Rick Jeffery, RFP
President & CEO Coast Forest Products Association
It’s time to start telling the full story about BC’s coastal forest industry and Coast Forest Products Association along with its member companies are doing just that.
With more than 38,000 people whose jobs and livelihoods rely on a healthy coastal forestry sector, it’s clear that forestry is an integral part of the fabric of coastal communities all over Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and up to Haida Gwaii.
What’s also clear to me is that there are not enough of us sharing our stories and experiences that demonstrate the significance of our industry – and importance of a healthy and modern coastal forest sector. Our sector has undergone a major transition and made enormous strides over the recent years. Today it is a sustainable, modern and innovative industry. There are so many reasons to be proud of the sector and, because of this, now is the moment when we need to start a meaningful conversation about who we are today so we can build our future.
Coast Forest’s new Our Forests – Our Roots website at www.ourforestsourroots.org is the first step at providing a platform for people to have this conversation. Whether you work directly or indirectly in the industry, live in a coastal community or simply have a family or friend connection, we want to hear from you. Need a bit of prompting? Let me first tell you why I’m proud to be a part of forestry in coastal BC.
Our industry is renewable – and sustainable. We work hard to maintain our position as a world leader in sustainable forest management and environmentally-friendly building products – and that’s good news for the environment. In BC, we harvest less than one per cent of our forests every year – and on the coast, we plant more than 17 million seedlings annually.
We provide important livelihoods for coastal communities. Even if you are not one of the more than 38,000 people in forestry, transportation or marine who depend on our industry for your livelihood – directly or indirectly – you still benefit. Our industry is central to the economies of many communities, and we pay taxes and stumpage that help provide public services and infrastructure across BC.
Forestry is at the root of who we are. As British Columbians, forestry is where we all came from. Our sector made possible the transportation networks and other services so vital to individuals who enjoy a unique West Coast lifestyle. We have created a culture of wood that has spread around the globe as others appreciate our sustainable, high-quality wood and paper products.
We are all in this together. People on the coast care about their forests, and this includes people in forestry. That’s why we make sure we consult with coastal residents, First Nations and community groups during our planning, and why most of our operations are independently certified to internationally recognized standards.
We are looking to the future. The claim that forestry is a sunset industry is itself, outdated. Every day I see advances in technology, market expansion, and endless possibilities for new products such as sound abatement fencing, nanocrystaline cellulose and green building products. We are growing and hiring skilled people. If you are looking for a career with a future – keep coastal forestry on your radar.