December 17, 2013

Suspension of FSC certificates: The Quebec Forest Industry Council Expresses Concern

Québec City, December 13, 2013 – The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) is very concerned by the potential impacts of the suspension of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates in two forest sectors of the Lac-Saint-Jean region on account of non-compliance with a number of specific items concerning the woodland caribou and indigenous peoples’ rights. Accordingly, it is calling on FSC-Canada to take action quickly.


During the last several years, in response to the requests of certain clients, forest companies have implemented certification systems regarding their sustainable forest management practices. Today, close to 85% of the public forests managed in Quebec are covered by an environmental certification process based on one of three internationally recognized standards (FSC, SFI and CSA). The involvement of forest industry members in these processes has brought about significant progress in the practices current in Quebec, in accordance with the three constituent domains of sustainable development.


It is important to note that the main elements resulting in the temporary suspension of both certificates lie partially outside of the control of the applicant for certification, which is why the CIFQ is considerably concerned. “It is vital to avoid wiping out all the efforts undertaken by Quebec’s forest industry to bring its practices into compliance with the most stringent international criteria pertaining to forest management on the basis of factors over which it has no control,” declared Mr. André Tremblay, QFIC’s Chief Executive Officer.


If FSC-Canada does not quickly clarify its guidelines, an imbalance is likely to occur between the three dimensions of sustainable development following the interpretation of a de factor right of veto granted to First Nations. “It is urgent that FSC-Canada clarify the current situation concerning the application of its standard with regard to the First Nations,” added Mr. Tremblay. In fact, several FSC certificates now in effect in Quebec are likely to meet the same fate in the next few months, since, in the short term, the FSC standard might prove relevant only to a few private woodlots that are exempt of all Aboriginal land claims.


“Furthermore, considering the haste with which Greenpeace publicized and used these suspensions to discredit the forest industry and the forest management practices current in Quebec, quite clearly the government of Quebec – given the responsibilities it has assumed under the new Forest Act enacted last April – has no choice but to play an active role in developing awareness of the best forest management practices being applied in Quebec and to promote them on international markets,” concluded Mr. André Tremblay.


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About the QFIC
The QFIC is the voice of Québec's forest industry. It represents the interests of companies in the sectors of softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, paperboard and boards, as well as engineered wood manufactures. The QFIC numbers more than 98 regular members operating in the softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, cardboard and panel sectors of Quebec, as well as 150 associate members. Each year, these companies generate $15.9 billion in business and close to $3 billion in wages and benefits, of which nearly $1.5 billion is returned to governments in the form of taxes paid by companies and workers.

Source:  Laurence Drouin
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC)
418-657-7916, ext. 411
418-564-7254 (cell)

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