Introduction to GBA Plus

Illustrating the GBA Plus process: Forest sector case study

Let’s apply GBA Plus to a case study in forestry, a sector where equality, equity, diversity and inclusion issues may not be initially apparent.

1 - Background

  • A global economic downturn and rising demand among consumers for environmentally sustainable forest products require new thinking on diversifying forest-dependent communities to ensure their adaptability and prosperity.
  • Canada’s approach to sustainable forest management is to achieve a balance between the demands placed on forests for products and economic benefits, and the maintenance of forest health and diversity.
  • More than 650 Canadian communities are forest-dependent (meaning that 50% of employment income comes from the forest sector) and about 160 of these are solely reliant on forestry.
  • Forest-dependent communities are facing unprecedented challenges due to rising energy costs, international competition, and reduced timber supplies.
  • The traditional forest sector is diverse and has three major sub-sectors – solid wood product manufacturing (49.1%), pulp and paper (28.9%), and forestry and logging (22%). Employment in the pulp and paper sub-sector in particular has continued to decline since 1990.
  • Forests also provide a number of non-timber products (e.g. forest-based foods, ornamental products, extracts) that make a significant contribution to rural communities through sales and seasonal employment.

Developing new products and services, such as bio-energy, eco-tourism, and value-added products from wood waste, may hold promise for diversifying the local economies of forest-dependent communities in an environmentally sustainable way.