By: The Working Forest Staff
Ottawa — TimberWest is the first Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program participant to achieve the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) Bronze certification under the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program. This certification demonstrates to Indigenous communities that TimberWest is a good business partner, a great place to work and is committed to the prosperity of Indigenous communities. TimberWest is also the first BC forest company to earn PAR certification.
“As a forester by training I am very pleased that TimberWest has shown its commitment to Indigenous communities by undergoing PAR certification. This leadership demonstrates to other forest companies, and other companies outside BC’s forest sector, that strong Indigenous relations make good corporate policy,” said JP Gladu, president and CEO of the CCAB.
“We are proud to be the first forestry company in BC to achieve PAR certification,” said Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of TimberWest. “The PAR program is consistent with our commitment to recognizing and respecting the rights of First Nations, and it provides a clear roadmap for further improvement.”
The PAR framework evaluates companies on four PAR performance areas known as the PAR drivers, which are designed to ensure comprehensive business engagement with a community. The four PAR drivers are: leadership actions, employment, business development, and community relationships. PAR certification provides a high level of assurance to communities because the designation is supported by an independent, third-party verification of company reports. The final PAR level achieved by a company is determined by a jury comprised of Indigenous business people.
Across Canada, more than 80% of Indigenous communities live in or near forested areas. They have strong ties to Canadian forests ranging from traditional uses, such as for food and medicine, to working with forest companies or managing forestlands.
Having lands certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard means TimberWest is formally accountable for respecting Indigenous peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge. This includes protecting spiritual, historical and cultural sites.
“I am pleased that through SFI’s MOU with CCAB, we have this strong partnership that encourages progressive aboriginal relations in the forest sector,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc. “SFI thanks TimberWest for its leadership and looks forward to seeing other SFI Program Participants using CCAB’s PAR certifications as a mechanism to fulfill their SFI standard requirements related to Indigenous relations.”
Sustainable Forestry Initiative is an independent, non-profit organization that provides supply chain assurances, produces conservation outcomes, and supports education and community engagement.