April 19, 2004

New organization will cultivate leadership in sustainable forestry

A new initiative, aimed at developing leadership to promote sustainable forestry, was announced April 1 in Vancouver, BC. ForestLeadership will focus on critical areas of leadership development, including conferences, professional training, cutting-edge information tools, annual awards and career development. It will be incorporated as a non-profit organization, with headquarters in Montreal, and will begin delivering services in 2004. Its first conference is planned for 2005.

"Balancing economic, environmental and social concerns is essential to sustain forests, yet it is highly complex and requires considerable leadership skills," says Jean-Pierre Kiekens, initiator of ForestLeadership. "We intend to provide forest sector professionals and stakeholders an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills, through a new initiative specifically tailored to that endeavour."

The organization will be developed with guidance from a ForestLeadership advisory network made up of several prominent leaders in sustainable forestry. The current members are: Bill Banzhaf, president of the Sustainable Forestry Board; Michael Goergen, executive vice-president and CEO of the Society of American Foresters; John Innes, professor of forest renewal and holder of the BC Chair in Forest Management at the University of British Columbia; Peter Johnson, program manager for CSA International; Heiko Liedeker, executive director of the Forest Stewardship Council International; Maharaj Muthoo, president of the Roman Forum and president of Agronomes et forestiers sans frontiËres; Cassie Philips, vice-president of sustainable forestry for Weyerhaeuser; and Mike Willick, assistant deputy Minister, Forests Division, with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

While already engaging a range of organizations through its advisory network, ForestLeadership will build further partnerships with diverse parties involved in sustainable forestry, including corporations, governmental agencies, environmental and social non-governmental organizations, landowners associations, indigenous peoples organizations, charitable foundations, professional organizations and universities.

The creation of ForestLeadership was announced on the occasion of the fifth Certification Watch Conference, one of North America's most prominent strategic gatherings addressing sustainable forestry, responsible procurement and related questions. More information is available from ForestLeadership, E-mail info@ForestLeadership.com.

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