TimberWest is a proud Canadian timberland management company with more than 100 years operating in coastal British Columbia. We employ over 1,000 people directly and through our contractors. Dozens of forestry communities depend on our commitment to responsible forestry and our economic contribution. We own and manage over 320,000 hectares of timberland, and that comes with great responsibility to the people with whom we work, the communities adjacent to where we operate, and the First Nations whose traditional territories we intersect.
Success for us is being proud of what we achieve and how we achieve it. It is in that context that we are pleased to release our 2016 Sustainability Progress Report.
The Report measures our accomplishments and sets out our goals for our future related to:
- First Nations, and
- Local Communities
On Safety, we cannot say we are truly successful until we achieve the goal of everyone going home safely every day. Our focus on safety revolves around three key themes:
(i) Engineering the risk out
(ii) Ensuring compliance with the right set of policies, standards, and systems
(iii) Driving the right behaviours and culture in the field
In 2016, there was progress on all three fronts. Notably, we are on a path to substantially decrease the highest risk activity in our operations by reducing chainsaw hand-falling, and working with our contractors across our operations to implement tethered falling machines. We are intent on minimizing the safety risk of harvesting jobs.
This initiative, together with many others, helped us achieve an incident frequency rate below the industry average. But the goal is to prevent all injuries. For 2017, we are striving for a 50% reduction in injuries year-over-year.
Our 2016 Environmental program included land grants for conservation, fish habitat enhancement, and contribution to numerous wildlife organizations, watershed round-tables, technical committees and research groups. We planted 6 million trees, secured recertification of all our lands under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and provided $740,000 towards wildlife, research, stewardship and conservation programs. Among our environmental goals for 2017, we will be launching our carbon reduction strategy.
There are many First Nations in our operating areas. It is a priority for us to form and maintain relationships with these Nations based on respect and mutual understanding. In 2016, TimberWest signed four Memorandum of Understanding agreements with First Nation groups across our operating areas, bringing the total to 10. These agreements formalize long standing relationships and initiatives related to culture, education, commercial prospects, and environmental considerations. TimberWest contributed six major log donations celebrating First Nation culture, and donated $180,000 to a variety of First Nations’ cultural projects. Some of the goals for 2017 include achieving certification under the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program, and sponsoring three First Nation artists to provide an opportunity to showcase their art catalogue at a major event.
At TimberWest, we understand the need to be a responsible neighbour. We are part of the fabric of our local Communities and we strive to do our part to promote vibrant, healthy places where we live and work. In 2016, we helped more than 100 local organizations reach their goals through a variety of contributions and donations totaling over $280,000. Access to our land base is a popular request. To facilitate safe access, we operate seven campsites across Vancouver Island. We made a landmark donation to the TransCanada trail to support the Sooke Hills trail construction in southern Vancouver Island. We have struck agreements with a number of recreational groups providing access to over 100km of trails on our land. In 2017, we intend to continue contributing to local community programs, and expect to pilot more access agreements with outdoor recreation organizations, making access to our lands even more accessible for responsible individuals.
At TimberWest, we are committed to improving our sustainability performance. While we have made clear progress, much remains to be done. We are grateful to our staff, Contractors, partners, First Nations and communities for the hard work and commitment to doing the right thing.
We invite you to learn more about our efforts by reading the 2016 Sustainability Progress Report.