TD Bank's new program aimed at reducing the use of paper has caught the attention of foresters in Canada.
TD Bank has recently announced its new program, TD Forests, which is a conservation plan designed to reduce consumption and "protect" more than 300,000 trees every year. As per the program, TD states its goal of reducing paper consumption by 20% by 2015, and "increase the amount of protected forest areas in North America."
The description on the website explains further the motivation behind the program:
"By choosing to conserve forests, TD isn’t just protecting the trees — we're helping to protect all of the life that lives in-between. To ensure that we focus on areas of critical forest habitat, we’re partnering with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its conservation partners. Each year we will track our paper use, calculate the equivalent area of forest, and then the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its conservation partners will protect the equivalent amount of critical forest habitat. Together, we'll be able to protect one of North America’s most valuable resources and all of the plants and animals that live within the forest."
The program, while seeming to have good intentions, seems to paint a negative picture of forestry practices that have been in effect for centuries. The Canadian Institute of Forestry wrote an open letter to Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer of TD Canada Trust, in order to share its perspective on a delicate subject.
The highlights of the open letter point out that the use of wood products in building new homes and offices is an important part of what defines and fosters true sustainability, and that the use of wood products is also clearly proven to have a significantly smaller environmental and carbon footprint than other building and structural products, such as steel and concrete.
Better yet, the letter also makes mention that TD Bank provides funds for many new home construction projects where choosing wood first is encouraged, and that the TD Forests program could be in contradiction to this.
Below is the entire letter. Let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms. Clarke-Whistler (Chief Environment Officer TD Canada Trust).
Congratulations on your new program TD Forests. Several of our members noticed your recent on-line announcement: http://www.td.com/corporate-responsibility/tdforests.jsp and suggested that we provide some commentary.
While the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) applauds the intent and underlying purpose of the program in terms of promoting the conservation of forest ecosystems, we would like to point out that resource professionals have practiced sustainable forest use for over a century, benefiting generations of Canadians.
Forestry renewal practices in Canada are the envy of the world and succeed at balancing ecological, social and economic values. Canadian forest policy and practices are strictly adhered to and founded on sound science. Forestry is a complex and interdisciplinary science that takes into account soils, hydrology, fisheries, silvicultural regeneration and habitat quality and quantity for a large and diverse array of wildlife. Sustainable forest management is overseen by competent and caring professionals, many of whom are CIF members.
While our Institute strongly supports and encourages setting aside parks and natural areas, we also promote the sustainable and thoughtful use of forests for societal and economic benefit. Over 150 million hectares of Canada’s forests are certified as being sustainably managed by independent third party certification systems, such as FSC, SFI, and CSA. Seehttp://www.certificationcanada.org/english/status_intentions/canada.php
The use of wood products in building new homes and offices is an important part of what defines and fosters true sustainability. The use of wood products is also clearly proven to have a significantly smaller environmental and carbon footprint than other building and structural products, such as steel and concrete.
In recognition of this, the BC government has implemented its Wood First Initiative to encourage the use of wood as the first choice for construction, interior design and daily living.http://www.jti.gov.bc.ca/woodfirst/
The construction and purchase of many North American homes and building are financed by TD Canada Trust. We encourage you to include positive messages about using wood products in your programs and advertising. You may also wish to consider promoting the use of wood through mortgage discounts on new homes built with wood – a first in Canada!
The CIF-IFC was established in 1908 and is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected forest conservation organizations. CIF/IFC members work in government, industry, and academia, and include foresters, technicians, biologists, ecologists, educators, economists, scientists, and many other individuals with an interest and passion for our forests and the complex ecosystems that they encompass. CIF-IFC members are dedicated to sound forest stewardship and sustainability across Canada and throughout the world.
Our Institute is willing to serve as a neutral source of information and scientific expertise for TD Canada Trust in the future, to help inform your programs relating to forest conservation and the practice of forestry. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require additional information.
Mark Kube, R.P.F. President
John Pineau Executive Director
Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada
c/o The Canadian Ecology Centre, P.O. Box 430 – 6905 Hwy. 17 West, Mattawa, ON P0H 1V0