Investing in Infrastructure, Technology and Environmental Performance
By embracing the highest standards and advancing innovation in our woodlands and manufacturing operations, we are able to maintain environmental excellence, keep our workplaces safe, and deliver high-quality products.
We apply the latest science to inform our resource management decisions and participate in multi-stakeholder initiatives to increase knowledge.
SFI third-party forest certification requires that we invest in forestry research, science and technology to support sustainable forest management decisions, and broaden the awareness of climate change impacts on forests, wildlife and biological diversity.
We are a founding member of an industry organization that worked with leading environmental groups to recommend new forestry approaches in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. Interfor and its partners also received WWF’s Gift to the Earth award in 2007 for this work. In 2016, the Great Bear Rainforest was designated under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
We invest in the latest technology in our mills. In the last decade, we have spent close to $700 million upgrading facilities and systems that employ the latest technologies.
Many Interfor mills have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality by drying lumber using carbon neutral biomass instead of fossil fuels. These include Castlegar, Adams Lake and Hammond in BC, and Gilchrist and Port Angeles in the Pacific Northwest. The Adams Lake Division in BC switched from liquefied natural gas to biomass in 2008, and Gilchrist Division in Oregon sells extra hog fuel to a local cogeneration facility.
Capital Investments (C$mm)
We support research to improve the environmental benefits and performance of forest products. Interfor supplied more than a third of the lumber in the cross-laminated timber used to build Brock Commons in Vancouver, which became the world’s tallest timber building when it opened in 2017.
2017 achievements and actions
- We invested more than $95 million of capital in 2017 towards maintaining, upgrading and improving our equipment and technology at our mills and woodland operations.
- We announced a $100 million, multi-year strategic capital plan that will involve a number of discretionary projects designed to improve our current operating mills. Two such near-term projects include:
- Monticello, Arkansas: US$46 million to upgrade and modernize the mill including the installation of new state-of-the-art machine centers in the sawmill as well as upgrades to the planer mill and one new continuous lumber drying kiln. Annual lumber production is expected to double, in addition to improving product quality, product mix and mill efficiency.
“Interfor is one of the largest employers in Monticello and today’s announcement shows Interfor will continue to provide good jobs for the citizens while providing a catalyst for further economic growth in the region.” – Mayor David Anderson, City of Monticello
- Meldrim, Georgia: US$17 million investment including the installation of one new continuous lumber drying kiln and upgrades to the planer mill. Lumber production is expected to increase by 50% in addition to improving product quality and mill efficiency. Once the project is completed, the facility is expected to operate on a full two-shift basis, further strengthening the local economy.
- We completed a detailed feasibility study and business case for the development of a new sawmill in the US South, with an estimated total capital investment of US$115 million. A decision on the project is expected in 2018.
“Interfor is a long-time employer in the area, and today’s announcement shows they will continue to provide good jobs for the citizens while also benefiting landowners in the region.” – John Henry, Effingham Industrial Authority CEO
- As a member of FPInnovations, a Canadian non-profit, we supported development of innovative scientific solutions and best management practices to enhance our industry and address priority needs. Recent examples include:
- Supporting the Steep Slope Initiative, which aims to improve worker safety and increase access to economically and sustainably available fiber on steep slopes in Western Canada.
- Helping to test a heli-logging cost and productivity tool developed by FPInnovations and the US Forest Service that reduces planning time and logging costs. Heli-logging is costly but can eliminate or reduce expensive road construction and associated environmental risks on steep and challenging terrain.
- In BC, we supported the provincial government’s Climate Strategy for Forests, and integrated relevant science, data and knowledge into our operations to better understand the implications of climate change. Interfor has two professional foresters who sit on BC’s Climate-Based Seed Transfer Stakeholder Advisory Group. It was an outcome of the BC government’s Forest Stewardship for Climate Change Adaptation Plan (2015-2020).
- Interfor is represented on the Forest Genetics Council of BC, which is tasked with developing strategies for where seed/seedlings will perform best with a changing climate.
- We participated in the Mother Tree project with universities, research institutions, First Nations, the Province of British Columbia and major licensees near our Castlegar operations to evaluate the effects of various forest removal methods, and ultimately identify optimal harvesting and regeneration methods for Interior Douglas-fir forests in the context of a changing climate.
- We supported work by the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and the Government of British Columbia to develop adaptation climate change strategies. Projects include Western Red Cedar sustainability and the decline of Yellow Cedar, which involves experimental plantations and sample collections for future analysis.
- In the Pacific Northwest, we are part of the Olympic and Deschutes forest collaboratives alongside environmental groups, industry, government and communities. Together, we are conducting research that leads to best practices and creates healthier forests that are more resilient against the impacts of climate change.
- On BC’s Pacific Coast, we helped the Yuułu?ił?ath First Nation, environmental organizations and the Canadian government restore fish habitat on the Effingham River.
- In the US South, we donated 15,000 board feet of lumber to Georgia Tech to support its research on cross-laminated lumber construction for military barracks.
- In BC, we enrolled in BC Hydro’s Smart Energy Program to adopt a continuous improvement approach to energy management and optimize energy conservation measures. A third party has been retained to complete a site-wide energy audit. Findings will inform further actions in 2018.
- We worked with awarding-winning architect Michael Green and DBR | Design Build Research to create a wood pavilion for a TED conference in Vancouver that demonstrated advances in wood products and technologies.
- We hire independent auditors to conduct compliance audits pertaining to water and air emissions, waste management, fuel handling and spill prevention. In 2014, we expanded our audits to include our US South mills. In 2017, we received a score of 4.5 out of 5 which is deemed to be compliant or low risk.
Mill Environmental Performance
Internal and external oversight
- 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