RESPONSIBILITY

WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY

At Vanderwell, we are committed to the health and safety of all employees, contractors, and visitors. We do this through a safety program that fully embraces a healthy, safe, and injury-free workplace with a goal of zero injuries for all people who work here. Workplace health and safety starts with a management team that supports the need for a safe work culture consistent with strong forest management practices. From there, employees across the company take on the critical role of actively participating and helping to maintain a safe workplace for themselves and all other employees.

Access our safety policy here.

MANAGING OUR FORESTS

Sustainable forest management is at the core of everything that Vanderwell does. All lands Vanderwell harvests are managed in a sustainable, responsible way that balances the ecological, economic, and social needs and does not adversely affect other ecosystems. Our primary focus is always to ensure the forest remains healthy and is there for future generations.

We achieve that by meeting and often exceeding certified sustainable forest management practices and all provincial government regulations. Most of the land we harvest is Crown land owned by the province of Alberta. For the right to operate on these lands, we provide detailed, multi-year Forest Management Plans. These plans clearly set out what actions Vanderwell will take to protect the environment and reforest the areas harvested.  

For example, we must promptly reforest any areas that the company harvests. Once reforestation occurs, the area is closely monitored. Within the first 8 years of planting, we are expected to show that initial growth is established and between 12 and 14 years that the reforested area is growing at or above initial projections.  By meeting, and often going beyond government and independent forest certification standards, we want our employees, customers, and the community to know we are committed to being responsible stewards of the land we rely on for our business.

Access our Forest Management Plan here.

Indigenous Peoples' and Communities

Vanderwell respects the rights, cultures, interests, knowledge, and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples. The Company manages forests in Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 territory. Vanderwell is committed to building strong, sustainable relationships, productive partnerships and collaborative initiatives with Indigenous Peoples, Communities, Nations and groups, throughout our forest management operating area.

Read more on our Indigenous Peoples’ and Communities Promise here.

Forest management certification

Program For The Endorsement Of Forest Certification (PEFC)

Customers, stakeholders, and the public want assurances the forests we work in and source fiber from are managed sustainably.  Vanderwell is committed to ensuring our operations track certified wood products (controlled wood) through the scope of our operations utilizing our Chain of Custody procedure in accordance with the PEFC ST 2002:2013 Chain of Custody Standard. This commitment and process provides our customers with the knowledge that they are receiving products from their claimed origin. Vanderwell is Chain of Custody certified to the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) CoC Standard. More information regarding PEFC and their standard can be found at www.PEFC.org.

Access our Chain of Custody Certificate here.

 
Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI)

Vanderwell has signed onto and received certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the largest third-party forest certification standard operating throughout Canada and the United States. This voluntary forest certification informs the communities where we operate, and the markets where we sell our products, that we have achieved the highest standards in sustainable forest management.

SFI certification requires third-party auditors to validate a series of standards that demonstrate our steadfast commitment to sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests. Like all SFI-certified organizations, Vanderwell must continually evaluate habitat and biodiversity impacts from forest activities.

As part of its certification, Vanderwell is audited annually, and every four years goes through a full certification audit to the SFI Forest Management and Fiber Sourcing Standards. All public summary reports regarding the audits are posted on the SFI website at www.sfidatabase.org.

Access our SFI Certificate here.

 
Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)

SBP is a unique certification system designed for woody biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets and wood chips, used in industrial, large-scale energy production. Vanderwell has produced wood pellets for the home heating and other markets since 2001. 

This Program supports and further demonstrates our strong commitment to Sustainable Forest Management. In late 2018, Vanderwell was certified to SBP standards 2, 4 and 5. Part of the certification process required that Vanderwell complete a Supply Base Report (SBR).

For more information about SBP visit their website at www.sbp-cert.org.

Access our Supply Base Report here.

ENVIRONMENT

Vanderwell is dedicated to being responsible stewards of the environment in everything it does. We hope our actions speak for themselves: That the work we do ensures the forests we rely on for our business today are still there for future generations. The environment is a key area of focus that drives Vanderwell’s success. 

Our Environmental Policy

We are committed to responsible stewardship of the forest and the environment throughout our operations.

In conducting our business, we are committed to:

  • practicing a land stewardship ethic that integrates the planning, harvesting, reforestation, managing, and growing of trees for the provision of ecosystems including the conservation of soil, air and water values, and the adaptation and mitigation of wildfire and climate change realities;
  • practice Sustainable Forestry which ensures to maintain and improve long-term forest health and productivity by protecting forests from economically, environmentally, or socially undesirable impacts of wildfire, pests, diseases, invasive species, and other damaging agents;
  • protect and maintain the water resources and riparian areas, and conform with forestry best management practices to meet the needs of both human communities and ecological systems;
  • promote and protect biological diversity, including animal and plant species, wildlife habitats, ecologically and culturally important, threatened, and endangered species and native forest cover types;
  • manage the aesthetic values of the forests under our management and provide access routes to recreational opportunities by maintaining our road network as per our plans;
  • oversee lands within our forest management area, that are geologically or culturally important, in a manner that considers their unique qualities;
  • comply with all applicable federal, provincial, and local forestry related, environmental and social laws, regulations, policies, and other pertinent requirements;
  • support advances in sustainable forest management through forestry research, science, and technology;
  • provide education and training programs for our employees and contractors, to improve the practice of environmentally, and socially responsible, sustainable forestry;
  • broaden the practice of sustainable forestry on all lands, through community involvement, socially responsible practices, recognition and respect of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional forest-related knowledge and continually expand our Indigenous Awareness education and training program;
  • continually review and improve our forest management practices, and to monitor, measure, and publicly report performance and certification information, to broaden the understanding of forest certification and in doing so, achieving the commitment to sustainable forestry;
  • utilize and promote Sustainable Forest Management data that is scientifically credible, socially, environmentally, and economically responsible and to avoid sourcing fiber from controversial sources.

RESEARCH & PARTNERSHIPS

We work with leading science and research-based organizations that are committed to maintaining the health and sustainability of our forests. Part of this commitment includes forming partnerships with local, provincial, and national bodies collectively focused on the same long-term goals. (Click on an organization to visit their website.)

fRi Research
Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory (LSLBO)
Lesser Slave Lake Forest Education Society (LSLFES)
The Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES)
Alberta Forest Products Association
Lesser Slave Watershed Council (LSWC) 
Forestry Futures Alliance (FFA) 
Forest Growth Organization of Western Canada (FGrOW) 
Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA)