From Zero Waste to Net Zero, Canada’s Forests Are Critical to a Cleaner, Greener Future

October 5, 2021

Canada’s sustainably-managed forests and the carbon-storing wood products they provide are key to supporting Canada’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 - meeting conservation targets and creating the quality green jobs of tomorrow at the same time.

Canada’s forest sector has already reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by close to 70 per cent since the early 1990’s. Today, it is committed to removing 30 megatonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking nine million cars off the road, every year by 2030. This represents more than 10 per cent of Canada’s climate change mitigation target, demonstrating that Canada’s forests are a critical tool in the country’s climate change toolbox.

“Canada’s forest sector is doing its part to support a net-zero carbon future” says Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada.  “Our sector is focussed on four activities: reducing the forest sector’s emissions, ensuring the potential of our forests to store carbon, growing our green economy, and providing environmentally-friendly alternatives to the products Canadians use every day. According to Nighbor, “our sustainable forest management practices mean healthier forests, lower carbon emissions, stable jobs across the country, and a cleaner, greener economy, all from a sector that has deep roots in Canada and world-leading scientific backing.”

As a forest grows, trees absorb and store carbon. Then, as trees age, the forest becomes more susceptible to disturbances such as fire, pest outbreaks, droughts, and storms, releasing that carbon into the atmosphere. While such natural disturbances are normal, they are becoming more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, significantly increasing the amounts of carbon dioxide and other GHGs, turning forests from climate change assets into liabilities.  

“Sustainable forest management through carefully planned harvesting and replanting using globally recognized practices minimizes these disturbances and renews Canada’s forests every 100 years or so, ensuring they retain their potential for storing carbon while respecting the wildlife and biodiversity that will help keep Canada’s forests as forests forever,” added Nighbor.

Canada has retained more than 90 percent of its original forest cover, harvesting less than one per cent of harvestable forests per year and replanting 400 to 600 million seedlings annually. Canada is also recognized as a global leader in the sustainable management of the world’s most renewable resource, managing 36 per cent of the world’s certified forests, more than twice the area certified in any other country. This independent verification also provides added assurance of responsible forest practices from a country with some of the world’s toughest and well-enforced provincial and federal regulatory frameworks.

When a managed forest reaches maturity, it is harvested, and the wood can be used to make a variety of environmentally friendly products that store carbon for many years. The industry aims to be a zero-waste, using almost every part of a harvested tree and can turn a single log into multiple products, such as lumber for construction, using wood fibre to create more eco-friendly water filters, medical masks, and paper products, and converting leftover wood chips, sawdust, and bark - materials that might otherwise be considered “waste” - into biofuels that will help reduce Canada’s and the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels. Today, almost 60 per cent of Canada’s forest industry runs on bioenergy, and that number is growing.

The forest sector is also one of Canada’s largest employers, directly employing 230,000 Canadians across 600 communities, generating $80 billion in revenue annually. About 1,400 Indigenous-owned businesses included in Canada’s forest sector typically employ between 10 and 30 people and many earn revenues of more than $1 million a year. The sector recognizes the importance of benefits of creating long-lasting relationships with Indigenous peoples and the need to increase the pace of economic reconciliation.

The emerging use of technology and new approaches within the sector, alongside programs such as #TakeYourPlace, Women in Wood, the Greenest Workforce, Outland Youth Employment Program and Free To Grow in Forestry, the forest sector offers more opportunities than ever for young Canadians, new Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples to shape the greener future they deserve.

“Through innovation, world-leading sustainable practices, and a zero-waste approach, we’re working with nature to extend the amount of carbon captured from forests to build more sustainable communities, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, reimagine the products we use every day, and creating more family-supporting, green jobs for the next generation of Canadians, “ added Nighbor. “Our sector is committed to creating a forestry for the future, today.”

Learn more about Forestry for the Future at

About FPAC

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.

For more information contact:

Colleen Ryan

Vice President, Communications, Sussex Strategy Group

e :

t  : 647-232-6867

Follow us on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
September 20, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Announces Awards of Excellence Recipients, Celebrating Its Best and Brightest
As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program – which recognizes the outstanding men and women across Canada who have made exceptional contributions to the forest sector and to forestry communities.
Read This
September 20, 2021
PEI Senator Diane Griffin & Marc Joron of Timmins Honoured as Community Champions by Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Senator Diane Griffin and Marc Joron of EACOM Timber Corporation have been honoured with the Forest Community Champion Award.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar Receives Innovation Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Fabian Glowalla of Mercer Celgar Pulp in Castlegar, BC is the recipient of the 2021 Innovation Award.
Read This
September 20, 2021
Janet Lane of Dryden, Ontario & Marc Bédard of Montreal, Quebec Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Janet Lane of Domtar Corporation in Dryden, Ontario and Marc Bédard of Resolute Forest Products in Montreal are recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Read This
September 21, 2020
Lisa Raitt Honoured As Community Champion By Canada's Forest Products Sector
Forest Products Association of Canada recognizes former minister Lisa Raitt's leadership in the forestry sector with Forestry Community Champion award
Read This
November 13, 2019
The Search for Canada's Greenest Workforce
Canada's forest industry is a top employer and global leader in sustainability, forest management, clean technology and innovation
Read This
March 21, 2019
Standing Tall with Canada's Forest Workers on International Day of Forests
Forest Products Association of Canada celebrates forestry communities, workers and world leading forestry management for International Day of Forests
Read This
February 20, 2019
Opinion | Workforce Diversity - Canada's Forest Sector Branches Out
Forest Products Association of Canada embraces diversity and encourages women and indigenous to join the forestry workforce
Read This
October 1, 2021
California Procurement Bill Threatens Canadian Forestry Jobs and State Social Housing Initiative
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the United Steelworkers (USW) fully support the legislation’s laudable intention to ensure that wood products are responsibly sourced from sustainably managed forests.
Read This
September 5, 2021
Aurelia Jas: The Forbidden Site Prep Tool: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I got a set list of blocks that were to be sprayed, and I needed to walk them to ensure that all waterways had 40-meter buffer boundaries flagged off and check to make sure that all other ephemeral streams were either dried up or not flowing. The last thing we want is to get chemicals into a waterway!
Read This
September 5, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Summer Came and Went: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I was hired as a Woodlands intern with Weyerhaeuser Grande Prairie, which meant that I would be working within silviculture, operations, and planning in a split role. My summer was filled with all sorts of different jobs, such as boundary layout, block re-ribboning, drone flying, road maintenance, and many other jobs that continuously kept me on my toes.
Read This
September 4, 2021
Aurelia Jas: Drone Flights and Road Reclamation: FPAC 2021 Green Dream Internship Program
I’ve seen firsthand the effort that is taken to ensure that harvesting is done in the most sustainable way. Recent cut blocks are surrounded by multi-age stands, varying from 20 to 60 years old, ensuring that a large span of land is never cut at once. Having multi-age stands is important in ensuring that wildlife and biodiversity still have room to grow while we fulfill our wood needs.‍
Read This
August 26, 2021
Universal Access to High-Speed Internet must be a National Priority
It is our hope that during this federal election campaign all parties will continue to support the important call to ensure all Canadians have reliable access to high-speed internet. The future of our northern and rural communities and their ability to strengthen their post-pandemic economies depends on it.
Read This
August 11, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Strongly Supports National Adaptation Strategy
Canadian forestry welcomes the opportunity to do our part so that Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy sets clear targets and performance measures for action that will better protect Canadians and Canadian jobs from climate-related threats like drought, pest outbreaks, wildfires, and floods.
Read This
July 15, 2021
Canadas Forest Sector Announces Winners of Annual Green Dream Internship Program
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Green Dream Internship Program. Winners will blog about their work experiences in Canada’s forests and mills over the course of the summer. 
Read This
May 12, 2021
Canada’s Forest Sector Welcomes Federal Investments That Spur Innovation and Pave the Way to a Net-Zero Future
Earlier today, Canada’s Minister for Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, launched a call for proposals under the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes these federal investments to help advance Canada’s forest sector bio-economy and low-emission energy future, while creating and maintaining jobs in communities across the country.
Read This