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Port Hawkesbury Paper upgrades to FSC national standard


June 8, 2021
By P&PC Staff

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Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) has been certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) national standard for responsible forest management in Canada.

The Nova Scotia–based company had previously been certified to the FSC’s Maritime certification. The new national standard was developed to replace the four regional standards in Canada, and is considered more comprehensive and rigorous than the previous regional standards.

Some of the key differences are:

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  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC): New requirements for completing an FPIC process with Indigenous Peoples to ensure that forest management activities do not negatively impact their identified legal and customary rights upon which their cultures and livelihoods depend.
  • Stakeholder and culturally appropriate engagement: Includes broader requirements around how to engage with stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples on PHP’s forest management planning, as well as the development of a dispute resolution process for complaints that may affect local communities and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Ecology and forest management: A requirement to develop a pre-industrial condition report or range of natural variation report as a benchmark for what the forest looked like before management so appropriate targets can be set to maintain or return the forest to a more natural condition.
  • Additional requirements around identifying a conservation area network and ecological gap analysis.

“Port Hawkesbury Paper is a company long committed to sustainable forest management, and our business is predicated upon responsible forestry practices,” says co-mill manager Bevan Lock in a statement.

“We want to ensure accountability and transparency in our forest management efforts, so maintaining and complying to internationally recognized third-party certifications, like FSC, is critical for our business and our customers.”

The Crown lands licensed to PHP under the Forest Utilization License Agreement with the province of Nova Scotia have been certified to the FSC Maritime Standard for Best Forestry Practices since 2008.

The transition to the new national standard for Canada did not interrupt PHP’s maintenance of its FSC certification for responsible forest management.

The national standard certification process is ongoing, and various sections of the standard will be audited annually within the transition period allowed by FSC Canada.

PHP is the only industrial company in the Maritimes that is independently certified to the FSC forest management and chain of custody standards, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) forest management and chain of custody standards, and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) chain of custody standard.