We are troubled by the recent job losses announced in the forest industry which affect workers and their families. Greenpeace Canada is committed to work with unions and local communities to ensure the logging industry adopts and maintains sustainable practices so they can operate successfully now and for generations to come.
The fact that the narrative of “Greenpeace versus the worker” persists concerns us, as we have consistently supported workers and pointed the way towards massive job opportunities in the sustainability sector. Unfortunately this narrative is convenient for companies who we challenge about the way they do business and their environmental impact. We believe that it isn’t a choice between the environment or jobs. Canadians expect and deserve different groups to collaborate and find real solutions that work for people and the planet.
Reaching out to business about adopting sustainable practices has always been our first step in this collaboration. We know that the men and women in the forest industry must be at the discussion table if we are going to find a solution to the threats our forests face. We see potential in how government support can encourage diversification in the forest industry, develop value-add and speciality industries in the boreal forest, as well as financially incentivize adopting sustainable practices.
A warming planet is also warming our forests, they get drier, more prone to fire, more prone to insect damage, and the intact areas of the forest that are left need to remain healthy to ensure the biodiversity remains. At the same time there is a growing opportunity for our forest industry to employ the highest global standards in sustainable wood products, and establish long-term jobs in the process. We do not think that an effective solution will be possible without forest industry workers, without their unions, and without the companies that employ them. We also believe that any dialogue on solutions for the forest must have Indigenous Peoples at the center.
We are not saying that we have all the answers. But we do want to be part of the discussion and work towards solutions. We do want to talk to the industry and the workers who know the conditions on the ground best, who see opportunities for diversifying and changing in the face of the challenges happening in the global market and in the forest.