Mitigating Climate Change & Reducing Environmental Impacts
Interfor recognizes the global significance of climate change and the need to address this important issue through managing our own environmental impacts and supporting the use of wood as a sustainable construction material.
Interfor does our part to help combat climate change by improving energy use in manufacturing processes, reducing GHG emissions and by adopting sustainable forest management practices.
Our commitment to sustainable forestry practices was magnified in 2000/01 when we became the first Canadian company to achieve independent 3rd party Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification across all our crown forest lands in Canada. Since then our forestry practices have been subject to annual third party audits with the results posted on our website.
Interfor is also aligned with the Forest Products Association of Canada’s “30 by 30” Climate Change Challenge, pledging to contribute to an industry-wide effort to help Canada move to a low-carbon economy by removing 30 mega tonnes (MT) of CO2 per year by 2030—more than 13% of the Canadian government’s emissions target.
Interfor reforests every hectare it harvests with ecologically suitable species that are native to the area. Our planting program is based on utilizing seedlings that will be climate-change resilient/adaptable. In addition, lumber made from forests continue to store carbon in long lived building materials before being released into the atmosphere to complete the carbon cycle.
Wood is a sustainable and renewable material, and research shows that it has positive environmental impacts compared to building materials such as steel and concrete. Not only does it take less energy to manufacture, using wood in construction reduces the use of water and materials, as well as GHG emissions. Through the Softwood Lumber Board and independently, Interfor promotes these environmental benefits of building with wood.
We have environmental monitoring programs in place pertaining to water use, air emissions, waste management, fuel handling and spill prevention. We use third party auditors to conduct compliance audits with a scoring system to track our performance, and set a target score of 4.5. In 2018, we achieved a rating of 4.7 averaged across all our operations which is deemed to be compliant and low risk.
We maintain an internal Environmental Management System (EMS) that provides a structure to identify, address and manage environmental issues for all woodlands and manufacturing facilities. We perform regular audits to verify EMS effectiveness. EMS awareness is part of new staff onboarding and staff also take part in annual refresher training, EMS field tours, and regular reporting of issues at business review meetings.
Over the years Interfor has made significant investments in its manufacturing facilities that improve sawmilling efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and reduce GHG for processing, drying and transporting lumber.
Interfor’s approach to continual environmental improvement is aimed at making annual improvements that will have a positive impact on climate change, and reporting on our results annually. Our Environment Policy identifies the overarching goals of this commitment.
Mill Environmental Performance
2018 Achievements and Actions
- Approximately 9.8 million seedlings planted, that’s three trees for every tree harvested in BC.
- All seedling selections consider future climate changes where they will be planted and their adaptability to those changes.
- We provided Environmental Management System and SFI program training to more than 800 logging contractors in BC.
- Over 80% of Interfor’s kiln drying operations use residuals as a heat and power source for drying lumber rather than natural gas.
- Interfor won FortisBC’s 2018 Efficiency in Action Award in the Industrial Customer category for our modernization project saving 2,328,299 kWh annually.
- Nearly one-quarter of our residuals in the US South were used in renewable energy:
- 268,000 tons/year to the wood pellet industry.
- 226,000 tons/year for Interfor sawmills and local pulp mills.
Compliance Reference List
- SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard Objective 10
- Invest in forestry research, science and technology, upon which sustainable forest management decisions are based.
- Broaden awareness of climate change impacts on forests, wildlife and biological diversity.
- BC Government Climate Planning & Action
- BC Climate Strategy for Forests
Benefits of Wood
The quality lumber we produce comes from sustainable sources and is the ultimate natural and renewable building product. Wood has incredible cellular strength, and can capture and store carbon.
Experts advocate the use of wood from sustainably managed forests to mitigate climate change, and the Interfor Wood Purchasing Guide reinforces many of the advantages of building with wood.
Using engineered wood products to increase the height and scale of buildings provides a low-carbon alternative to concrete, brick and steel-based building systems.
Forests & Climate Change