Proceedings of the Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest
Issue 4 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Wednesday, September 23, 1998
The Subcommittee on Boreal Forest of the Standing Senate Committee on
Agriculture and Forestry met this day at 5:30 p.m. to continue its study on the
present state and future of forestry in Canada as it relates to the boreal
Senator Nicholas W. Taylor (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: I call this meeting to order.
One of the major issues facing Canada is how to handle our boreal forest. Some
in our audience may not know that the boreal forest is like a cape that hangs
around the shoulders of the world in the Northern Hemisphere, with over 20 per
cent of the boreal forests being in Canada.
Our committee has a clearly defined mandate to examine the progress our country
is making in achieving our national goals of sustainable forestry, protection
of biodiversity, aboriginal rights, and federal-provincial issues. Our
subcommittee is not just about trees, or even just about forests; we are
talking about people, their livelihood, their recreation, their traditions,
their heritage and their future. The issues we are examining keep us in touch
with Canada's domestic and global interests. In the past year, we have toured
the west. We now plan to tour Ontario and the Maritimes. We have looked at our
domestic and global interests in Canada. These include: conservation and
preservation; industrial wealth and jobs for citizens; aboriginal rights, which
are very closely connected with our boreal forests; commercial competition on
local and global scales; and the jurisdictional issues that occur between
provincial, federal and, to a certain extent, municipal governments. Finally, we
have looked at sustainable development in the use of our forest resources.
We must ensure that we see the forest as well as the trees. Let us ensure that
we look well beyond both forest and trees to what this invaluable resource
means for our country and our future.
Our witness today is Mr. Graham Lochhead, who is the Director of the Office of
Forestry and Environment of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Mr. Lochhead, please give us the view of the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Mr. Graham Lochhead, Director, Office of Forestry and Environment, Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and
distinguished senators. I am honoured by the invitation to be here today. I
propose to preface my remarks with a presentation on the origins and process of
forest certification which the Canadian forest industry believes will both
contribute to its achievement of sustainable forest management and facilitate
its international trade in forest products.
I will follow this with a review of Canadian progress in implementing a new
Canadian standard, and highlight the important role of standards in
With the proliferation of various other international standards, the new
Canadian national standard for sustainable forest management systems arrives on
stream just in time, as difficulties have already been encountered in certain
markets with respect to competing forest certification systems and related
I will close with some recent examples of trade irritants that we have
encountered in international trade in this area and remedial actions being
taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in this
As custodian of over 10 per cent of the world's forests, Canada has gained
international recognition as a responsible steward of this valuable resource
and as a leader in the development of progressive policies. Canada is committed
to achieving sustainable forest management.
Because of our pre-eminence in forestry matters, we enjoy the ongoing attention
of concerned international environmentalists who have often made a useful
contribution to what has become an ongoing, coast-to-coast public debate. We
have also attracted a fair amount of criticism from time to time.
However, not all of the criticism directed at Canada's forest industry has been
justified. There has been frequent misrepresentation of facts, as well as gross
overstatement, and some of the more strident criticism has given priority to
activities which are clearly staged to attract media attention and generate
public funding support for the critics and their cause.
To respond effectively, Canada's forest industry needed to demonstrate its
stewardship to the Canadian public and to their customers internationally and
domestically. They chose to develop a strong national standard for the
sustainable forest management of Canada's forests.
This national standard has been constructed on two strong pillars: the criteria
and indicators developed and approved by the Canadian Council of Forest
Ministers of all provinces and territories; and the environmental management
systems standards developed through the credible and respected ISO process --
the International Organization for Standards.
The first slide is a schematic showing the origins of both of these pillars or
building blocks. Down the left-hand side, we see that the UNCED conference in
Rio in 1992 called for countries to formulate scientifically sound criteria and
indicators that would allow for the management, conservation and sustainable
development of all types of forests.
One hundred and ten countries have participated in eight intergovernmental
processes to discuss the scientific and policy aspects of forests which
comprise the concept of sustainable forest management. This has resulted in the
development of eight remarkably similar sets of criteria and indicators --
indicated on the slide on the top left-hand side -- each applicable to the
forests of a specific region of the world.
There is, for example, the Montreal process -- which Canada has contributed to
-- 12 non-European countries with boreal and temperate forests. Other processes
include the Helsinki process, comprising 39 European countries; the
International Tropical Timber Organization, with 27 producer countries; the
Tarapoto process, eight countries in the Amazon basin; the Lepaterique process,
seven Central American countries; the Sub-Sahara dry zone Africa, 28 countries;
North Africa and the Near East, 20 countries; and the African Timber
Organization, 13 countries, which has not yet reached agreement but is well
The Canadian Council of Forestry Ministers spearheaded efforts to apply these
criteria and indicators to Canada. For this task, they used experts from the
academic community, industry, non-governmental organizations, the aboriginal
community, and environmentalists. The best available scientific knowledge on
sustainable forest management was brought to bear on this task.
This work culminated in February 1995 in Santiago, Chile, when the members of
the Montreal process endorsed a comprehensive set of criteria and indicators
for forest conservation and sustainable management for use by the individual
signatories, that is, the 12 non-European countries.
The second slide identifies criteria developed by the Canadian Council of
Forestry Ministers that were used by the Canadian Standards Association to
develop our national standards CSA Z808 and Z809.
The first slide also illustrates that the same UNCED conference was the source
of the principles used by the International Organization for Standards, ISO, in
their work to develop the environmental management systems standard ISO14001.
As the ISO standards are generic, work was undertaken in what was known as
Working Group 2, WG2, to develop a bridging document that would translate this
generic standard, the environmental management standard which was written for
all industries, into terms understandable by forest managers who might wish to
obtain ISO14001 certification. The development of the bridging document has
been successfully completed, and it was adopted unanimously earlier this year by
This slide also demonstrates that the process of forest certification links the
multilateral process of the left-hand side of defining criteria and indicators
with the generic objectives on the right-hand side of the ISO environmental
management process. It also illustrates that WG2 constructed its report on the
results of the global effort to define criteria and indicators for the
conservation and sustainable management of the world's forests.
It should come as no surprise to find that the ISO and CSA standards are largely
compatible, and Slide 3 elaborates on this fact. There are some distinctions
that can be made between the CSA standard and the ISO standard, and this is
brought out where there are no crosses under the left-hand column. The CSA
standard in fact insists on public participation. It also insists on
forecasting. These are two elements that are not present in the ISO. Therefore,
the Canadian standard is a stronger, more stringent standard than the ISO
standard. In simple terms, an applicant going for ISO14001 would be well along
the way to getting a Canadian CSA certification.
A word on standards and trade in general: International standards play a
fundamental role in the facilitation of international trade; conversely, the
absence of accepted international standards can retard trade. This is the
situation we are facing at the moment in the forest management standards.
With the increase in global trade, the existence of international standards
gives assurance of conformity to prospective buyers, making the task of product
selling easier by ensuring the technical, quality, safety, and environmental
aspects of a product or a service. International standards can also benefit
suppliers, by attributing market advantage, relative to suppliers who may not
have complied with credible, internationally accepted standards. We are seeing
examples of this phenomenon in the U.K., in particular where some major retail
chains are falling over one another in their anxiety to demonstrate to their
customers their dedication to environmentally friendly wood products.
In the knowledge that credible international standards are important in
international trade, many forest organizations have already endorsed the
quality management standards of the ISO9000 series. These organizations, in
their desire to improve environmental performance, wish to adopt and integrate
the recently completed environmental management systems standards, the ISO14000
series, of this worldwide federation of national standards bodies.
The main elements of ISO14001 are that the company must develop and publish a
management system showing its corporate commitment. A company's environmental
goals must be communicated, not only internally, but also externally to all
interested stakeholders. There must be continuous improvement. They keep
raising the goal, if you like, or the bar. A company must be open to a
third-party audit. The certification process is actually handed out as a result
of the third-party audit.
The framework is very flexible. Each applicant, each company, is allowed to
identify in its plan its own culture, the forest type with which it is dealing,
the ownership which prevails in the particular defined forest area, the
legislation which is applicable to their particular area or regulations, the
wildlife situation, the hydrology, et cetera. It is a very localized situation,
and it allows the company this flexibility.
The ISO forestry standard was developed through Technical Committee 207, which
developed the 14001 environmental management system. The task of translating
this into forestry matters was handled by Working Group 2, where 60 experts
from 33 countries contributed to a technical report which is now a basic
information reference for forestry organizations in the use of 14001
environmental management systems standards. This went to vote earlier this year,
and it was passed unanimously.
The ISO was formed in 1947 to establish international standards achieved through
consensus between nations. It is a worldwide federation of national standards
bodies, one in each country, comprising 117 members. Thirty thousand
international experts from more than 90 countries contribute each year to the
work of the ISO, which to date has published close to 11,000 international
standards. These standards are developed through a multi-party process involving
all the materially affected parties. These are voluntary consensus standards
and, as such, remain for voluntary use, even when ratified as national
standards by national standards institutes.
International standards facilitate and help bring stability to international
trade. They act as instruments to remove technical barriers to trade, and these
important functions are acknowledged and reflected in the rules of the World
Trade Organization, the centrepiece organization of the global trade regime.
The primary objective of the WTO is to provide a stable, transparent,
rules-based international trading climate.
The process of developing standards normally provides a forum for discussion
among all interested stakeholders, including consumers, governments,
non-government organizations and industry. This balanced participation by a
variety of interest groups is an important feature in the development of
international standards. All concerns can be discussed and accommodated, with a
view to integrating valuable ideas into the standard.
Governments understand that a proliferation of standards, each with their own
inconsistent requirements, inevitably leads to restraint of trade. It is for
this reason that a current WTO priority is to reduce the number of barriers
caused by the proliferation of differing standards.
The forest industry is currently facing this problem, as national standards for
forest management compete in the market-place against different and various
approaches, sometimes developed exclusively and with limited or no consultation
among interest groups, and which ignore accepted standards-making processes and
"Buyers groups" of well-meaning individuals have been formed,
convinced of the environmental benefit of purchasing only wood products "certified"
by one organization -- at a cost -- as being wood that originates from their
own exclusive and sometimes varying definition of a well-managed forest.
In the ensuing confusion in the market-place, the need for a sanctuary in the
form of strong, internationally accepted guidelines or credible international
standards has become more apparent. This is true particularly when we consider
the economic impact of global trade in this sector and measure the potential
costs of these unwelcome impediments to the flow of trade in terms of reduced
trade and possible loss of employment.
The next slide demonstrates the sad fact related to our discussion of the impact
of world trade on forest products upon the environment that only 23 per cent of
global forest production contribute to world trade. The remainder is given over
to fuel for cooking and heating, about 50 per cent of the total production, and
domestic consumption, about 27 per cent. It is only that bottom right-hand
segment to which our discussion of forest certification applies.
Current attempts to introduce a respected and credible internationally accepted
environmental management system standard could have relevance to the full
circle. This is true particularly if we can ultimately address this subject in
a balanced manner in the process of developing an international convention or
an international code of conduct relating to forest management. This is, in
fact, one of Canada's priorities at the moment.
This is a very strong point in favour of the ISO approach, which acknowledges
the reality that different countries, particularly those in the developing
world, face very different conditions in their respective forests and that
forest management practices accordingly vary. The ISO system of environmental
management can accommodate this. Its feature of continual improvement, combined
with its ability to accept the reality of national conditions, obligates
individual countries to pursue improvement on recognizing the present
conditions in their forests without necessarily penalizing their trade in
The subject of slide 9 is Canada in world trade. This schematic shows the
relative prominence of various producer countries in the international trade of
forest products, which represents about 3 per cent total world trade and has a
value of around $155 billion. The value of Canada's forest exports exceeds $31
billion. This sector remains our largest net exporter and provides direct and
indirect employment for over 800,000 persons across Canada.
I would like to have a word on Canada's national standard and the Canadian
Standards Association. I simply wish to point out that the CSA is a standards
writing organization, comprising close to 32 technical committees considering
various aspects of different types of standards. It involves producers,
academics, scientists, the public, environmentalists and regulators.
The process used to develop Canada's standard took place over a period of two
years and nine meetings. There was consultation with non-governmental
organizations throughout. There was a series of public reviews. There were
pilot studies to test out concepts that were discussed and developed in
committee. Finally, there was a ballot vote and unanimous approval in 1996. This
then went to the Standards Council of Canada. After its consideration, it was
approved as the national standard of Canada.
This slide demonstrates the process toward the goal of sustainable forest
management. The system I have been describing as part of the SFM standard,
continuous improvement, is applied to a defined forest area. There is public
participation in a local scene vis-à-vis the standards, criteria and
indicators that should be used in a particular area. The end result is field
performance that, we hope, meets our definition of sustainable forest
The first feature of the Canadian standard is commitment. To qualify for the CSA
certification, the applicant must commit to developing and implementing a
system based on criteria and on-the-ground performance, and communicate this
both within the organization and to outside stakeholders. This includes a
commitment to meet or exceed all relevant regulations and to engage the public
at each stage of the planning process.
In referring to regulations there, I am talking about recognizing the fact that
forestry matters are a provincial jurisdiction in this respect.
Public participation: The applicant, the auditing agency and the public together
identify values that characterize the defined forest area, as well as the
management objectives to maintain these values. A performance indicator
accompanies each management objective. As an example, if the participants value
a healthy moose or grizzly bear population, the management objective might be to
increase the habitat size. The accompanying performance indicator might be a
total increase in species habitat.
Planning: The applicant develops short and long-term management plans, including
procedures to achieve objectives. These plans are tested to determine their
expected impact on the forest area.
Implementation: Applicants must demonstrate that they have allocated sufficient
resources and controls to the task.
Measurement: On-the-ground performance is an essential component of the CSA
sustainable forest management approach. Organizations collect performance data
through ongoing field inspections, comparing results to forecasts.
Continuous review and improvement is a defining feature of the process of
certification. During the public participation process, an image of the future
forest is described in socio-economic and environmental terms and, as such,
becomes the basis of a management plan for that area. Using computer models and
comprehensive forest data, planners can then test the effects of the management
plan on forest development 20 to 50 years ahead. Today, a virtual forest can be
obtained using quite advanced technology.
Comprehensive forest data might include information such as topographic mapping
information, forest inventory, forest stand types, growth and yield data, the
age of the stand, the soils and forest ecosystem classifications, weather
patterns and wildlife habitat classifications. This requirement for forecasting
is unique to the Canadian CSA standard.
The credibility of the Canadian Standards Association has importance here. The
CSA was established in 1919 and has earned an international reputation for
integrity and excellence in standards making. Its status as a not-for-profit,
non-statutory, voluntary membership association affords the new forestry
standard a high degree of credibility.
As 94 per cent of Canada's forests are publicly owned, it is fitting that
Canada's pre-eminent standard-setting institution lead in the development of a
national system to ensure the sustainability of this valued resource.
The important point to register about the Standard Council of Canada is the fact
that this standard has been developed in accordance with the approved processes
and disciplines of the Standards Council of Canada. On May 8, 1998, the board
of directors of the Canadian Environmental Auditing Association, which ensures
professional, technical and ethical standard for auditors, announced that seven
individuals had achieved the designation of Certified Environmental Auditor with
respect to sustainability forest management. This is the first group of
successful candidates to become certified to respond to the demand of forest
companies who require registration audit.
This process contrasts with the Forest Stewardship Council scheme, which ignores
national accreditation bodies and carries out its own accreditation of
Regarding implementation of the new standards, the Canadian registration
organizations expect to begin certifying Canadian forest companies to the CSA
standard later this fall.
To this point, I have given priority to a description of the ISO and CSA
processes, as these have both been developed within the normal parameters of
national and international standard-making processes and institutions dedicated
A third process is emerging in the market-place. The Forest Stewardship Council,
FSC, is an international coalition of organizations and individuals in 40
countries, with a common interest in forest issues. The FSC based in Mexico
does not certify forest products itself; rather, it assures customers by
accrediting that certifiers of forest products meet the FSC criteria for
certifiers of forest products based on their adherence to FSC principles for
well managed forests. Theirs is a prescriptive approach rather than a
management systems approach.
There is no government participation in the FSC process or dialogue. Products
from such forests may be issued an FSC label, which distinguishes them in the
market-place. The FSC certification program, by placing emphasis on its label,
identifies its utility as forest products marketing scheme. The ISO and CSA
certification processes, in contrast, place emphasis on achieving sustainable
At the moment, companies across Canada are currently engaged in the integration
of this new standard with their existing corporate practice. About 15 major
forest products companies and 12,000 private wood lot owners, representing
close to 20 million hectares of forest, have announced their intention to adopt
the CSA sustainable forest management systems standard and seek certification.
This encouraging endorsement promises to identify the CSA approach as one of the
most successful programs in the world, and will reinforce Canada's role in
continuing to lead in the development of forest policies and sustainable forest
I will now address the trade impacts of forest products.
As you might expect, problems have emerged as a result of the proliferation and
evolution of various certification processes. Competition between the processes
exists, and there is a danger that the device of certification may be used by
some, as a non-tariff barrier to trade, to close access to markets. Canada
supports certification as a market-place activity, insofar as it contributes to
sustainable forest management. However, we believe that certification should be
market-based, independent and voluntary. This view is not universally shared.
Canadian industry has already encountered difficulties in certain markets. The
following recent examples connected with forest certification demonstrate the
diversity of non-tariff barriers being erected in our forest products trade. I
have simply plucked two, which are quite current, from a rather long list.
The Netherlands government is reviewing draft legislation that proposes
mandatory labelling of timber and timber products in accordance with rules
devised and administered by one agency, namely, the Forest Stewardship Council.
The proposed legislation discriminates and would pose an unnecessary obstacle
to international trade, contrary to the obligations of the Netherlands and the
EU under the WTO agreement. Its mandatory nature appears to violate articles of
the technical barriers to trade agreement and, through its reference to the
Forest Stewardship Council, it uses definitions with no accepted international
agreement and discriminates against other countries which may use equivalent
approaches to their forest management.
In another case, the City of Los Angeles has proposed an ordinance that would
change its rules of procurement governing temperate woods and wood products,
limiting purchases to wood certified by a sole agency, the Forest Stewardship
Council, as being wood from sustainably managed forest. The City of Santa
Monica and other municipalities in the United States are considering the
adoption of similar policies.
This creates a de facto monopoly for the single accrediting organization and
discriminates against other legitimate national and international processes
that are in place to assure sustainable forest management. It also
distinguishes between wood products and similar products constructed of
non-wood materials that do not require such certification. NAFTA procurement
guidelines note that specifications of this nature should be based on
international standards and avoid creating unnecessary barriers to trade.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has intervened in each
of these cases, noting that regulations of this nature may affect our bilateral
trade, and drawing attention to aspects of these proposals which appear to be
contrary to accepted trade practice or the rules of the WTO.
Those examples, of course, demonstrate that we cannot rely exclusively on forest
certification to resolve our market access difficulties. A credible
certification process can, however, provide a professional and science-based
response to those who would levy charges of mismanagement of our forests as
reason to exclude Canadian companies from international markets.
The ongoing task of responding to overseas criticism of environmental groups
lies with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The
department, in concert with the Canadian Forestry Service, the provinces and
industry, addresses these issues by ensuring that embassy personnel throughout
Europe and in the United States monitor and report on local difficulties and
legislative proposals in this category, respond quickly and factually to any
criticism, build partnerships with the various interest groups, and strengthen
dialogue with the key institutions, academics, scientists and parliamentarians.
Both incoming and outgoing missions have been organized to ensure that
knowledgeable parties have the opportunity to view, firsthand, the reality of
conditions in Canadian forests and to discuss local forestry practice with
stakeholders across Canada. This has been quite successful.
In this way, the misinformation promulgated by some environmental groups has
been exposed. The extensive effort by Canadians to communicate positive
developments and achievements in Canadian forest practices, and to describe our
forest management in land use policies, has been generally successful in
countering these charges and has been welcomed by customers in Europe.
Forestry is unique in the degree to which it continues to be subject to the
development of international and domestic principles, criteria and indicators
for sustainable management. The process of certification is an added tool that
can advance our objective of achieving sustainable forest management in Canada
and around the world.
From a trade perspective, an important priority will be to work with other
countries to put in place a system of mutual recognition or equivalency for the
various forest certification schemes. The trade aspects of certification, and
the various campaigns that threaten to limit Canadian trade in certain markets,
will continue to absorb the resources of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
in related review processes. We will continue to use the most appropriate
channels for bilateral and multilateral cooperation between governments, to
raise awareness and facilitate resolution of any related trade irritants.
I will be pleased to respond to any questions you may have on my presentation.
Senator Stratton: In the development of a definition of sustainable development
of our forests, particularly with respect to global warming, it is now reported
that part of the global warming is as a result of deforestation. That is not
conclusive, but that is on the agenda. With that as a background, when you look
at the definition of sustainable development, and using your benchmarks from CSA
and ISO to develop that, is the definition a moving target? In other words, as
we gain more knowledge about global warming, is that target moving or are you
talking about sustainable development just in the simple fact of being able to
reproduce enough trees to keep producing lumber and pulp?
Mr. Lochhead: Both the Canadian standard and the ISO standard have a very strong
feature in that they both demand continuous improvement. There is indeed a
circle, if you like, of trial and error, but the idea is to keep moving the bar
upward as we move along this track. There is a full appreciation in Canada in
terms of the scientific community and the research that is being undertaken by
Natural Resources Canada to add to our knowledge of these matters. It is an
evolving process. The forestry specialists would be the first to admit that
there has been a quantum leap over the past decade or so in terms of their
understanding and the amount of effort being given to scientific research in
Senator Stratton: When you say "quantum leap," that is in the
knowledge and understanding of sustainable development, and you are saying in
the last 10 years. In view of the fact that yearly records are being set on the
warmest year in the last decade, the warmest year of the century, the warmest
summer on record, the question becomes: If there is indeed global warming -- and
you cannot say that with absolute certainty yet but we are pretty close to
saying it -- is there likely to be another quantum leap? Is there a way of
measuring that? Is there a way for scientists to say to us that there is the
likelihood that there could be another quantum leap and, again, the effects it
would have? Do you look at those things 5, 10 and 20 years out as potential
sources of some fairly serious problems?
Mr. Lochhead: My understanding in terms of the amount of work to develop a
national forest strategy, and also to develop a set of related scientific
priorities, is that this matter has been discussed at length and the challenges
which have been set would indeed respond positively to your question. I am not
a silviculturist, so I am not qualified to respond to the scientific aspects of
this; however, insofar as these certification systems and the various provinces
who regulate forestry in this country are becoming more and more aware of the
ramifications of forest policies, I am confident that the requisite action is
Senator Stratton: I wish to ensure that in the establishment of these standards
we are attempting, in the best way possible, to take into consideration those
unknown factors. That is a very difficult thing to do. I believe it is called "risk
management." How would we manage if this trend continues on this so-called
global warming? You are always looking at an alternative strategy and hopefully
it is there.
Mr. Lochhead: Senator, I would offer that somewhere in my material there is a
diagram that shows this feedback of continual improvement in the process of the
standard. I would be glad to send that along.
The Chairman: Regarding ISO and CSA, what percentage of lumber exported from
Canada will have one of those stamps? Is it 100 per cent or 50 per cent? Does
every carload of lumber going out of Canada have that stamp?
Mr. Lochhead: The CSA standard relates to a defined forest area and says simply
that wood from a defined forest area has been certified according to Canada's
national standard. There is no mark directly related to this.
The Chairman: Let me get this straight. If someone in Germany buys a carload of
lumber, how do they know that it is done? Where does the ISO and CSA come out?
Mr. Lochhead: My understanding is that the letterhead of the company is similar
to the ISO 9000. If you take the ISO example or approach, the company is
The Chairman: I see. The exporter is certified.
Let us go a step further then. I notice that about 23 per cent of exported
lumber is traded. Half of it is for cooking and heating, and close to
one-quarter goes to domestic consumption. How much is exported by companies
with a recognized ISO or CSA rating?
Mr. Lochhead: None is exported yet. This is day one; this is an evolving process
as we speak. The whole process of standards and the putting in place of the
audit process and the accreditation of auditors has taken up time over the past
couple of years. I thought I had said that we expect the very first Canadian
company to announce its certification within the next two months.
The Chairman: Would you care to hazard a guess as to when 90 per cent of
Canada's lumber exports will come from certified ISO or CSA companies?
Mr. Lochhead: I would not hazard a guess, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: It is all voluntary right now?
Mr. Lochhead: I believe I made a comment regarding the number of companies that
have already announced publicly their commitment to the standard. It was 15
The Chairman: I know you did, but the commitment sounds a little loosey-goosey,
if you will pardon me. There is a line in a song that says: It may be for
years; it may be forever. What is this commitment, for years or forever?
Mr. Lochhead: To try to draw an analogy with ISO 9000, if you are running a
company and you must introduce new disciplines in terms of environmental
management or indeed quality management, it requires from-the-top-down or
from-the-bottom-up approach to refining these, what I would call, general
management processes. It is not done by the flick of a switch. It does take a
bit of time.
There are many new disciplines involved here. I get the sense that for a number
of companies out there these disciplines have not been in place. Therefore,
there has been a lot of gap analysis and new systems are being introduced. It
has been much slower. There has been a sense, in some circles, of exasperation
at the slowness. Once we achieved the actual standard, many people had the wrong
idea that it could be implemented immediately. It is an ongoing process.
Leading companies will be on line first.
There is another dimension to this, Mr. Chairman, and that is that the demand
for certified product is not finite.
The Chairman: I was going to say that this is consumer-driven, rather than
producer-driven. Is most of the consumer drive coming from Europe?
Mr. Lochhead: So far, the drive has come from Europe but -- I almost said the "disease"
is spreading to the United States.
The Chairman: Continuing on that line, you mentioned the audit and that finally
we have some trained certified environmental auditors. In our study to date,
the committee has learned that the aboriginal communities are very closely
identified. There is almost a symbiotic relationship between our aboriginal
communities and our boreal forests. Of course, that applies to other forests,
too, but we are killing boreal forests.
You just mentioned that Europe is a source of consumer pressure. I would like to
say it is a nice verse, not a bad verse. They are interested, of course, in
aboriginal welfare. Anyone can tell you how easy it was to put a boycott on a
particular company's paper product coming out of northern Alberta. Aboriginal
communities have many friends out there among our consuming pulp and lumber
We talk about a consumer-driven process and about sustainable forests and
environmental auditing. Are we doing anything about the input of aboriginal
peoples into this audit? In other words, can they say on their letterhead that
they have a happy bunch of aboriginals out there who are not sitting out there
cutting down the trees or ruining their trap lines or something like that? I
notice you mentioned "culture," but how far has that thinking
progressed in this movement? We have to show that our aboriginal people are
either happy or at least fairly treated in ISO and CSA standards.
Mr. Lochhead: The aboriginal communities have been part of the process of
developing the standard. In terms of whether or not they are represented in
this first production of auditors, I could not tell you. The Canadian
Environmental Auditing Association has handled this.
It is a very important point that you raise. I will pass along your remarks in
this regard, senator. It is absolutely excellent. It may well have been
addressed. If it has not been, it should be.
Senator Robichaud: You were saying that about 15 companies are in the process of
making applications to meet the standards or to be qualified. Are they from all
across Canada or are they from the boreal forests or more from the temperate
area? Do have you any idea as to where they are from?
Mr. Lochhead: They represent all parts of Canada, from coast to coast.
Senator Robichaud: Do you feel that these companies will qualify easily enough?
Are we are doing the right things to our forests right now that would give them
an advantage to be qualified and then use that as a tool to market their
products all over the world?
Mr. Lochhead: These are major companies. I do not particularly want to single
out any particular company, but we have major companies from coast to coast. We
do not have all of them but we have a good representation in that number.
It is certainly their intention to use this. As I explained at the beginning,
they see this as a necessary way to demonstrate their stewardship of the
forests they look after, and so they are adapting this.
Senator Robichaud: But the incentive for those companies who qualify is to use
it as a tool to market, is it not, where they can use ISO14001 just like the
others use the 9000? This is the incentive, is it not?
Mr. Lochhead: Yes, but it is not exclusively market-driven. I would not be naive
enough to say that it is exclusively one way or another. The beauty of both the
Canadian standard and the ISO standard is that they resolve the matter of
sustainable forest management at the same time as, shall we say, improving the
corporate response to any criticism of its corporate practices in its forest
area. It is helpful to have a national or international standard that you can
hold up as proof that you are meeting this standard.
I might say that, in international terms, what we have here in the Canadian
standard is very thorough and right up there with the very best. We have
nothing to be ashamed of; the Canadian standard will stand up to scrutiny. It
has a lot of disciplines in it, and some of the competing standards do not have
these same disciplines. The difficulties that are being met, and which are
referred to in my examples, relate more to the selling, the marketing, of the
standard itself. In view of the fact that it is only coming on stream at the
present time, companies have held back, the industry has held back, because the
first criticism would be to question where this product is certified. We will be
able to respond properly in a couple of months.
Senator Robichaud: You mentioned a couple of cities in the United States that
were developing or asking for their own or FSC standards. What is happening in
the U.S. regarding ISO certification?
Mr. Lochhead: There are some very different circumstances at work in the United
States. Where something like 94 per cent of our forests are publicly owned, it
is almost the reverse in the United States: 90 per cent plus is privately
owned. There are a series of private owners who are very determined to do their
own thing. We do not believe that it is easy to get consensus between 10
provinces and several territories, but in the United States, it would be even
more difficult to develop a consensus position. The short answer, however, is
that there is a mixed number of adherents to an ISO approach, or to a FSC
approach. There is a lot of skating around the trade regulations in the United
States, which are even more complex and stronger than we have here in Canada. It
is an evolving situation. It is very difficult to get a position from the
United States on some of these developments. We have seen this hesitation in
their muted support of an international convention.
Senator Robichaud: We talk about lumber, but there is also processed lumber that
is being traded through various forums. Will that apply to that also?
Mr. Lochhead: Yes.
Senator Robichaud: So if I process strand board or plywood and sell it as such,
then this ISO standard can be made to apply to that as well?
Mr. Lochhead: Yes; the standard will apply to a defined forest area. Therefore,
if the fibre comes from a particular forest area, it has the standard. For
example, Green Peace was criticizing any product that emanated from the central
coast of British Columbia -- which they renamed as the Great Bear Rain Forest.
It was an area. Their concern situation was, shall we say, overstated, but it
was directed at an area. Had that area been certified, I would think that the
companies involved would have been very quick to point that out, even though
they had indeed undergone a three-year planning process which the B.C. forestry
code and long-range planning process applies to approvals. So the short answer
again would be that the standard would apply to strand board.
The Chairman: I have a couple of short questions. You mentioned environmental
audits but, as you know, even within the environmental school, there is
clear-cutting versus pattern cutting. This may be more cultural, but there is
machine logging versus horse logging, or logging that is highly labour
intensive, particularly in some of our First Nation communities. It is one thing
to use a saw and another to have something that comes in and clears 100 acres
overnight. Has that been settled, so that when the consumer says, "I would
like to buy your pulp, but I want to ensure that it comes from an area that
created a lot of jobs, provided the price is not too high," there is some
answer? There is more than one utility company now. You can buy wind
electricity or hydro electricity or coal electricity. It depends on how you
feel on the environment. Is there, in the auditing process, any work being done,
not only respecting the type of cutting, but also on the type of employment it
Mr. Lochhead: These matters would be addressed in the public participation part
of applying the criteria and indicators that have been approved by the province
to the specific area in question. There would be a full public forum, with all
interests together, considering what would be appropriate for the development
of this particular valley. The objectives would be discussed and agreed upon
before proceeding. So if employment were a priority or, as I mentioned in my
earlier example, if an ongoing moose pasture were a priority, or indeed if some
other biological priority were in existence, the type of cutting would be
The Chairman: You are talking about the people on the ground. We concluded from
what you said that this is consumer-driven or buyer-driven. How will a buyer in
Sweden be in on discussions of how to harvest a valley in the mountains
somewhere? Because this is voluntary and because the consumer buys our lumber,
therefore the consumer is the one who is, in effect, dictating conditions, so
the buyer does a lot of dictating. How will they be involved in any process when
it comes to setting standards on how to timber out a valley?
Mr. Lochhead: They would simply be told about the merits of the Canadian
certification scheme, or the ISO certification scheme, and they would recognize
that a strong element of that was public participation at the local level.
Hopefully, agreements will be in place at the government level that will allow
for the mutual recognition of standards between countries.
Senator Robichaud: Sustainability is not only the production of fibre on a
long-term basis; it is also habitat for everything that happens in that
designated area, is it not? That is part of the whole picture.
Mr. Lochhead: That is right. That is taken into account in the CCFM criteria.
The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers of each province has agreed on the
breakdown of these criteria and the indicators appropriate. They are already
measuring these indicators to see how far along we have come in the last few
Senator Robichaud: This would be quite important to an environmentally minded
buyer who would use that line to sell his product in Europe. He could assert
that sustainability takes into consideration wildlife and habitat, as well as
the production of fibre.
Mr. Lochhead: The first slide showed that the momentum of this emanates from
UNCED in 1982. It was at that time that individual countries were challenged to
develop criteria and indicators appropriate to each country. Our forestry
ministers in Canada have done that; they have identified these and have already
started to measure these criteria and indicators.
Senator Robichaud: Would you say that in Canada we are ahead of the others?
Mr. Lochhead: I would say that we are right out there with the others. We may
even be leading the others.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Lochhead. We appreciate your appearance