Tembec to Certify Timberlands
One of Canada’s largest forest products companies, Tembec Inc., agreed in late January to work with World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF) on certifying all of its forest operations according to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. The company controls more than 13 million hectares (50,000 square miles) across the country, an area larger than the state of Pennsylvania.
(By way of comparison, this land area is 68% as large as all FSC-certified forest land in the world today—19 million hectares!) The company has committed to obtaining FSC certification for all of the forest it manages by 2005. A portion of the company’s forest operations at their Huntsville, Ontario mill is already FSC-certified.
According to Steven Price, Director of the North American Program for WWF, this is the first time a Canadian company has agreed to certify all of its operations. WWF worked with the company extensively to secure this pledge, and the organization may even help Tembec market certified wood.
Price is quick to point out, however, that it’s only a commitment at this point. “Nobody can guarantee that they will succeed,” he said. Price calls the 3- to 5-year time frame “challenging but realistic.” It fits in very well with the target WWF set of getting 25% of Canada-U.S. forest trade to be FSC-certified by 2005.
In addition to moving toward FSC certification of forest operations, the company has just achieved ISO 14001 certification for all forestry operations, pulp and paper mills, and most sawmills that were part of Tembec on September 30, 1999; operations purchased in 1999 and 2000 will be brought into ISO 14001 compliance by the end of 2002. Both the ISO 14001 and FSC certification efforts are part of Tembec’s Forever Green® program to integrate sustainable forest management practices throughout company operations. Tembec also maintains an Impact Zero® program to minimize environmental impacts of fiber processing activities, with an implementation target of 2005. Tembec’s history may have played a role in the company’s leading-edge environmental initiatives. The company was formed in 1973 after the closing of a pulp mill in the Quebec town of Témiscaming. The mill was owned by a large multinational company, and its closing threatened the entire local economy. Rather than give up, the mill’s former employees and town residents pulled together and assembled a unique collaboration among entrepreneurs, unionized employees, the community, and government agencies at various levels. The company started up again with a few hundred employees. Now, 27 years later, Tembec is one of the 30 largest wood products companies in the world—in 2000 the company had 8,000 employees, 39 manufacturing facilities, gross sales of $2.6 billion (Canadian), and profits of CA$211 million. Tembec mills produce more than 1 billion board feet (2,400 m3) of softwood lumber, along with finger-jointed lumber, hardwood lumber and flooring, OSB, and laminated-veneer lumber. Other Tembec operations include pulp, paper, paperboard, and chemicals (particularly lignins, wood-based alcohol, and resin).
For more information:
800 René Lévesque Blvd. W, Suite 2790
Montreal, PQ H3B 1X9 Canada
514/871-0137, 514/397-0896 (fax)
Tembec Softwood Lumber Sales
P.O. Box 1100, Hwy 101 West
Timmins, ON P4N 7H9 Canada
705/360-1299, 705/360-1230 (fax) Steven Price
WWF – Canada
245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410
Toronto, ON M4P 3J1 Canada