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Boreal Stars Celebrated at National Gala

Submitted by: Canadian Boreal Initiative

Categories: Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Dec 10, 2007 – 12:36 PM EST


Victoria's Secret, high-school rappers and First Nations communities honoured for contributions to conserving Canada's Boreal Forest

Dec. 10 /CSRwire/ - OTTAWA, Canada, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- What do Aboriginal communities, teen rap musicians and a US company, best known for its lingerie, have in common? According to the Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) -- plenty; they have all been instrumental in helping to conserve Canada's Boreal Forest and in raising awareness of its global importance.

"This year, progress towards protecting Canada's Boreal Forest has really picked up momentum. The hard work of many, many people, including the communities that we honoured last night, has created the opportunity to celebrate some of the most significant land conservation initiatives in North American history, protecting millions of hectares of the Canadian Boreal Forest," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI).

The Boreal Awards recognize leadership, innovation, cooperation and excellence among stakeholders who live and work in Canada's Boreal Forest region, along with those who have made an outstanding contribution to protection of the Boreal Forest and the advancement of the principles outlined in the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.

Last night at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa the following award winners were honored:

Individual Achievement Award; Student GEORGE WOODHOUSE, with Blake Godward and David Lawless, for creatively spreading insightful messages among youth about the importance of Canada's Boreal Forest through video and song.

Corporate Award; LIMITED BRANDS, INC. (parent company of Victoria's Secret) for significantly advancing sustainable conservation in the Boreal Forest by changing their purchasing policy and actively advocating for Boreal Forest conservation.

Community Award; POPLAR RIVER FIRST NATION for their unwavering support to protect their traditional homelands on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg, and their leadership in advancing, with the Province of Manitoba, a proposal to have a significant area of Canada's Boreal Forest in Manitoba and Ontario declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Community Award; LUTSEL K'E DENE FIRST NATION for their vision and leadership in advancing the designation of the East Arm National Park on the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Together with the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories and the other Akaitcho communities, Lutsel'Ke has been at the forefront of accomplishing the largest single land withdrawal for conservation in Canadian history.

Award recipients were selected by a committee of the 18-member Boreal Leadership Council, which itself has had the most significant expansion since the group's inception. Earlier this week, Nexen Inc., the Pembina Institute, Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta and Domini Social Investments LLC joined the BLC. These groups were officially welcomed at Thursday's event.

"It was a pleasure to welcome fellow leaders in Boreal conservation on an evening when creativity and passion for Canada's Boreal Forest were so evident in the nominees and recipients of the Boreal Awards. These organizations have committed to implementing the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework as they move forward," said Mike Martel, Senior Vice President of Forest Resource Management with Tembec Industries Inc. and past chair of the BLC.

The Canadian Boreal Forest is the largest intact forest remaining on the planet, rivaling the Amazon in size and ecological importance. It stores twice as much carbon per acre as tropical rainforests, mitigating the effects of global warming. It also teems with wildlife, including nesting grounds for billions of migratory songbirds and 40% of North America's waterfowl. Canada's Boreal is also home to some of the world's largest remaining populations of grizzly and polar bears, wolves, woodland and barren-ground caribou.

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a visionary plan for Canadian wilderness developed by the Boreal Leadership Council, is endorsed by over 1500 scientists, 25 Aboriginal organizations, 100 corporations and leading conservation groups in Canada.

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework calls for permanently protecting at least 50% of the Canadian Boreal and applying strict environmental safeguards for development in any other areas.

Based in Ottawa, the Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry, First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

The Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) is comprised of leading conservation groups, Aboriginal organizations, resource companies and financial institutions, all of which have an interest and a stake in the future of Canada's Boreal Forest. Members of the Council are signatories to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, and are committed to Framework implementation in their activities.

For more information:

Larry Innes
Canadian Boreal Initiative
Phone: 416-575-6776

Mike Martel
Tembec Industries Inc.
Phone: 819-627-4744

Boreal Award Winners Contact Information:

George Woodhouse
Phone: 519-371-7775

Limited Brands
Tom Katzenmeyer
Senior Vice President of Investor, Media and Community Relations
Phone: 614-415-7076

Poplar River First Nation
Ray Rabliauskas
Phone: 204-799-3120

Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation
Chief Adeline Jonasson
Phone: 867-270-3051

James Marlowe, Thaidene Nene Working Group
Phone: 867-370-3144


George Woodhouse

Rap music is not often associated with the Boreal Forest. Owen Sound student George Woodhouse, along with friends and classmates Blake Godward and David Lawless, changed all that with a recent science class project. Their class was assigned a project to discuss what they had learned in their ecology unit, and the avid musicians went beyond typical expectations to produce a rap song -- complete with music video -- about Canada's Boreal Forest. Peppered with such insights as "Now in maybe twenty years you're gonna wonder why/All the birds and trees were just left to die" the teens' song makes some hard-hitting points about the importance of the Boreal Forest to the planet and the threats it faces from increased industrial development.

Link to Rap Song: http://www.borealbirds.org/movies.shtml

Limited Brands

On December 5, 2006 Limited Brands unveiled a leadership paper policy that has significantly advanced sustainability and conservation in the Boreal Forest. The policy, changes to paper and within its supply chain, and the suite of advocacy and communication initiatives that Limited Brands has undertaken are helping to ensure that the pulp for the company's catalog paper does not come from endangered forests in the Boreal. This is creating positive incentives and awareness, resulting in Boreal conservation and sustainability.

The established policy goals and commitments are that Limited Brands will (1) partner with its primary paper supplier to eliminate all pulp supplied from endangered forests of Canada's Boreal Forest, including Alberta's Rocky Mountain Foothills and the British Columbia Inland Temperate Rainforest; (2) Shift its catalogs to either 10% post consumer waste or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified content beginning in 2007; (3) A preference for FSC certification; (4) Overall catalog paper reduction; (5) A commitment to continual improvement on environmental attributes of catalog paper and paper use; (6) A commitment to phase out of sourcing from Caribou Habitat and Endangered Forests; (7) and one million dollars committed to research and advocacy to protect Endangered Forests and ensure leadership in the catalog industry; (8) Support the Boreal Conservation Framework.

In the past year, Limited Brands has had a profound impact on Canada's Boreal Forest, taking action and helping to catalyze key changes in their own sector, within paper mills, the logging industry and governments. By engaging with media and being a strong public advocate of environmental paper and the Boreal Forest, they have also been highly instrumental in bringing the importance of Boreal forest conservation and market demand for sustainability into the public sphere. In the past year, J. Crew, Crate & Barrel and LL Bean, three of the biggest and best known brands in the sector, have followed Limited Brand's lead and strengthened their procurement policies to prefer FSC certified paper and to incorporate recycled fiber.

Along with their outspoken commitment to change and inspire other companies, they are influencing change in the logging industry. After announcing their commitment to conservation initiatives, Limited Brands convinced its paper supplier to terminate their contract with a supplier producing pulp in the Boreal forests of Alberta's Rocky Mountain Foothills. Limited Brands has also convinced one of its principal suppliers to have all four of its mills certified to FSC Chain of Custody - creating more demand for FSC certified fiber from the Boreal.

Poplar River First Nation

The traditional territory of the 1200 member Poplar River First Nation is located on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, and forms a significant part of Canada's Boreal Forest. For thousands of years, the Poplar River First Nation has carried out its traditional mandate to protect the region and its resources. Over the past eight years, Poplar River has worked with the Government of Manitoba and with conservation organizations to secure interim protection for over 800,000 hectares of undisturbed forest land (an area larger than Banff National Park). In 2004, Poplar River developed a comprehensive land protection and management plan for their territory-a precedent-setting accomplishment among First Nations in the region. Poplar River's current efforts are focused on securing permanent protection of their land and advancing a larger UNESCO World Heritage Site proposal with other First Nations in the region. Sophia Rabliauskas, one of the key leaders of these efforts, was recently honoured with the international Goldman Environmental prize for her role in this work.

Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation

The Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation occupies a vast traditional territory in the eastern Northwest Territories. This homeland spans a great swath of land from the boreal forest around the East Arm of Great Slave Lake to the barrenlands of the upper Thelon River basin. The ancestors of the Lutsel K'e Dene settled in this territory because of its rich natural resources - the pure waters and abundant wildlife have sustained generations of Dene since time immemorial.

The Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation has the sacred responsibility to ensure that its traditional territory remains capable of sustaining the way of life of its people for generations to come. Future generations must be able to experience the land as their ancestors have before. In this interest, the First Nation has taken a leadership role in realizing the following initiatives:

-- The halting of uranium exploration in the upper Thelon River basin, the "Place where God Began";

-- Investigating the feasibility of establishing a new National Park in Thaidene Nene ("Land of the Ancestors"), the core of Lutsel K'e's traditional territory;

-- The interim protection of approximately 95 000 km2, comprising the largest land withdrawal in Canadian history.

Currently, the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation is focusing on completing its conversation network with a finalized National Park and a Special Management Area in the upper Thelon, as well as beginning comprehensive land-use planning in its entire traditional territory.

For more information, please contact:

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