ForestEthics Launches Initiative to Save Ontario's Forests
Toronto - ForestEthics has announced that it is enlisting major customers of forest products to help ensure environmental and economic sustainability in Ontario's forestry industry. A letter was sent today to 500 wood and paper customers in the United States urging them to buy from producers of sustainably harvested forests and avoid companies that are logging threatened woodland caribou habitat in Ontario.
"Ontario's forest industry has the chance to maintain its role as a global player if it recognizes ecological performance and long-term sustainability as key performance indicators," said Tzeporah Berman, program director of ForestEthics. "There is a growing green shift in the marketplace and we are currently in discussions with some of the largest consumers of wood and paper in the world, Staples and Home Depot, regarding their supply from the Canadian Boreal and particularly Ontario."
She said the Ontario government's recent package for Ontario's forest sector addresses only short-term economic needs and falls short of addressing long-term sustainability. Today, 90 percent of Ontario's logging is still done by clear cutting and both government and industry reports note the wood supply in Ontario is unsustainable.
"How many times do we have to spend taxpayers money to prop up an unsustainable industry and continue to ignore ecological values that are the ingredients for a successful long-term industry?" she added.
More than 200 companies have made commitments to phase out 'bad' wood, variously defined as ancient forests, old growth or endangered forests and to give preference for products certified as FSC. Meanwhile, the global market for sustainable products estimated at $227 billion this year in the United States is projected to reach $1 trillion annually by 2020.
"Increasingly, we are seeing ethical fund managers and major customers of forest products questioning supply from the Canadian Boreal due to environmental and sustainability concerns. The bright side is that they are increasing their purchases from companies like Tembec who are committed to addressing endangered forests issues and pursuing Forest Stewardship Council certification," added Ms. Berman.