June 19, 2006

International forestry leaders sign sustainability statement

Senior executives from some of the world's largest pulp, paper and wood companies signed a precedent-setting leadership statement on sustainability during the second meeting of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) Global CEO Roundtable. The statement, signed on June 9 by 59 company CEOs and association presidents, commits the global forest products industry to continuously improve its sustainability performance through action in specified core areas.

"This is a significant victory for sustainability and for the communities that rely on the sustainable management of the global forest resource," said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and president of the ICFPA. "The forest products industry has an important responsibility to promote sustainable development objectives worldwide.

"Through this statement, ICFPA members have made a clear and strong commitment to sustainable development and to working with other stakeholders to ensure that environmental, social and economic benefits of our natural resources are available to current and future generations," he added.

The commitments cover the following areas of activity.

Promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) worldwide: The industry supports SFM and is committed to manage forests accordingly. To this end, it strongly supports the development of credible forest certification systems and other mechanisms to promote SFM and improvement of forest management on the ground.

Fibre use and recovery: Recovered paper and wood provide an essential and complementary source of fibre to meet society's needs for paper, board, packaging and wood products. The industry supports and encourages the recovery of pre-and post-consumer paper and wood products.

Environmental management: The industry is committed to ensuring that its activities respect the environment, and maintain and improve the resources on which the industry depends.

Creating solutions to global climate change and energy supply objectives: The industry is committed to innovative energy solutions that will increase efficiency, reduce reliance on fossil fuel and expand the use of renewable energy sources.

Combating illegal logging: The industry strongly opposes the practice of illegal logging, which contributes to deforestation and undermines the viability of legally harvested and traded products worldwide. It encourages the development of laws and regulations, as well as effective government monitoring, enforcement and assessment of forests, which are necessary to counteract illegal logging and trade of illegally harvested wood.

Investing in workers and communities: The industry is committed to maintaining a safe work environment and improving its health and safety standards and practices. It will contribute to the economic and social well-being of its workers and the communities where it operates, and is committed to engaging with key stakeholders and interest groups, and with indigenous and other communities where it operates, in an open and respectful manner.

"The global industry is taking the challenge of sustainable development seriously, through action to improve forest management practices, combat illegal logging and improve environmental management practices," noted Teresa Presas, president of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and incoming ICFPA president. "We are committed to working through our national and regional associations to continue to develop and put in place meaningful sustainability initiatives that support our commitments, the ICFPA will regularly report on our progress."

Members of the ICFPA include the trade associations of 43 countries, who in turn represent the majority of the world's pulp, paper and wood production. The full text of the Leadership Statement on Sustainability, along with a list of its signatories, is available from Isabelle Des Ch├Źnes, FPAC communications director, 613/563-1441, ext 323, E-mail ideschenes@fpac.ca, or on the ICFPA Web site, www.icfpa.org.

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