Toronto – New national requirements for the certification of responsible forestry practices were released yesterday by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada.
“We commend the hard work of FSC and environmentalists, Indigenous People, forest workers and companies to develop a new forest management standard,” says Janet Sumner, Executive Director of Wildlands League, a founding member of FSC. “There is a lot of potential to make a difference for nature, respecting the rights of Indigenous People and maintaining healthy forest communities,” Sumner added.
Wildlands League and other leading environmental groups see FSC as the clear leader when it comes to certification systems for paper, wood and other forest products. This updated voluntary system provides an assurance that the product consumers are buying is made from responsible sources and have been verified to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards.
The new Canadian standard has requirements for FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) of Indigenous peoples, expanding protected areas and maintaining natural levels of forest types, including old forest. It replaces four regional standards with a national one, enabling a consistent level of achievement across the country.
The new standard also has unique requirements specifically for boreal caribou. Boreal caribou is a threatened species nationally, has experienced severe population declines across the country and is sensitive to cumulative disturbances in its ranges. The Species at Risk Act requires the protection of its critical habitat.
“So far, no government has stepped up to protect boreal caribou critical habitat from the cumulative impact of all sectors”, says Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager of Wildlands League. “The new FSC caribou indicator has potential to help and this will depend on the sincerest efforts of forest companies, knowledgeable auditors who are up to date on the latest requirements, and Indigenous communities and stakeholders with the time and capacity to engage,” Pearce added.
“Successful implementation of the FSC Standard has the potential to show the world how caribou conservation can be achieved by a major industry. There are several companies that embody the spirit of FSC already showing leadership. We will continue to work with them and other partners to realize the promise of the new standard,” Sumner concludes.
For more on Wildlands League’s caribou work please visit https://wildlandsleague.org/project/caribou/
For interviews, please contact Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager, 416 807 8340