Thank you, Madam Chair.
My name is François Dufresne. I am the President and CEO of the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC Canada.
I would to first acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin peoples. FSC Canada has been welcomed onto this territory many times since our creation in 1996, and we have been honoured with their support for our work on sustainable forest management.
FSC Canada would like to recognize Mr. Saganash for introducing Bill C-262 to the Canadian public for review and debate. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been a guidepost for our work on establishing new standards for forest certification in Canada and around the world. We would like to thank this committee for including FSC in the lineup of distinguished guests to speak on the topic of indigenous rights; free, prior, and informed consent; and UNDRIP.
I will provide a brief introduction to FSC and then I will turn the microphone over to Pamela Perreault, our coordinator of aboriginal initiatives within FSC Canada, to provide an overview of our work on indigenous rights.
FSC is a global organization that is present in more than 80 countries with 200 million hectares of certified forests around the globe. It was created in 1993 after the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit as a voluntary forest certification system. Based on a consensus obtained with social, indigenous, environmental, and economic stakeholders, we set strict standards to ensure that FSC-certified forest products are issued from responsibly managed forests. The wood fibre from certified forests is tracked to retail stores through the FSC chain of custody system. FSC-certified wood, paper, and other forest products are then sold with the FSC label by certified companies in the marketplace. With 55 million hectares, Canada has the largest area of FSC-certified forests in the world. Sixteen per cent of Canada's forests are FSC-certified, and six of the 10 largest FSC-certified forests in the world are located here in Canada.
Pamela will now explain how FSC has worked within the UNDRIP framework to craft a standard that recognizes and upholds the rights of indigenous peoples.