Today I had the pleasure of participating in a panel of national industry CEOs at the Alabama Forestry Association annual meeting. The panel focused on integrating and maintaining an ethical corporate culture during the process of restructuring.
As part of my opening remarks, I spoke about how Canfor has “restructured” – in a manner of speaking – from a Canadian company to a truly global company. I shared how our expansion into the southern United Sates is a big part of Canfor’s global commitment to our customers, one that includes a strong focus on producing premium specialty products to significantly differentiate ourselves outside of the commodity markets.
Our expansion in the US south provides Canfor with high-performing operations with reliable access to high-quality southern yellow pine. It also better positions us to serve North American and offshore markets with diverse species and products, strengthens our customer base worldwide by providing a wider product mix that is more dependable and flexible, and offers supply chain transportation advantages and close proximity to tide water.
In terms of the ethics and values side of growing through acquisitions, Canfor has very much taken the view that we are acquiring business partners as much as assets. Through our expansion into this region, we acquired high-performing top quartile margin mills but also exceptional people to our management team. Our expansion into the US south has also resulted in great partnerships including the incredible and unique partnership Canfor has with Scotch and Gulf.
I also spoke about how important industry collaboration has been to the increasing the market share against both competing products and competitors. The Softwood Lumber Board is an excellent example of this having generated close to 1 billion board feet of incremental demand for wood products in 2014 alone while simultaneously improving relationships between US and Canadian industries.
The success Western Canadian companies have had working together to develop a truly new market in China is another great example of the power of collaboration.
I also believe it’s this type of collaboration that will be key to significant growth that lies ahead as the Canadian and US industries combine efforts on offshore market development for southern yellow pine around the globe. That is why I greatly value the work of the Softwood Lumber Board and am very supportive of their soon-to-be-launched global export program.
Overall, I’m incredibly excited about what is possible if we can harness the collective knowledge and commitment of the American and Canadian industries and work together to gain market share for our products worldwide.
Thank you to the Alabama Forestry Association for the invitation to participate: Alabama is an important state to Canfor and it was an honour to be given the opportunity to join others to discuss important topics to our industry.