FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2012
MILWAUKEE, WI – A Canadian forestry management company has been internationally recognized for working with First Nations forest landowners to certify their lands and promote responsible forestry practices. Capacity Forest Management received the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) President’s Award today at the SFI annual conference, The Future is Decided Now, in Milwaukee, WI, attended by foresters, First Nations, government agencies and conservationists.
Capacity manages forestry operations for 17 First Nations clients in British Columbia, partnering with them to balance cultural priorities with the need for economically viable forestry operations. As a result of legislation in 2002, First Nations in British Columbia have greater access to the province’s public forest resources through direct award forestry tenures. A total of 1.4 million acres (572,000 hectares) managed by Capacity are certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard.
“Our company took a close look at forest certification standards available in British Columbia, and recommended our clients certify to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard because its principles fit naturally with their approach to forest management,” said Capacity President Corby Lamb. “SFI certification respects First Nations peoples’ rights and cultural values, as well as meeting environmental and economic concerns. It gives elders – who have a key role to play in resource management – an independent tool to ensure their forestlands are being managed to a higher level.”
During a panel discussion at the 2011 SFI Annual Conference, Ryan Clark, Manager of Forestry & Strategic Planning for Capacity, said SFI certification delivers benefits on the ground that are important to First Nations, such as protection of water bodies and special sites, and support for training, research and community involvement. He said the standard is easy to understand and communicate, and offers a competitive advantage.
“Capacity’s leadership is one of the reasons why SFI has more lands held by or managed for Aboriginal communities certified to our standard than any other certification program in North America,” SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said when she presented the award at the SFI Annual Conference. “The company actively shows its own clients and other First Nations the many ways SFI certification can meet their cultural, spiritual, environmental and material needs today and into the future.”
Lamb said Capacity worked with SFI to create a group certification so it could hold the SFI certificate on behalf of its clients, adding “we’ve more than recovered the cost of certification through improved performance.” Capacity continues to work with SFI Inc. to identify more ways to work with non-certified First Nations involved in the forestry sector and encourage them to certify their lands. Independent SFI Inc. manages the largest single third-party forest standard in the world, which is based on principles that are important to First Nations such as promoting sustainable forest management, with measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value.