TimberWest gets certified under Progressive Aboriginal Relations Program
By Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
Oct. 24, 2017 - TimberWest is the first Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program Participant to achieve the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) Bronze certification under the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program. This certification demonstrates to Indigenous communities that TimberWest is a good business partner, a great place to work and is committed to the prosperity of Indigenous communities. TimberWest is also the first B.C. forest company to earn PAR certification.
"As a forester by training I am very pleased that TimberWest has shown its commitment to Indigenous communities by undergoing PAR certification. This leadership demonstrates to other forest companies, and other companies outside B.C.'s forest sector, that strong Indigenous relations make good corporate policy," said JP Gladu, president and chief executive officer of the CCAB.
The PAR framework evaluates companies on four PAR performance areas known as the PAR drivers, which are designed to ensure comprehensive business engagement with a community. The four PAR drivers are: leadership actions, employment, business development, and community relationships. PAR certification provides a high level of assurance to communities because the designation is supported by an independent, third-party verification of company reports. The final PAR level achieved by a company is determined by a jury comprised of Indigenous business people.
Across Canada, more than 80 per cent of Indigenous communities live in or near forested areas. They have strong ties to Canadian forests ranging from traditional uses, such as for food and medicine, to working with forest companies or managing forestlands. SFI works with Indigenous communities in myriad ways including having Indigenous leadership on its board of directors, providing community and conservation grants, and fostering lasting relationships between the CCAB and SFI partners like Habitat for Humanity Canada and its Indigenous Housing Program.
"We are proud to be the first forestry company in B.C. to achieve PAR certification," said Jeff Zweig, president and chief executive officer of TimberWest. "The PAR program is consistent with our commitment to recognizing and respecting the rights of First Nations, and it provides a clear roadmap for further improvement."
Having lands certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard means TimberWest is formally accountable for respecting Indigenous peoples' rights and traditional knowledge. This includes protecting spiritual, historical and cultural sites.
"I am pleased that through SFI's MOU with CCAB, we have this strong partnership that encourages progressive aboriginal relations in the forest sector," said Kathy Abusow, president and chief executive officer of SFI Inc. "SFI thanks TimberWest for its leadership and looks forward to seeing other SFI Program Participants using CCAB's PAR certifications as a mechanism to fulfill their SFI standard requirements related to Indigenous relations."