Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Agreement will sustain boreal forest and protect endangered caribou

An agreement has been reached between 9 conservation groups and the 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association (FPAC) that may go a long way towards preservation of Canada's boreal forest and protecting the threatened woodland caribou. The agreement, which covers about 66% of commercial forests in Canada  in a band that stretches from coast to coast, will be of particular interest to publishers who pay close attention to the sourcing of the paper that they use to make their magazines.
According to a release about the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, FPAC member companies manage 2/3 of the certified forest lands in Canada. They have now agreed to suspend logging on nearly 29 million hectares of boreal forest (an area the size of Italy). In return, the conservation groups have agreed to suspend their "Do Not Buy" campaigns led by Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), Forest Ethics and Greenpeace.
The logging and paper-making companies have won assurances that they will continue to have sufficient fibre for their businesses, using a plan (to be worked out) of comprehensive forest management and harvesting practices.Talks are continuing with provincial government and first nations communities, recognizing their rights, particularly aboriginal and treaty rights; the progress achieved in implementing the agreement will be monitored by an agreed-upon independent auditor.
Canopy points out that this is but the first step in a multi-year program, requiring the translation of principled agreement into specific reality on the ground. The organization -- which has been instrumental in coaxing Canadian printers and  publishers to switch to sustainable or "green" paper -- gave credit to those partners' support in achieving the agreement:
By providing the market incentive for green products and engaging suppliers on issues of conservation concern over the past 5-10 years, many of Canopy’s publishing and print partners have been key in helping secure today’s agreement. As we move forward with implementing the initiative, these large corporate paper consumers will play a critical role in ensuring we secure the ambitious conservation goals and is ultimately rewarded in the marketplace.
The parties to the agreement gave credit to the Pew Environment Group and the Ivey Foundation for bringing the two sides together and facilitating negotiations. 
“For years we have helped bring opposing parties together to conserve this global treasure, Canada’s boreal forest,” said Steve Kallick, director of the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign. “We’re thrilled that this effort has led to the largest commercial forest conservation plan in history, which could not have happened without both sides looking beyond their differences. As important as today’s announcement is, our ultimate success will be measured by how we tackle the work ahead to put this plan into practice.”

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