FPAC responds to Limited Brands' statement on paper sourcing

OTTAWA , December 6, 2006 (press release) – Forestweb Editor's Note: The following is in response to the story, U.S. catalogue company Limited Brands agrees to stop working with paper suppliers who source from caribou range in Canada's Boreal forest, Forestweb, Dec. 6.

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), today commented on the decision by Limited Brands (parent company of Victoria's Secret) to no longer work with suppliers who source paper from any caribou habitat range in Canada unless these forests have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

"There is a complex mixture of influences on the Canadian landscape that are affecting forest management & biodiversity management in the boreal and around woodland caribou specifically," said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. "It is unfortunate that Forest Ethics has decided to present a very simplistic and biased version of the issue. Their approach, while grounded in good values, is based upon distorted information. It has pressured Limited Brands into adopting a policy that discriminates against over 300 forestry dependant communities across Canada. These communities are committed to sustainable forest management and continual improvement. This is a regressive step for Canada's forests and the environment more broadly."

Canada's forest products industry has realized a number of improvements over the past two decades that have made the industry as a world leader in progressive forestry practices, wildlife conservation, climate change mitigation, and efficient utilization of resources and raw materials. The facts speak for themselves. Canada maintains 91% of its original forest cover (World Resources Institute) while having had a large and thriving forest products industry for more than a hundred years. In fact, a recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report affirmed that Canada's deforestation rate is zero. Canada has over 40 million hectares of protected forest (28 million hectares in the boreal), more than any other country. Only 1/4 of Canada's forests are managed for commercial use (70% of the boreal is unaccessed), only one half of 1% is harvested annually including in the boreal, and all harvested areas, by law, must be regenerated.

Additionally, Canada is the only country in the world whose national trade association (FPAC) has made third-party verified SFM certification to one of three international standards, including Forest Stewardship Council. With over 119 million hectares of certified forest, Canada has the largest area of 3rd-party independently certified forests (Canadian Standards Association, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative) in the world, and 75% of this area is boreal forest.

Canada's forest products industry has taken a leadership role by actively engaging in partnerships on caribou research, and investing significant resources towards the study of caribou habitat needs. Every FPAC member-company operating in, or near, caribou habitat has been involved either directly or indirectly in research, inventory or monitoring related to caribou. This includes, protecting habitat, utilizing innovative harvesting practices, deactivating roads, and protecting key lichen areas. The number of best practices across Canada are many and varied and FPAC is currently completing a catalogue of these efforts so that its members across Canada can learn from each other. In addition, the industry is actively involved in recovery plans for caribou in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. These initiatives have provided the industry with better science allowing for the development and implementation of forest management practices that will best protect caribou habitat.

"With an eye to continual improvement, FPAC members are collaborating with environmental and conservation groups to protect and restore sensitive habitats and managing for endangered species where they exist," continued Lazar. "By way of example, FPAC and the Canadian Boreal Initiative recently signed a joint statement regarding boreal forest conservation. This first ever statement of its kind is a commitment by both our organizations to ensure planning for conservation of ecological and cultural values prior to new forest tenures in unallocated parts of Canada's boreal forest, as well as continual improvement in areas where our companies currently operate."

Forest management is the responsibility of provincial governments in Canada. An independent third party report conducted by Dr. Benjamin Cashore at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut, concludes that Canadian/provincial legislative frameworks that regulate forest management are among the most stringent in the world, and Canada has a wide array of tools to ensure compliance. Canada is well positioned in an international marketplace that is placing an increasing emphasis on the sourcing of legal fibre from sustainable and environmentally sound suppliers. Additionally, the forest products industry is committed to serving as global advocates for sustainability and addressing the problem of illegal logging and other practices that injure the image and reputation of the global forest products industry.

"If customers are forced to move away from sourcing their forest product from Canada, an internationally recognized leader global in sustainable practices, just where are they expected to get them from?," concluded Lazar.

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.

10 Key Facts about the Boreal

November 2006

1. The world's forests fall into three categories: tropical, temperate and boreal.

2. The boreal forest circles the globe between 50 and 60 degrees north latitudes and is the earth's most northerly forest region. It represents about 33% of the world's forest area.

3. Also known as the taiga, the boreal forest is the earth's largest land-based biome(1), covering close to 11% of the earth's surface.

4. More than half of the earth's boreal forest is in Russia. Most of Canada is boreal (30% of the world's boreal), and the rest is mainly in Alaska and Scandinavia.

5. The boreal region of Canada is 545 million hectares (1.3 billion acres) in size. This is equivalent to 13 times the size of California or (10 times the size of France). It represents 53% of Canada's total land area and includes 75% of Canada's forests.

6. The average age of the boreal forest is about 100. It is subject to frequent natural disturbances. More area is disturbed annually due to natural causes than to harvesting.

7. Only one half of 1% (1 million hectares) of total forest in Canada is harvested annually. This is also true for the boreal. All harvested areas, by law, must be promptly regenerated.

8. Only one quarter of Canada's forests are managed for commercial use. The vast majority (70%) of the boreal region remains un-accessed. Most of this is in the north, where forestry does not occur.

9. With over 119 million hectares(2) (294 million acres) of certified forest, Canada has the most area of 3rd party independently certified forests (CSA, FSC, SFI) in the world; 75% of this is boreal (90 million hectares/220 million acres). Canada's area of certified boreal forest is 3 times larger than any other country's area of certified total forest.

10. Canada has over 40 million hectares(3) of protected forest, more than any other country - 28 million hectares of these protected areas occur in the boreal.

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