Canfor invests in biofuel plant

Michelle Ward

Canfor recently announced its bold ambition to become a leader in sustainability. This vision includes commitments to sustainable forestry, a stronger focus on safety, health, wellness, inclusion, and diversity amongst its employees, and strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities. 

Canfor is a leading integrated forest products company based in Vancouver, BC, with interests in BC, Alberta, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Sweden, with 70% interest in Vida Group.

Canfor is also announcing its positive final investment decision supporting the construction of the first phase of Arbios Biotech’s innovative biomass to low carbon biofuel plant in Prince George, British Columbia. The plant will use first-of-a-kind technology to convert sawmill residues, primarily bark, into high-value renewable biocrude, which can be further processed in refineries to produce low-carbon transportation fuels. Arbios is a joint venture between Canfor and Licella Holdings Ltd.

“Today, we begin an ambitious sustainability journey that will change how we work and the impact we have on our communities and the planet. We imagine a future as sustainable as our forests,” said Don Kayne, President and CEO, Canfor. “This is an opportunity as much as it is our responsibility. Sustainable solutions are in demand around the world. Customers consider environmental and social impact a priority when making their buying decisions. Employees want to work for a company that’s protecting and nurturing their environment and communities. Together we will frame the future.”

“As part of our sustainability journey, Canfor is committed to growing our business to include bio-materials and bio-innovation to support a low carbon future. Our decision, as part of the Arbios joint venture, to support investment in a state-of-the-art biomass to low carbon biofuel plant in British Columbia is a demonstration of our commitment. We are also building a Bio-Innovation team that will unlock the full value of each log by developing and commercializing new opportunities,” added Kayne.

The launch of this strategy marks a new era in sustainability for the company. The vision of creating a future as sustainable as the forests are grounded in Canfor’s deep respect for the people its business touches, the products they create, and the planet everyone relies on to thrive. This strategy is built on three critical pillars of People, Products, Planet and brings to life five focus areas in which the business can make the most tangible impact. The five focus areas and associated targets include:

Safety, Health, and Wellness: Canfor is committed to a zero-incident workplace and supporting the health and wellness of its people.

  • 10% improvement year over year on Total Recordable Incident Frequency (TRIF)
  • Achieve 98% performance on Return-to-Work relative to medical Recovery Time Standards by 2023
  • Inclusion and Diversity: Canfor will foster a more inclusive and equitable culture and increase diversity in the workforce.
  • 30% under-represented groups in executive leadership positions by 2030
  • 30% under-represented groups in all other senior leadership positions by 2025
  • 33% under-represented groups for new hires annually by 2025
  • 50% under-represented groups for new hires annually by 2030
  • 100% availability of gender-specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all operations in North America by 2023
  • Achieve 100% completion of Inclusion and Diversity awareness training for all staff across North America by the end of 2021.
  • Launch inclusive leadership training, tools, and resources for supervisors and managers across North America by 2022.
  • Indigenous Relations: Canfor aspires to be a partner of choice for Indigenous Peoples, a privilege afforded by fostering solid relationships and deeply respecting Indigenous histories, cultures, values, and beliefs. Canfor commits to co-creating lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships that advance Indigenous Peoples’ social, economic, and environmental priorities.
  • 100% of operating area covered by agreements with willing Indigenous Nations by 2030
  • Achieve 100% participation in Indigenous Cultural Awareness and Understanding training for all Canadian staff by 2021.
  • 5% of total spend with Indigenous vendors for Canfor’s Wood Products Canada business by 2025.

Sustainable Forestry: Canfor is committed to practicing world-class sustainable forestry, resulting in resilient, productive, and biodiverse forests. They commit to building collaborative partnerships and developing innovative solutions to contribute positively to forest health and climate change mitigation.

  • Maintain 100% certification to SFI or FSC forest management standards for all Canfor-managed forests.
  • Enhance the climate change resilience and future productivity of forests by implementing credible science-based sustainable forest management practices.
  • Achieve 100% certification to the SFI Fibre Sourcing Standard for all sourced timber in the U.S.
  • Support U.S. land and woodlot owners to achieve 50% of SFI forest management or American Tree Farm System certification by 2030
  • Maintain biodiversity and habitat for wildlife by employing ecosystem-based management and collaborative partnerships, with particular consideration for species at risk.
  • Conserve water quality and fish habitat by implementing best management practices to minimize erosion and sedimentation.

“Over the coming years, we will further define our sustainability goals and targets and implement a comprehensive roadmap in our journey to become a sustainability leader,” added Kayne.

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