Alberta-Pacific Awarded Forest Stewardship Council Certification

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited certifier, SmartWood, in recognition of the company’s demonstrated environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management practices.

Boyle, Alberta — Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries has been certified bythe Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited certifier, SmartWood, in recognitionof the company’s demonstrated environmentally responsible, socially beneficial andeconomically viable forest management practices.

The certification of 5.5 million hectares (13.6 million acres) ofAlberta-Pacific’s forest management area in northeastern Alberta represents thelargest FSC-certified forest in the world. FSC is recognized internationally as oneof the most independent, rigorous and credible forest certification systems.

The certification follows a comprehensive 10-month assessment according to FSCCanada’s National Boreal Standard, which conforms to FSC’s 10 internationalprinciples and 56 criteria that reflects regional conditions and practices to beapplied in a well-managed Canadian boreal forest.

“This FSC certification independently validates the direction we have taken as acompany since we started operations in 1993,” explains Andy Neigel, AlbertaPacific’s general manager and vice president operations. “The achievement alsoexemplifies our people’s commitment to continuous improvement and to ensuring theforest is well managed and forest values are protected.”

Neigel says Alberta-Pacific chose to pursue FSC certification because of it’scredibility in the global marketplace, track record as a results-orientedindependent organization, endorsement by Aboriginal people, environmental andconservation groups and business, and focus on achieving social and economic as wellas environmental standards.

“FSC certification is a good fit for our company, our customers and our positionin the global market. We are now able to satisfy requests we are receiving fromcustomers worldwide who are introducing FSC- certified paper and seeking suppliersof FSC- certified kraft pulp.”

Neigel also acknowledges the contributions of Alberta-Pacific team members, thecollaboration with local communities and conservation groups, and the leadership ofthe provincial government in its commitment to sustainable forest management andresponsible stewardship to the successful certification.

Alberta-Pacific’s Forest Management Agreements (FMA) is within publicly-owned landthat is awarded by the Province of Alberta’s Department of Sustainable ResourceDevelopment.

“The Alberta Government supports any initiative that enhances forest practices andthe sustainable management of Alberta forests,” notes Sustainable ResourceDevelopment Minister David Coutts. “We congratulate Alberta-Pacific on thecompany’s significant achievement.”

FSC’s Executive Director International Heiko Liedeker says the size and locationof Alberta-Pacific’s forest area will have a ripple effect on the supply anddemand for FSC-certified products on the global market.

“We expect other companies and other countries to take notice of the achievementof Alberta-Pacific and the progress of Canada in embracing the responsiblemanagement of their forests, particularly in the boreal forests,” says Liedeker.We know from our surveys that the demand for many FSC-certified products is greaterthan the supply. Customers and consumers are becoming more aware and are requestingmore products from well-managed forests, which now includes Alberta-Pacific’sforest.”

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and DucksUnlimited participated in the certification assessment process. They partnered withAl-Pac to identify High Conservation Value Forests and areas that should be deferredfrom harvest and act as ecological benchmarks to compare to harvested landscapes.

“Alberta-Pacific’s successful approach to responsible forest managementdemonstrates that good forestry practices can also be good for business,” says WWFCanada President Mike Russill. “This certification of 13.6 million acres of borealforest in Western Canada will result in more choices for the increasing number ofenvironmentally-conscious consumers who want FSC certified products and will helpensure communities that rely on Alberta’s forests for their livelihoods willcontinue to prosper into the future. We congratulate Alberta-Pacific’s on theirachievement and look forward to continue working with them into the future to makefurther conservation gains.”

Alberta-Pacific initiated the certification process in 2000 with the start of areview of its forest management practices compared to FSC principles & criteria. Thecompany engaged SmartWood, a program of the Rainforest Alliance, to develop adetailed audit that a SmartWood assessment team conducted in late 2004. The auditincluded verification of Alberta-Pacific’s forest management operations,interviews with more than 100 stakeholder, Aboriginal and community representatives,and reviews of written responses to surveys sent to 200 residents in the area.

“This certificate is significant because of both its size and location,” notesSmartWood Director and Rainforest Alliance Chief of Forestry Richard Donovan. “Alberta Pacific has joined in the FSC community’s journey towardssustainability. And perhaps most importantly to those interested in, or affected by,the company’s operations, this journey will include future annual FSC audits bySmartWood and continued interaction with interested parties on the key issuesembodied within FSC’s Principles and Criteria.”

With Alberta-Pacific’s certification, Canada is now the leading country in theworld for FSC certified forest with 14.3 million ha., or 22.8% of the global total.Alberta-Pacific’s certification is also the first in Alberta as well as the firstwithin the boreal forest of Western Canada.

Alberta-Pacific, a private company in northeastern Alberta owned by MitsubishiCorporation (70 per cent) and Oji Paper Co. Ltd. (30 per cent), operates Canada’snewest, and North America’s largest, single-line bleached kraft pulp mill.Alberta-Pacific is responsible for conducting inventories and planning roads andharvests in an area of about 5.8 million hectares under its Forest ManagementAgreement (FMA) with the Province of Alberta. Al-Pac is a signatory to the BorealForest Conservation Framework and a member of the Boreal Leadership Council.

An overview of Al-Pac’s Certification Assessment Report by SmartWood is availableunder ”˜public summaries’

Source: Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries