This post is an excerpt from BCCIC’s shadow report: Where Canada Stands – Vol II.
There is no single nation-wide standard for sustainable forestry management practices. It is up to private logging companies to complete and submit their own forestry management plans for approval by the respective province or territory before beginning logging activities. Assessing the sustainability of a particular wood product in Canada is done by third-party certification programs. In Canada, these are the Canadian Standards Association and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which are both endorsed by the international Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). In addition to these there is the market-based Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
According to Satnam Manhas from EcoTrust Canada, FSC has by far the most robust environmental and human rights standards of forestry practice. It includes the rights of forestry workers and Indigenous Peoples as warranting protection, and is the only certification that evokes the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent under the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also is the only certification that requires management strategies to strive to maintain the state of the environment as it naturally was, rather than in the state when the project began.
FSC Canada recently conducted its National Risk Assessment (NRA) on “controlled wood”, or non-FSC certified timber products that come from Canadian forests but get mixed with FSC timber when processed (hence receiving an “FSC mixed” label). The goal of the National Risk Assessment is to identify risks to biodiversity, Indigenous communities, in all forest regions in Canada to avoid including wood from unacceptable sources in certified “FSC mixed” products. Christine Korol of FSC Canada notes that during the NRA process, one great challenge that emerged was the lack of available data on habitat area decline in Canada. She says that it would be immensely helpful if ECCC established a federal baseline methodology for assessing the extent of habitat decline across Canada. While WWF Canada’s Living Planet Index does offer a coarse scale assessment at the biome level, this may provide accurate enough information. She notes that this has been done really well in British Columbia with their Red, Yellow and Blue list system on ecosystem conservation status.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification…is the only certification that evokes the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent under the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.