The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) announced today that Canada’s forest products industry, a global leader in sustainable forest management, is setting a new bar for environmental responsibility and action on climate change: industry-wide carbon-neutrality by 2015 without the purchase of carbon offset credits. A partnership with WWF-Canada will inform and help guide the initiative. The announcement was made at the second annual Business of Climate Change Conference in Ottawa.

“We are pleased that FPAC is taking such a leadership position and not waiting for government regulations before taking action. My big hope is that other Canadian sectors will follow suit and rise to the challenge,” said Mike Russill, President and CEO of WWF-Canada.

“Climate change is the number one environmental threat facing the world today and becoming carbon neutral is the most significant step the forest products sector can take to reduce its overall environmental footprint,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. “Canada’s forest products industry has already made significant strides in mitigating its impact on the climate and its next step is to be carbon-neutral. The initiative we are announcing today has the potential to not only move the industry towards carbon-neutrality by 2015 but to go beyond, potentially removing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we emit. And, unlike other sectors that rely significantly on the purchase of offsets, we can get there without having to do so.”

“The road will not be easy but we are confident that we can get there with the help of our partners and key stakeholders, and the guidance of other advisors,” added Lazar. “WWF has already begun some groundbreaking research into the global potential of sustainable forestry for bioenergy supply and climate change mitigation, and their Climate Savers program has established a high standard of emission reductions among leaders in many business sectors.”

Over the past two decades, FPAC members have set the pace for facility upgrades and innovative processes in a continued effort to improve their environmental performance and limit their impact on climate change. In so doing, they have reduced their fossil-fuel dependence to the point where almost 60% of their pulp and paper facilities’ energy needs are self-generated from renewable sources. From an environmental perspective, these efforts have had tangible results since 1990: a 45% cut in the use of fossil fuels, 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 also bring distinct economic benefits, as FPAC members have increased their production by 20%.

“While we take great pride in our record of reducing emissions within our own operations, we are committed to going further and we encourage others to also voluntarily embrace stretch targets,” concluded Lazar. “As a next step, by working with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders across our value chain, we hope to not only minimize our own carbon profile but also to provide our customers with the information and products they need to meet their own climate change objectives.”

Read the Media Backgrounder

About WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada works to save nature by conserving species and protecting their habitats; by ensuring our use of natural resources is sustainable, and by helping individuals, companies and governments reduce pollution. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

About FPAC

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 is an $80 billion dollar a year industry that represents 3% of Canada’s GDP.  The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 320 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

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For more information:

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

Maggie MacDonald
Director, Market Communications
Climate Change Program
WWF-Canada
(416) 919-8905 (cell)
MMacDonald@wwfcanada.org

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER
Towards a Carbon-Neutral Forest Industry

Background

Canada’s forest products industry is a leader in addressing global climate change. Over the past two decades, the industry has set the pace for facility upgrades and innovative processes in a continued effort to improve its environmental performance and limit its impact on climate change. In so doing, members of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) have reduced their fossil-fuel dependence to the point where almost 60% of their pulp and paper facilities’ energy needs are self-generated from renewable sources. From an environmental perspective, these efforts have had tangible results since 1990: a 45% cut in the use of fossil fuels, 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 also bring distinct economic benefits, as FPAC members have increased their production by 20%.

The Canadian Forest Industry Carbon Profile

FPAC recently commissioned a report by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) titled “The Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Profile of the Canadian Forest Products Industry”, making the Canadian forest products industry the first forest industry in the world to assess and report on its total carbon profile. The NCASI report will provide a foundation from which the industry can identify areas for continued progress and improvement.

The NCASI report documents the forest products industry’s carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) profile which includes three distinct parts: emissions, sequestration, and avoided emissions. Emissions consist of transfers of GHGs to the atmosphere from forest products industry facilities or from elsewhere in the forest products industry value chain. They consist primarily of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion (including indirect emissions associated with purchased electricity) and methane from decomposition of discarded products in landfills. The sequestration component consists of carbon contained in and transferred between forests, forest products, and landfills. Avoided emissions consist of emissions that would have occurred were it not for certain industry activities. While avoided emissions are very difficult to quantify and not claimed in the same manner as direct emissions or sequestration, they are critical to understanding the overall carbon profile of the forest sector.  The full text of the report will be available at: http://www.ncasi.org/.

A Carbon-Neutral Canadian Forest Industry

Canada’s forest products industry, a global leader in sustainable forest management, is setting a new bar for environmental responsibility and action on climate change: industry-wide carbon-neutrality by 2015 without the purchase of carbon offset credits. To achieve their carbon-neutral commitment, FPAC members, working in partnership with key stakeholders including governments and environmental organizations, will pursue an aggressive strategy focused on:

1) Reducing direct and indirect emissions:

  • Becoming energy self-sufficient – the industry will continue to drive additional energy-efficiencies by switching from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources such as biomass.
  • Adoption of new more energy-efficient technologies.
  • Increased diversion of used forest products from landfills.
  • Increased use of landfill capping systems.
  • Increased cogeneration opportunities

2) Increasing the sequestration potential of forests and products:

  • Identifying opportunities to maintain and enhance carbon storage in forests through landscape planning and sustainable forest management practices.
  • Enhancing the pool of carbon stored in the value chain and minimizing emissions from end-of- life disposal.

3) Increasing avoided emissions:

  • Determining ways to maximize recycling of paper and wood products.
  • Understanding the carbon implications of wood-based materials in relation to available substitutes. 

Working Together with WWF

FPAC and WWF-Canada agree that some of the greatest opportunities for the future of the forest industry will be realized by providing leadership in sustainability and environmental performance. Already the organizations, working together, have helped chart a path for more sustainable management in commercial forestry by developing a toolkit for high conservation value forests (HCVF).

Climate change is the issue on the agenda of industry leaders across sectors, as well as governments and consumers. For the forest sector, climate change presents a number of complex challenges and opportunities. These include the indirect repercussions of global warming, such as pine beetle infestations, and the opportunity for the forest sector to position itself as a climate friendly sector. Yet, there is not enough conclusive research and no policy standards that clarify the right approach for making Canadian forestry climate friendly.

As a result, FPAC and WWF-Canada have initially agreed on a 2-year project that will focus on:

1. Identifying potential greenhouse gas savings from renewable energy, cogeneration and other mitigation options.
2. Enhancing forestry-related life cycle analysis
3. Working together on landscape-level and stand-level measures that are both carbon and conservation friendly.
4. Using case studies, develop recommendations and proposed guidelines for bioenergy production and wood product manufacturing so that forest product use and greenhouse gas savings are maximized, while biodiversity impacts are minimized.

Ongoing Progress on Carbon and Climate Change

In addition to its work with WWF, FPAC is also pleased to have support a group of advisors who have agreed to help coach FPAC in the pursuit of its objectives:

Darcie Booth, Canadian Forest Service

Tony Lempriere, Canadian Forest Service

Dr. Werner Kurz, Canadian Forest Service

Jennifer O’connor, FP Innovations, Forintek

Tom Browne, FP Innovations, Paprican

Reid Miner, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

Brad Upton, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

Kirsten Vice, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

Dr. Marlo Raynolds, Pembina Institute

Michael Northrop, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Dr. Gordon McBean, UWO, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Florence Daviet, World Resources Institute

Also providing advice will be engaged individuals from the market and customer supply chain.