Certification for the province’s environmental forest management system is a great first step in advancing and revitalizing the industry, according to the Forest and Agrifoods minister.

Christopher Mitchelmore held a news conference in Corner Brook Wednesday to make the announcement of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 certification.

Afterwards, the minister spoke about the untapped potential of the forestry sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“There is opportunity in forestry, ” Mitchelmore said. “We have a lot of fibre that’s currently not being utilized, it’s being underutilized. We have a lot of infrastructure, and we are going to be working together with the industry to revitalize forestry.”

There will be a roundtable discussion for industry stakeholders held in the coming weeks in the Corner Brook area.

“We have a lot of great assets here, especially on the west coast, when it comes to looking at our forest sector and research and development,” Mitchelmore said.

With this certification, Newfoundland and Labrador has positioned itself on the leading edge of environmentally responsible forest management, according to the minister, who added certification will have a positive impact on Newfoundland and Labrador’s integrated sawmills and value-added forest products companies. It also provides companies a competitive advantage over those who do not market under any such label.

The process of certification began in 2010 and was achieved in December. It also enables the provincial government to explore the feasibility of further forest management certification for Crown lands from which wood products companies obtain their timber.

David Chamberlain, woodlands manager of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited, said the achievement strengthens the company’s chain of custody for wood from outside their timber limits originating from environmentally sound, managed forests.

“Certification to ISO 14001:2004 is an important commitment to environmental management for any organization and demands continual improvement in order to maintain certification,” he said in a government release.