Canfor is committed to continuous improvement in the environmental sustainability of our manufacturing processes. We consider energy efficiency, air and effluent emissions, waste volumes, and greenhouse gas emissions in assessing the sustainability of our sawmill and pulp mill operations.
Environmental Management Systems
Canfor employs environmental management systems at all our facilities that are based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Environmental Management Standard 14001 framework. Through this process we identify and rank the likelihood of potential impacts on the environment as a result of our activities and ensure our operations put appropriate systems in place to manage those risks. Our wood products facilities are audited every three years against our environmental management system requirements and the ISO 14001 standard, as well as for compliance against regulatory requirements, principles of due diligence and good industry environmental practice.
Our thermal heat energy systems use bark and in some cases planer shaving wood residuals generated from the manufacturing process to dry lumber and provide mill heat. By creating energy from the by-products of lumber processing, installation of these systems significantly reduces or eliminates our reliance on natural gas, decreases our greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality, reduces our mill conversion costs and improve utilization of wood fibre.
Many of the capital improvements for our lumber operations are aimed at improving efficiency and recovery. For example, we upgraded our mills at Elko and Mackenzie sawmills to improve efficiency and productivity; installed advanced scanning and optimization technology to improve efficiency and recovery at Houston; built an energy-efficient continuous kiln at Darlington, and added an energy-efficient heat recovery process at Conway.
Canfor’s strategic energy management plan for wood products aims to reduce the amount of electrical energy used per unit of production through capital projects and changes in employee behaviour.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Our capital improvements have led to a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since 2004. In recent years, as we have restarted idled operations and increased production, our total emissions have gone up slightly, though overall levels remain markedly lower than previous years.
Canfor's greenhouse gas emissions dropped significantly in 2015 as a result of the sale of Taylor Pulp Mill to Canfor Pulp in January, 2015.