By Guest Blogger: David Walkem
Chief of the Cooks Ferry Indian Band, Merritt, British Columbia, President of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, and an SFI board member
At Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, we work hard to incorporate First Nations values into finding sustainable ways to use our renewable forest resources. That’s why it’s so gratifying that we were recognized today with the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award from the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.
To me, and the team at Stuwix, this award speaks to our success in using forest certification to deliver sustainable forest management in a way that respects and incorporates our cultural values into the use of the land. We manage more than 45,000 hectares (about 112,000 acres) and we have been certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Standard since June 4, 2011.
We adopted the SFI® Standard because of its ability to help us protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat and cultural heritage sites. Enhancing the economic sustainability of our community was another key factor in our decision to choose SFI, and the systematic approach of the standard helped us ensure our practices are consistent over time and contribute to the profitability of our operations.
Meeting SFI objectives and performance measures also improves our ability to cooperate with local partners in harvesting our annual wood allocation. At the same time we can also participate more fully in the local and regional economy. We see a long, profitable and sustainable future in the revitalized forest products industry, and we are committed to working to grow our communities for years to come.
This is the award’s fifth year and we are proud to be in such good company. The award recognizes Aboriginal entrepreneurs for our success as business leaders who deliver exceptional environmental and safety performance while also providing high-quality products and services. We were also recognized for demonstrating a long-term commitment to the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal employment.
Stuwix Resources Joint Venture is a tenure holder and woodlands management company wholly owned by eight First Nations Bands: Cooks Ferry, Coldwater, Lower Nicola, Nooaitch, Shackan, Siska, Upper Nicola and Upper Similkameen. We employ six full-time staff and work with 89 businesses across our supply chain, which includes local Aboriginal entrepreneurs.