Canfor commits to biofuel venture; releases 2020 sustainability report
October 12, 2021 | 1:32 pm CDT

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canfor Corp. announced it will invest in the construction of the first phase of Arbios Biotech’s plant to convert sawmill residues into biofuel. The announcement coincided with the company’s release of its 2020 sustainability report.

"Today, we begin an ambitious sustainability journey that will change how we work and the impact we have on our communities and the planet. We imagine a future as sustainable as our forests," said Don Kayne, president and CEO of Canfor. "This is an opportunity as much as it is our responsibility. Sustainable solutions are in demand around the world. Customers consider environmental and social impact a priority when making their buying decisions. Employees want to work for a company that's protecting and nurturing their environment and communities. Together we will frame the future."

Arbios, a joint venture between Canfor and Licella Holdings Ltd., plans to build a biomass to low carbon biofuel processing facility on a portion of Canfor’s Intercontinental Pulp Mill site in Prince George, British Columbia. The plant, scheduled to begin production in the first half of 2023, will reportedly use first-of-a-kind technology to convert bark and other sawmill residues into a renewable biocrude. Initial plans for converting 25,000 dry tons of wood residue into more than 50,000 barrels of biocrude that can be further processed in refineries to produce low-carbon transportation fuels. 

"As part of our sustainability journey, Canfor is committed to growing our business to include bio-materials and bio-innovation to support a low carbon future,” Kayne said. “Our decision, as part of the Arbios joint venture, to support investment in a state-of-the-art biomass to low carbon biofuel plant in British Columbia is a demonstration of our commitment. We are also building a Bio-Innovation team that will unlock the full value of each log by developing and commercializing new opportunities."

Canfor said its investment in Arbios “marks a new era in sustainability for our company.” Moving forward, the company said its sustainability “strategy is built on three critical pillars of people, products (and) planet.”

Canfor J.D. Little Forest Centre nursery
Canfor’s stated goals include:

  • Commitment “to a zero-incident workplace and supporting the health and wellness of our people.”
  • Inclusion and diversity, including having 30% under-represented groups in executive leadership positions by 2030 and achieving “100% completion of inclusion and diversity awareness training for all staff across North America by the end of 2021.”
  • Aspiring “to be a partner of choice for Indigenous Peoples, a privilege afforded by fostering strong relationships and deeply respecting Indigenous histories, cultures, values and beliefs. We commit to co-creating lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships that advance social, economic and environmental priorities for Indigenous Peoples ... 5% of total spend with Indigenous vendors for Canfor's Wood Products Canada business by 2025.”
  • “(P)racticing world-class sustainable forestry that will result in resilient, productive and biodiverse forests.” This includes maintaining 100% certification in SFI or SFI standards for the company’s managed forests, maintaining biodiversity and habitat for wildlife through ecosystem-based management, and conserving water quality and fish habitat by implement best practices to minimize erosion and sedimentation.
  • Combatting climate change by transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Canfor said it will release goals and targets for reducing emissions and producing products that contribute to the mitigation of climate change in early 2022.

Download Canfor’s 2020 Sustainability Report.


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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.