We published our Sustainability Progress Report this year with clear goals for 2017, and we can proudly say we have accomplished nearly all of them; from signing two important long-term Access Agreements with membership-based outdoor recreation groups, to achieving bronze certification to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations standard.
We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight 2017, and what our team, our partners and our communities were able to accomplish.
Thank you to everyone who helped make 2017 a remarkable year.
Happy holidays and enjoy!
Committed to Safety
Safety is our first priority. Our safety program encompasses technology innovation and implementation, and safety leadership. Our goal at the end of the day is to ensure that everyone arrives home safe.
- The TimberWest and Contractor Safety Working Group (established in 2016) continued to actively meet and collaborate on safety improvement opportunities. This year the group went to Ontario to visit a DuPont facility with a world leading safety record. DuPont hosted the group and we got to collectively discuss, identify and explore safety enhancement tools, projects and behaviours. It was an excellent field trip, and the TimberWest and Contractor Safety Working Group is planning its next safety field trip for 2018.
- This year we worked with T-Mar Industries to outfit every single one of our Grapple Yarders across our operations with a new Grapple Yarder camera. The Grapple Camera provides the Operator with an improved view of the working area, which reduces the potential risk of a Hook Tender being “in the bite”, or the unsafe location where accidents can happen. Today, all of the grapple yarders operating on TimberWest land must have a grapple camera. T-MAR is now commercializing the camera and selling it globally
- Our team found a neat solution to a common musculoskeletal injury (MSI) that commonly affects the forearms of tree planters, “We knew that athletes relied on compression sleeves to help minimize MSI injuries, so we thought we might take a page from their book. Interestingly, we were the first to consider implementing compression sleeves into forestry operations. Other companies were relying on stretching and physiotherapy to combat MSI injuries – but no one was looking at a preventative approach.” The compression sleeves were a success with a reduction in MSI injury rates and a 90% retention rate for using the compression sleeves during planting.
- TimberWest works with an exceptional group of contractors who coordinate and manage close to 1,000 people out in the woods every day. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the experience and capability our contractors, and their staff, bring to the job. In fact, many of the best ideas on how to improve efficiencies and safety have come from our contractors working on the ground. The collaboration between TimberWest and our contractors helps to maintain a strong, healthy, competitive coastal forest industry. To honour the safety leadership taking place across our operations, we got to recognize our contractor’s extraordinary contribution and leadership in 2016 by awarding three Safety Leadership Awards in Safety Innovation, Best Safety Culture, and Crew Safety Champion.
- TimberWest learned of new proximity sensor technology that could help avoid unplanned human / machine interactions. The new technology adds a secondary layer of precaution to the already standardized back-up alarm outfitted on every industrial machine from mail delivery trucks to wheel loaders. The sensor technology is mounted on the mobile equipment. It becomes triggered by an RFID chip miniaturized down to a sticker which is easily applied to the hard hat of the ground crew. When the sensor is triggered by the RFID technology, a distinct and unique alarm will sound both inside and outside of the operator’s cab. This unique sounding alarm has the intended effect of warning both the machine operator and the ground-crew to immediately vacate the area and move to safe ground.
Our Environmental Leadership is demonstrated through our partnerships in conservation, and our focus to adopt best practices in land management and sustainable forestry. We understand the importance of managing our forests for today and for future generations. We have long term partnerships agreement with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Marmot Recovery Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada and many other conservation and research groups. On top of supporting these organizations annually, we also like to commit to community level environmental education.
This year, we hosted a many local events to inspire, and educate the public about the importance of sustainable forest management on Vancouver Island.
- We continued our annual participation in the fall and spring watershed tours hosted by the Regional District of Nanaimo and Team Water Smart. These tours are available for elementary school kids and local residents.
- We are also lucky enough to work closely with VIU and UBC forestry departments, which allows us to meet with future foresters and talk about our practices on Vancouver Island. We take the students through the watershed, and educate them on hydrology, geology and biology considerations in our working forests.
- This Earth Day we celebrated with a huge seedling give-away! TimberWest worked with radio stations in Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville and Campbell River to give-away 2000 seedlings, and we met with local schools in Campbell River, Comox, Cobble Hill, Lake Cowichan and Duncan to give away an additional 1000 seedlings.
- TimberWest participated in the annual National Forest Week event at McLean Mill and had a blast!
- We donated $25,000 to the Somenos Marsh Society to support the Somenos Marsh Open Air Classroom. The viewing tower and multi-use trail network will make the Somenos Marsh a truly immersive and adventurous educational experience for students, teachers and adventurers for years to come!
Partnering with First Nations
We have worked actively over many decades to build collaborative, respectful working relationships with many First Nation groups, and continually work to deepen and strengthen these connections.
- This year we were so proud to announce our first annual First Nation Cultural Art Showcase program, Identity: Art as Life. We got to feature the work of three incredible artists from the three-major language groups on Vancouver Island. The artists were Mulidzas Curtis-Wilson, Richard “Tomahawk” Thomas and Vince Smith. Thank you to Vancouver Island University and The View Gallery for an amazing seven week showcase.
- In October we were recognized as the first BC forest company to receive Bronze Certification under the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. 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 activites. The final PAR level achieved by a company is determined by a jury comprised of Indigenous business people.
We proudly support local initiatives across our communities where we live, work and play. We are also committed to providing public access to our lands to responsible individuals and organizations that respect the environment, and the safety of everyone accessing our lands.
- We contributed $100,000 to the North Islands Hospital Project to benefit culturally inclusive healing environments for community members.
- Team TimberWest opened our hearts and set our legs in motion for the Heart and Stroke Foundation raising money as the TimberWest Beating Hearts Squadron the Heart and Stroke Big Bike. We set a goal of raising $2,500, and we far exceeded that by raising close to $5,000! Our team is geared-up and ready to head out again in 2018!!
- The first annual TimberWest Campsite Photo Contest was such great fun, and we want to thank the hundreds of people who participated! Please join us again this summer for your chance to win free camping at any of our 8 campsite locations across Vancouver Island.
- We signed two important long-term Access Agreements with membership based outdoor recreation groups: The Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club and the BC Wildlife Federation and Victoria Fish and Game Clubs. We are always looking to partner with safe, responsible membership-based organizations on access opportunities. If you happen to a member, or know of a group, please consider filling out the Access Application.
- We were one of the major funders for the Trans Canada Trail Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail on Vancouver Island that connects the Capital Regional District (CRD) to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). We donated $100,000 and permitted approximately 10 kilometers of Trans Canada Trail access over our private land through access agreements with the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
- Every year, TimberWest staff give to the United Way. This year we set our goal at $65,000 – and just like every year, we surpassed our goal! Staff gave just shy of $35,000 and TimberWest matched the donation for a total of more than $67,000! This money will support local communities in Central Vancouver Island and the downtown Vancouver.
We wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season and look forward an exciting 2018!