Sustainability is a word often used in association with the forest products industry. It began to emerge in 1987, when the World Commission on Environment and Development popularized the concept of sustainable development as a way to balance environmental protection with the social and economic needs of humans, now and in the future. Defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," the idea captured the interest and imagination of governments, organizations and individuals worldwide.
In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the international community—including Canada—formally committed itself to the goal of sustainable development.
In the years that followed, Canada became one of the first countries to apply the concept of sustainable development to the realities of forest management. The result was a shift in forest policy and practices that saw the traditional focus on timber expand to include the management and sustainability of entire forest ecosystems.
In the context of forest management, sustainable development includes environmental sustainability (a healthy ecosystem that is productive and renewable), social sustainability (awareness and understanding of changing social needs and values), and economic sustainability (benefits that exceed costs, and the ability to generate economic value now and in the future).
Beyond forest management, environmental sustainability means making the most of the forest resource—by using as much of each tree harvested as possible and, where possible, extending the life of the fibre through recycling. On the manufacturing side of our business, it includes the need to operate in such a way that we minimize pollution.