Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America, 22 October 2009 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and chair of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (ACPWP), came out yesterday in strong support of the World Wildlife Foundation's call-to-action to stop global deforestation saying the challenge could go even further by including a call to end illegal logging - one of the key contributors to global deforestation.
Speaking to more than 6000 delegates from around the world at the XIIIth World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Lazar held up Canada's environmental record in forestry as setting the standard for excellence in sustainable forest management and the reduction of greenhouse gases.
"Communities that earn a living from the forests are compelled to manage them sustainably. Canada understood this many years ago and that is why today we have no net deforestation and no illegal logging in our country. As the world's largest forest products exporting nation, we depend too heavily upon the health of our forests to put them at risk," said Lazar.
"We are supportive of WWF's initiative calling on others to embrace a global target of zero net deforestation by 2020. The single most powerful measure the world can take to address climate change is to end deforestation. And the first step must be to take aggressive action against illegal logging," said Lazar.
FPAC underscored the fact that it's more important than ever for the world to understand the devastating social, economic, and environmental effects of deforestation and illegal logging. Not only does deforestation account for almost 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but illegal logging greatly undermines the social and economic prosperity of billions of people the world over.
The Canadian forest industry balances the needs of the people with those of the environment. One in 25 working Canadians are employed in the forest industry and it is the lifeblood of 300 communities nationally. At the same time its operations have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 60% (10 times Kyoto requirements), while increasing production by 8%.
It is also the first forest industry in the world to commit to becoming carbon neutral through the supply chain, without the purchase of carbon off-set credits, by 2015.
And Canada leads the way in sustainable forestry practices having retained 90% of original forest area and is home to 40% of the world's third-party certified forest land.
"The Canadian industry has demonstrated that even during difficult economic times, it can set the bar high and realize significant achievements. We encourage other nations to do the same," said Lazar.
FPAC is the voice of Canada's forest producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada's forest products industry is a CAD 65 billion a year industry that represents 11% of Canada's manufacturing GDP. The industry is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in hundreds of Canadian communities and providing almost 250,000 direct jobs across the country.