Our mills and 98.5% of our woodlands operations are independently certified to internationally accepted certification programs. We planted 78 million trees and created new business opportunities for our First Nations partners.
We invested more than $160 million in capital improvements across our operations, including two new pellet plants to enhance utilization of residues at two of our sawmills in northern British Columbia as well as a new integrated data management platform for our Canadian and US Operations.
For the fourth year in a row, Canfor and Canfor Pulp made the list as one of BC’s top employers, largely because of our promote-from-within culture.
Safety remains a top priority for our company, and for me personally. We ensure we provide a safe work environment, and that employees utilize safe practices, and identify and report hazards. We were among the first to respond to the significant issue of combustible dust after two explosions at sawmills in 2012. Since then, we have invested close to $50 million in capital, HR and infrastructure improvements to control dust at our operations.
The exceptional performance of our employees keeps us an industry safety leader. Our goal for 2015 was to achieve a medical incident rate (MIR) of 2.0, and Canfor exceeded this with a record MIR of 1.90. Canfor Pulp registered an MIR of 2.12 – the strongest result in 12 years.
2015 was also a year of significant growth. Canfor completed the first phase of our acquisition of Beadles and Balfour Lumber Companies and the third phase of our agreement to buy Scotch Gulf Lumber. We acquired Southern Lumber Company in Mississippi and Anthony Forest Products in Arkansas. Early in 2016, we reached an agreement to purchase Wynndel Box and Lumber in southern British Columbia.
Our newest assets are in regions with a stable supply of high-quality fibre, and have increased our ability to produce high-value products and our geographic diversity.
While we respect the local expertise and traditions that come with these acquisitions, we are also proud to welcome them into the fully integrated One Canfor model, reinforcing our common brand and identity.
In 2015 we further expanded our offering of speciality lumber products, increased our availability of southern yellow pine and added engineered wood products to our product mix.
We also developed new markets. We opened a sales office in Seoul, Korea; sent our first shipment of lumber to Indonesia; and maintained our presence in high-potential emerging markets such as India. We continue to support the work of the Softwood Lumber Board, which promotes the benefits and many uses of softwood lumber products in non-residential applications.
At Canfor, we have long known that forest products are a great choice for the environment. Wood is natural, renewable and stores carbon throughout its life cycle. In 2015, the world learned more about the value of forests when 190 countries gathered in Paris for the COP 21 convention on climate change. Participants recognized the essential role forests play in the long-term health of our planet.
This means a lot to our company because Canfor and Canfor Pulp are both world leaders in using and managing forest resources responsibility and sustainably. We maximize the use of fibre in our sawmills, pulp mills and pellet plants – producing quality products for our customers and green energy to power and heat our operations.
In 2015, we strengthened our market position and expanded product offerings so we are able to serve customers around the world with world-class customer satisfaction.
This allows us to maintain top quartile performance while adding value to the communities where we operate and supporting the 6,247 employees whose many contributions are the reason for our success.
Chief Executive Office, Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp