VANCOUVER — Setting the course for the next three years of global responsible forest management, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is holding a week-long general assembly in Vancouver.
Approximately 800 members from more than 80 countries are expected to gather at the city’s Westin Bayshore Hotel to discuss policy issues that affect 200 million hectares of forests worldwide and will set the direction of the organization for the coming years.
As holder of vast natural forest resources, Canada boasts one of the largest global shares of FSC certification with 55 million hectares of forests certified. This includes parts of the boreal, a key biome for Canada’s forestry industry. This year’s general assembly will include strategic discussions centered on analyzing how this type of forest compares to other regions with regard to major issues such as deforestation, risks, social responsibility and respect for Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Ensuring the rights and participation of Indigenous Peoples in forest development is equally on the agenda. Through its Aboriginal Peoples Chamber, FSC Canada has been leading as a model for including Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the decision-making process of forestry management.
“This is a vital time in the development of FSC and forest certification as we address the issues that are key to the success not just of FSC but the future of the world’s forests,” said Kim Carstensen, director general of FSC. “We made a lot of progress at our last general assembly in 2014 with the launch of several new initiatives. In Vancouver we will review how we have progressed and chart a clear path forward to continue our work.”
One of the highlights of the General Assembly is the High Level Forum and side events. The first High Level Forum will be dedicated to The True Value of Forests, where participants will discuss the extent of the contribution of forests to society. The Forum’s second day will be on Solid Wood, which will include discussions on identifying the market drivers for certified solid wood products regionally and internationally and the increasing importance of green building. The final High Level Forum debate, FSC in our Daily Lives, will explore how companies are leading the way in promoting sustainable consumer trends.
Confirmed speakers at the General Assembly are Luc Blanchette, Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks; Doug Donaldson, British Columbia Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development; Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change of the Government of Canada; and Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Services of Natural Resources Canada.
Among the speakers participating in the High Level Forum are Michael Green, a Vancouver-based architect who is leading the use of wood in construction; Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation; and Sarah Chandler, Director of Operations, Product Development and Environmental Initiatives at Apple Inc.
Numerous side events at the General Assembly will also offer engaging debates on the current issues that directly touch upon world forestry. Canada’s Boreal forest will be a highlight of these where participants will be able to understand the importance this biome has for Canada’s forestry industry and the global environment.
“We look forward to hosting delegates from around the world at the General Assembly in Vancouver and collaborating on vital decisions that will affect how our forest certification process will meet the requirement for responsible forestry in the 21st century,” said François Dufresne, president, FSC Canada. “The collaborative process of FSC in addressing these issues with all stakeholders present is the key to our success.”
SIG is the Green Sponsor for the 2017 FSC general assembly. Additional support for the FSC general assembly is provided by: Kingfisher, Fibria, IKEA, CMPC, TetraPak, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, Precious Woods, Mondi, Lenzing, Klabin, Sappi, Arauco, Greenberg Traurig, Tembec, Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill, Air Canada, WWF, Sveaskog, National Wildlife Federation, Mercer and BWI.
Full details about the General Assembly are available at www.ga2017.fsc.org