At Canfor and Canfor Pulp, our business objectives are anchored by our core values of safety, quality, sustainability and profitability.
Sustainability is part of everything we do – from planning woodlands operations to delivering products to customers around the world. We have detailed approaches to deliver our forest management activities sustainably, and an open door policy so we can seek input from stakeholders and address their interests. We invest in our facilities to improve efficiency, work tirelessly to promote safety across our operations, and give back to the communities where we operate. In 2014, we planted 65.9 million seedlings, and maintained third-party certification on 98.7% of our forest tenures. Canfor Pulp generated 935,000 MWh of renewable energy in 2014, and our Green Energy facility in Grande Prairie, Alberta, generated 110,000 MWh of renewable electricity.
Canfor is an integrated company, which means we can maximize the value of our fibre. In 2014, we came close to 100% utilization, and announced plans to build two pellet plants in northern British Columbia that will bring us even closer to this goal. We also moved closer to our goal of energy self-sufficiency at Canfor Pulp by installing a new turbine generator at our Intercontinental Mill, scheduled to come on line early in 2015.
We engage with First Nations across our operations so we can protect areas of cultural importance and build mutually beneficial relationships. In 2014, we signed agreements that define our working relationship with the Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) whose traditional territory is home to our operations in the East Kootenay region. The importance of maintaining close economic relationships with First Nations in our operating areas was reinforced by a 2014 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada decision to grant aboriginal title and rights to the Tsilhqot’in Nation for lands in British Columbia’s central interior. We are confident this will open up further joint opportunities.
We value the contributions of our Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Public Advisory Groups to identify and address local interests. The reassessment report for Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification of our East Kootenays operations says we made good use of our proprietary Creating Opportunities for Public Involvement database to notify those who may be affected by our operations, and were responsive when we received comments.
Canfor Pulp made significant investments in our Prince George mills to reduce particulate discharge, and the results are in line with the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable’s goal for reduced emissions from all sources by 2016. We created an interactive kiosk so city residents can access real-time air quality data and see the improvements for themselves.
We took steps in 2014 to strengthen our service to customers. This included launching a global sales and transportation system so they have real-time supply chain information. Canfor Pulp began Fibre United, a sales and marketing cooperative agreement with UPM Pulp, to provide an expanded product mix and enhance our reputation for offering premium reinforcing pulp products in key markets. Through our unique Temap program, Canfor Pulp customers can optimize the use of our fibres to reduce costs and improve performance.
Our company continues to grow. In 2014, we announced plans to acquire the operations of Balfour Lumber Company, Beadles Lumber Company and Southern Lumber Company, Inc. in the Southern United States, and finalized the purchase of Scotch Gulf Lumber of Alabama. All six facilities are in areas with a sustainable supply of quality southern yellow pine fibre.
All of the companies that make up Canfor are coming together under a One Canfor vision, with a common brand and identity and a firm commitment to sustainability. They all support the communities where they operate through local purchasing and by being active participants and supporters of community activities.
We signed on early as a community sponsor when Prince George was awarded the 2015 Canada Winter Games, and supported the event by building and staffing the Canfor House hospitality centre, and by purchasing tickets so students from across northern British Columbia could experience the event. More than 500 students joined us in Prince George to watch the Games and learn more about the career opportunities at Canfor and Canfor Pulp.
Recruitment will remain a high priority, and we welcomed the fact we were once again recognized as one of British Columbia’s top employers for, among other things, our support of a work-life balance, our commitment to growth from within, our competitive benefits and compensation, and our retirement planning initiatives.
Our safety record improved in 2014 – our medical incident rate was 2.07, close to our goal of 2.0. Safety is important to me personally, and I am proud that our employees continue to make us an industry leader.
Canfor continues to benefit from the fact that more people recognize wood as a renewable material that improves the environmental performance of all types of construction. I am a member of the binational Softwood Lumber Board that promotes the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products. Its leadership is opening up new opportunities for wood, and advancing renewability and sustainability in construction.
The most sustainable forest products are from companies like Canfor and Canfor Pulp that make the effort to meet the highest environmental, economic and social standards. On behalf of everyone at Canfor and Canfor Pulp, I want to thank the many individuals and organizations who work with us to advance our sustainability goals.
Chief Executive Officer, Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp