The global trend for companies to integrate sustainability efforts, both in strategic planning and daily operations, is well established. This shift is often called corporate responsibility (CR) and these practices have been spreading worldwide. Multinational companies in different sectors are usually the first ones to implement such practices. Companies like Time, Shell Oil, PespsiCo and others have already initiated substantial CR efforts as a means of demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and minimizing the risks of public criticism, a lack of transparency, and loss of market share in some markets, and providing access to additional capital and reduced insurance rates. The Canadian forest industry has focused on certifying forest practices to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. However, current global business trends require far more than using material from certified sources to ensure that a company has transparent and verifiable sustainability credentials.
This study will put the evolution of environmental and social awareness and policies of Canadian wood firms in a global context that enables comparison among industries. Canadian firms’ investment in time and effort with respect to forest certification may be able to provide the leverage necessary to establish positive CR images with only incremental efforts. Failure to adopt and adhere to these CR practices and efforts may result in reduced share in select markets, a smaller pool of investment funds, and poor public image.
This study aims at identifying how Canadian forest companies can make the transition from forest certification to corporate responsibility practices. More specifically, the objectives of this study are:
- to identify how CR practices diffuse through the Canadian forest products sector, the conditions necessary for diffusion as well as the drivers leading to the adoption of CR practices; and
- to understand how/if forest certification influences the adoption of CR practices.