C̕awak ʔqin Forestry, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Western Forest Products Inc. Partner on New Manufacturing Vision and Low Carbon Initiative
Port Alberni, B.C. – March 3, 2022 – A first-of-its-kind collaboration between First Nations and industry to create a leading model for a climate positive future is launching on Vancouver Island. The parties will seek opportunities to harness the carbon storage potential of renewable and sustainable forest products and include opportunities for investment in innovative forest practices.
The Hišuk ma c̕awak Manufacturing Initiative (HMI), which means “everything is connected,” is an integrated approach that will tap into wood products’ ability to store carbon. Led by C̕awak ʔqin Forestry, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and Western Forest Products across Tree Farm Licence 44 (TFL 44) and Huu-ay-aht tenure and licence areas, this initiative will advance reconciliation and revitalization of the region’s forest sector. The goal is to go beyond reducing emissions to improve performance in removing more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted by 2030.
By working with all TFL 44-area First Nations, the HMI will identify opportunities for skills training and capital investment, explore potential income streams through carbon credits and green energy programs, and adopt innovative approaches to land management including extracting more wood from the area harvested to reduce waste and slash burning. This work aligns with the recently announced Indigenous-led Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) for TFL 44 which will account for present and future needs of the First Nations and ecosystems, and provide certainty and stability for local economies.
The HMI also builds on the partners’ recently commissioned study by The Beck Group, a leading forest products consulting firm. The study identified several potentially-viable options to reinvest in manufacturing aligned to the sustainable fibre supply in the region – adding value to the predominant species of hemlock and Douglas fir while increasing utilization of harvest and sawmilling residuals to support a commitment to be climate positive.
The HMI team has engaged MNP partner Jason Fisher, a forestry expert and advisor to First Nations to examine the potential options including those identified by the Beck Group that add value to the local economy with a goal to support further manufacturing investment decisions aligned with the fibre supply in the region. Fisher will work with TFL 44-area First Nations, labour organizations, other businesses, government officials and scientific experts, to conclude feasibility studies that can attract viable long-term investment that will deliver climate-friendly outcomes.
According to a study by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, building more with wood, when paired with region-specific sustainable forest management practices, can deliver significant emissions reductions for the province. Under the best-case scenario modelled by the researchers, they concluded that B.C.’s forestry sector could potentially contribute 35 per cent of the province’s 2050 emissions reduction target.
Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations
“Our approach is to put back in what we take out. Over the past five years, together with TFL 44 we have planted over five million trees, which is more than the provincial standard requires. Now, we are taking that a step further and will reinvest in ways to lead the way to a climate friendly future, guided by our sacred principles and the wisdom of our ancestors and the knowledge, innovation and support of our local communities and partners.”
Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
“The Hišuk ma c̕awak Manufacturing Initiative aligns with the StrongerBC Economic Plan to create an inclusive, sustainable economy that works for everyone. This first-of-its-kind partnership will help advance reconciliation and support the growth of the forestry sector by bringing together First Nations and industry to develop innovative, low-carbon economic opportunities. This collaboration demonstrates how inclusive growth and clean growth go hand-in-hand in increasing B.C.’s competitive advantage towards a stronger economic future.”
Elaine Oneil, PhD, Director of Science, Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM)
“Scientific studies using life cycle analysis find that the forest sector, including sustainable forest management, efficient recovery and utilization of logs and co-products, and a manufacturing sector appropriately scaled to the wood supply, provides significant climate mitigation benefits that are often greater than can be realized in unmanaged forests alone. This type of sector-wide initiative is the kind of approach that will produce long-lasting and measurable climate benefits.”
Stan Coleman, RPF, Forest Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations Forestry Limited Partnership (HFN FLP)
“Together we are leading the way to a new era of forestry. Along with the Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP), for Huu-ay-aht lands and the TFL 44 area, integrating traditional values and the input of the elders and citizens will position us to ensure the new approach to manufacturing will be able to support a climate positive future. Careful consideration and input from professionals, employees, and the broader community will enable us to develop truly innovative investment strategies to harness the true potential of wood products.”
Bruce Alexander, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Manufacturing, Western Forest Products
“Together with Huu-ay-aht First Nations and C̕awak ʔqin Forestry, it is our goal to put forest products at the forefront of innovation in the Alberni Valley while demonstrating their important role in mitigating climate change and leading the way to a climate positive future.”
Brian Butler, President United Steelworkers Local 1-1937
“Our members are proud to support this low carbon initiative and to make tangible and meaningful contributions to address climate change in the course of their daily work. This is the type of leadership and vision that will lead our forest sector forward and ensure long-term stability for workers and the communities in which they live.”
Shannon Janzen, RPF, Board Member of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry LP, and Vice President Partnerships, Chief Forester of Western Forest Products
“This initiative puts us on a path to measure and improve our progress – with collaboration, carbon and climate change as key metrics in our investment decisions. The Hišuk ma c̕awak Manufacturing Initiative seeks to benefit the entire region as we work together to be carbon positive by 2030.”
Jason Fisher Biography
Jason Fisher, RPF, is a partner with MNP. Prior to joining MNP, Jason worked as a forestry lawyer, held senior roles in the industry, and was an associate deputy minister for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. He was also the provincial lead on the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S. and on forest sector competitiveness. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in natural resource management (forestry) from the University of Northern B.C. (1999) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of British Columbia (2005). He was called to the B.C. Bar in 2007 and is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF, 2011).
The Role of Forests & Products in Climate Change
- Cooperation, and inclusive decision making, with local communities and Indigenous Peoples, as well as recognition of inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples, is integral to successful forest adaptation in many areas. SPM-24, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2022 Report.
- Restoring natural forests and drained peatlands and improving sustainability of managed forests, generally enhances the resilience of carbon stocks and sinks. SPM-24, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2022 Report.
- Sustainable forest management aimed at providing timber, fibre, biomass, non-timber resources and other ecosystem functions and services, can lower GHG emissions and can contribute to adaptation. 23, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Special Report.
- Where wood carbon is transferred to harvested wood products, these can store carbon over the long-term and can substitute for emissions-intensive materials reducing emissions in other sectors. 23 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Special Report.
- Using wood as raw material for making products can contribute to climate change mitigation. This is because wood-based products store carbon and their use can help to avoid greenhouse gas emissions that occur over the lifetime of a product, as compared to other materials such as concrete, steel, plastics and synthetic fibres. European Institute of Forestry, Forest Products in the Global Bioeconomy.
Healthy forests can help cool the planet, naturally:wood
- The world’s forests help curb climate change and global warming by absorbing nearly a quarter of carbon emissions caused by human activity—primarily the burning of fossil fuels and converting regions to farmland and other uses. By sucking up that carbon, forests reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and in turn decrease the impacts of climate change.
- This means keeping forests healthy is a critical part of removing harmful emissions and cooling our planet. Trees absorb carbon as they grow and when made into wood products, continue to store that carbon over their lifetime. Natural regeneration and planting continue this cycle. Managing our forests sustainably, increasing our use of wood products over carbon-intensive materials and maximizing their reuse and recycling is a smart climate solution.
About C̕awak ʔqin Forestry
C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership) operates TFL 44 and is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. TFL 44 covers roughly 137,000 hectares of land on west central Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Alberni Inlet and Great Central Lake.
About Western Forest Products Inc.
Western is an integrated forest products company building a margin-focused log and lumber business to compete successfully in global softwood markets. With operations and employees located primarily on the coast of British Columbia and Washington State, Western is a premier supplier of high-value, specialty forest products to worldwide markets. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.0 billion board feet from seven sawmills and four remanufacturing facilities. The Company sources timber from its private lands, long-term licences, First Nations arrangements, and market purchases. Western supplements its production through a wholesale program providing customers with a comprehensive range of specialty products.
About Huu-ay-aht First Nations
Huu-ay-aht First Nations is an indigenous community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, formerly called the Nootka. Huu-ay-aht is a party to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern treaty that grants its five member-nations constitutionally protected self-government as well as ownership, control, and law-making authority over their lands and resources. For more information, visit huuayaht.org.
About Huu-ay-aht First Nations Forestry Limited Partnership (HFN FLP)
HFN Forestry LP manages four forest tenures as well a log sorting yard known as the Spencer Dryland Sort. The tenures include private lands and Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ First Nations Woodland Licence, Community Forest Agreement and Treaty Settlement Lands.