November 28, 2005

FSC accredits BC's forest management standards for large, small forest operators

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) of Canada has accredited British Columbia's forest management standards for large industrial forests and small operators. This achievement reflects an unprecedented consensus involving the BC forest industry, First Nations, environmentalists, forest communities and workers.

"Bringing together such a diverse group of interests to collectively develop and agree upon the BC standards is a major achievement and all participants should be very proud of their accomplishment," said Brent Rabik, chair of the FSC Canada board of directors and strategic projects director for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries. "Forest companies now have a made-in-BC international FSC-accredited certification to demonstrate to customers globally that their forests are responsibly managed to the highest standards," he added.

The newly accredited standards allow BC forest managers to join those across the country and globally in demonstrating to the public their commitment to, and achievement of, responsible forest management. "These standards are revisions of those preliminarily approved in 2003, and are the result of thousands of hours of consultation with interested parties from across the province. The revised standard is significantly less complex to implement, while maintaining the same high levels of environmental, social and economic performance that are the hallmarks of FSC certification," said Martin von Mirbach, vice-president of FSC Canada. The revised standard builds on some of the distinctive features of the FSC National Boreal Standard, especially with regard to the treatment of high-conservation-value forests.

The FSC is a global, non-profit organization that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests through forest certification. Under the FSC system, all producers and manufacturers along the supply chain must also undergo a chain-of-custody certification to ensure that the final forest product originated from an FSC certified forest.

Market demand for FSC-certified wood and paper products is experiencing rapid growth both within and outside Canada. "The exploding demand for FSC-certified wood products is fuelled by LEED(tm) green building projects and strong commitments by the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the city of Vancouver, Public Works and Government Services Canada and others," explained Cam Brewer, president of Eco-Lumber Co-op.

The standards and other related documents may be viewed on-line at www.fsc-bc.org or www.fsccanada.org. More information is also available from Maia Becker at FSC Canada, 416/778-5568, ext 25, E-mail mbecker@fsccanada.org, or from Troy Hromadnik, co-chair of the FSC-BC steering committee, 250/426-9246, E-mail troy.hromadnik@tembec.com.

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