A Gift to the World: The Link Between Printers and a Global Forest Precedent
It’s a long way from printing plants in Wisconsin or New Jersey to the rugged wilderness of Canada’s northwest coast and its’ Great Bear Rainforest. Nonetheless, there is a strong and meaningful connection between the hum of the presses and the soft sounds of the vast, living ancient forest.
In a globally unprecedented agreement announced Feb. 1, the largest remaining tract of endangered coastal temperate rainforest on the planet will now benefit from progressive new logging standards, major and meaningful protection of intact forests and concrete measures to ensure human well-being. The market now benefits from stability and certainty of supply of sustainable forest products.
It’s a remarkable achievement arising from years of tireless negotiation – negotiations that were strengthened by the ongoing engagement and support of forest product customers the world over, including leading printers and your clients.
Thanks to the commitment of market leaders such as TC Transcontinental, EarthColor, Kimberly-Clark, Sprint, Time Inc. and many others, combined with the dedication and hard work of governments, First Nations, environmental groups and forest companies, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements have achieved stunning success.
- 85% of this rare and irreplaceable ancient rainforest is now legally off-limits to industrial logging.
- Innovative and stringent logging regulations on the rest of the land base will provide assurance to forest product customers that fiber or products purchases from the region are sustainable and conflict free.
- Risk to reputational capital has been largely eliminated and customers rewarded for their patience and persistence.
- First Nations have far greater certainty and a stronger say in the future of their traditional territories.
- The white Spirit bear, grizzlies, black bears, wolves, salmon and eagles will have a healthy ecosystem in which to thrive for generations to come.
- $120 million in conservation financing, from federal and provincial governments, individuals and foundations has been secured to foster a sustainable economic base for the region and develop new business opportunities.
- And the forest product customers who made their voices heard, who played an active part in advancing conservation of this magnificent landscape, can tell their families they were part of creating a legacy for the world.
Together with our market partners, Canopy has witnessed the evolution of this region from conflict, blockades and the so-called ‘war in the woods’ to negotiation, collaboration and a win-win outcome. An outcome that would have been impossible to achieve without the ongoing engagement of the marketplace.
By participating in Canopy-sponsored Round Table discussions, writing letters to government and forestry companies and letting their voices be heard when it mattered most, leading companies, including some of North America’s largest printers, sent a strong and consistent signal: they had a vested interest in an agreement that would provide certainty, significant conservation, better harvesting practices and a stable supply of more sustainable fiber.
The supply outcome of the Agreements was verified by Rick Jeffery, president and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association, who told the Globe and Mail newspaper, “Now we have a forest industry that will provide jobs and sustainable, climate-friendly products.”
The Agreements have set a precedent that can serve as a model in many other endangered forest ecosystems the world over, including the northern Boreal Forest and Indonesia’s threatened rainforests. As has been the case in the Great Bear Rainforest, printers and other customers can play a vital role in developing solutions in those landscapes as well.
One place to start is with increased transparency. As corporate sustainability and the triple bottom line assume growing importance, customers want to know what steps their suppliers are taking that will contribute to their CSR profile and objectives. Canopy’s next update to our Blueline Report Matrix will be published this spring. Contact us before March 31, and we’ll help you make sure your ranking accurately reflects your company’s true commitment to sustainability.
If you’d like to know how to help create the next global legacy; help stabilize our climate, ensure the survival of endangered species; avoid risks to sales and reputational capital; offer your customers a unique “value-add” and secure a stable supply of sustainable fiber, Canopy would be delighted to talk with you about the role you can play in crafting future win-win solutions for the planet.
Catherine Stewart, a corporate campaigner with Canopy, an independent not-for-profit organization, has over 25 years of experience in the environmental movement on issues ranging from fisheries and forests conservation to water pollution and climate change. She was a lead negotiator on the Great Bear Rainforest campaign, brokering the moratorium in over 100 intact valleys and playing a pivotal role in crafting the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements in British Columbia.
Working with Canopy, an independent not-for-profit environmental organization, Stewart is continuing her efforts to increase conservation of the world’s threatened forests by assisting forest product customers in the development of sustainable purchasing policies.
Formerly a small business owner in a resource-based community, Stewart understands the importance of both jobs and a healthy environment to the viability and long-term future of rural communities.