significant decrease. Canada has bolstered its position as a global leader in this area with 98% of wood residue now being used for either energy generation or composting. More than 66% of mills’ waste water sediment is being used for either energy generation, composting or land application.

The recycling rate also improved by another 4%. Canada has one of the highest recovery rates of waste paper and packaging in the world at 73%, significantly better than the international average of 56% and higher than Europe, Japan, China and the United States.

Energy use decreased by 8%. For example, the sector continued to invest in energy reduction projects including the installation of energy-efficient equipment to improve mills’ competitiveness and increase the production of green energy. This has also served to improve the quality of air emissions with a reduction in particulate matter (PM) (11%), sulphur oxide (SOx) (6%) and nitrous oxide (NOx) (11%).

The sector’s water use and water quality, or biological oxygen demand (BOD), have decreased slightly since 2010 down by 3% respectively. Companies are currently implementing projects that will improve water quality emissions and further reduce water use but more could be done if regulatory regimes were improved.


By working with governments, the environmental community and the scientific community, the forest sector has made great strides in its environmental performance. This doesn’t happen by accident, but is the result of deliberate actions by many players. There is already a strong foundation. The industry will continue to reach the Vision2020 goal of a further 35% reduction in the sector’s environmental footprint.Read the proposals that would help the industry reach the Vision2020 goal on page 17: Vision2020 Report Card: 2010 – 2012