As we prepare to welcome 2017, I would like to look back at some key highlights from 2016 that were featured on our blog.
In April, we welcomed Wynndel Box and Lumber to the Canfor family. The acquisition diversified our product mix by adding outstanding products from southern British Columbia. Later in the year, we officially opened our Canfor Southern Pine headquarters, in Mobile, Alabama, which reflects our tremendous growth in the southern United States.
In addition to our continued growth, Canfor is playing a key role in advancing industry innovations. Specialty lumber from our Radium and Elko mills was used in the 18-storey Brock Commons mass wood structure. This student residence at the University of British Columbia will be the world’s tallest wood building when it opens in May 2017. The structure and façade were completed in September – four months ahead of schedule.
2016 brought more recognition for our commitment to business excellence, which included:
- Canfor named one BC's Top Employers for 2016 – the fourth year in a row we achieved this honour – and Employer of the Year by the University of British Columbia Engineering Co-op Program.
- Canfor received the first Spirit of Unity award from the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association for our efforts in helping build capacity and skills for First Nations people. We also signed an important collaborative agreement with the association this year.
- Canfor Pulp received the Industry Training Authority’s 2016 Appreciation Award for supporting the growth of BC’s skilled labour force.
- Canfor Pulp earned a Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation Leadership Award in the category of Employee Awareness and Training.
We helped mark a British Columbia reforestation milestone in June when the one billionth seedling was planted in the Prince George Natural Resource District. Canfor is responsible for many of these seedlings – our J.D. Little Forestry Centre set its own record in 2015 when it grew a total of 9.9 million spruce seedlings.
Regenerating healthy forests is just one of our many environmental initiatives. In 2016, we joined the Forest Products Association of Canada’s 30 by 30 climate change challenge – a pledge by our industry to remove 30 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2030. Canfor Pulp continued its support for the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative; we supported Earth Rangers, a conservation organization for children, and in July we held the official opening of our pellet plants in Chetwynd and Fort St. John.
Canfor and Canfor Pulp continue to support important events and organizations in our operating communities, including the United Way in Canada and the BC Children's Hospital Miracle Weekend. We announced we would support Hockey Canada’s Telus Cup championship when it comes to Prince George next spring, and encouraged safe dry grad celebrations. We continued the tradition of free, family-friendly summer events that began with our 75th anniversary in 2013, hosting a pancake breakfast or lunch BBQ at each of our Canadian locations in 2016.
One of our goals is to expand the diversity of our workforce. In 2016, we hosted awareness tours for young women, including Aboriginal students. Amy Rose, our First Nations Relationship Manager, joined the board of Indigenous workforce Indigenous Works, a non-profit that aims to involve more indigenous people in the Canadian economy. We advanced agreements signed in 2014 with the Ktunaxa Nation in BC by providing five bursaries.
I signed the Minerva Foundation’s CEO pledge to create more opportunities for women in our company, and we continue to look for ways to encourage students in all our operating areas to consider a career in our company, including scholarships and bursaries.
2016 passed very quickly but this look back at some of our key activities demonstrates that it was another productive year with many successes and accomplishments. I always look forward to sharing these stories with you, and welcome your comments.