The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, a massive environmental protection program for Canada, was completed on February 1, 2016. The historic agreements are the result of work by First Nations, British Columbia’s provincial government, environmental groups, including Vancouver’s Canopy, and forestry companies.
Over the past 16 years of the Great Bear Rainforest negotiations, Canopy explains it has worked to build a global movement of forest products customers and that this movement is also responsible for the conservation and sustainable forestry agreements coming into existence.
“Time and again we have seen the incredible influence of large global customers in ultimately helping secure this win-win solution,” said Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy. “Eighty-five percent of the Great Bear Rainforest is now off-limits to logging and human well-being has been significantly advanced. These results highlight the old business adage that the customer is always right – we look forward to helping influence positive change in other key conservation hotspots. ”
Canopy explains the early days of blockades and conflict, the so-called Wars in the Woods, with forest product customers helped tip the scales towards logging moratoria and consensus building. Their visits to the rainforest, meetings with suppliers, governments and environmental groups, explains Canopy, provided encouragement to the negotiators working towards positive outcomes for conservation, local economies and fibre supply – many leading corporations, brands, CEOs and executives have maintained their commitment to the Great Bear Rainforest over the years.
“Our involvement in the forward-thinking protection of the Great Bear Rainforest is exciting and inspiring for our whole team,” said Lisa Morden, Senior Director, Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark Professional. “By working wherever possible with progressive suppliers, speaking up when our voice could make a difference, and supporting all of the players sitting at the negotiations table, we’ve been able to play a role in creating a legacy for the future. That will always be a source of pride for everyone involved.”
The Globe and Mail, Time, Procter and Gamble, TC Transcontinental, Kimberly Clark, Rogers, and EILEEN FISHER among others, participated as recently as June 2015 in a Canopy-led Customer Round Table where they questioned BC Forests Minister, Steve Thompson, on the Agreement’s progress.
“The conservation success of Great Bear Rainforest is a testament to the tenacity of all involved, including major customers of forest products," said Shona Barton Quinn, Sustainability Leader at EILEEN FISHER. “We’ll be carrying that knowledge forward as we assess our forest product sourcing in other parts of the globe and explore our company’s leadership in forwarding environmental solutions.”
First Nations and the BC provincial government have demonstrated remarkable leadership in forging this global precedent states Canopy, continuing, "Whilst many stakeholders have toughed it out in the negotiation trenches for years, forest product customers have been key in tracking progress and inspiring solutions."
Great Bear Rainforest: By the Numbers
- 6.4 million: Number of hectares that make up the Great Bear Rainforest.
- 85: Percentage of the Great Bear Rainforest off limits to logging as a result of the Agreements.
- 2.4 million: Hectares formally protected in the Great Bear Rainforest.
- 28: Number of First Nations that have traditional territory in the Great Bear Rainforest.
- 1,000: Tonnes of carbon stored in a single hectare of coastal temperate rainforest, much of it accumulated over thousands of years.
- >25: Percentage of original coastal temperate rainforests that remain on the planet today.
- >1000: Age in years of many Western Red Cedars found in the Great Bear Rainforest.
- 400: Number of Spirit Bears living the Great Bear Rainforest.
Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Completed
The Kermode bear, also known as the Spirit Bear (particularly in British Columbia), is a subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. It is the official provincial mammal of British Columbia. It is noted for about 1⁄10 of their population having white or cream-colored coats. (Source Wikipedia, photo by Jon Rawlinson.)
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