July's Featured Member: Canopy
By: Suzanna Baum
SB: In all the years you’ve worked with Canopy, (how many is that again?) what is your favorite element of the job?
NM: I’ve been with Canopy 10 years. My favorite parts are innovating what leadership is, inspiring corporate leaders with ideas that allow them to express their inner environmentalist in a proactive way, and giving Order of the Forest Awards to those who really embrace it.
SB: Your profile on the Canopy website mentions that you traveled with your father before starting your career. How has that experience inspired and/or motivated you in your work today?
NM: He took me through clear-cuts, second-growth forests and old-growth forests. I saw there was a role for 2nd growth-forests, but that they could not possibly replicate the ecosystem values of the old growth. Seeing entire mountains clear-cut, knowing just a short while ago thousand-year old cedars stood there was a real eye-opener. After that and during my work in the magazine industry, I went to work every day asking ‘what about the forests?’
SB: The Second Harvest Project seems like such a wonderful alternative to cutting down forests for our paper. Can you briefly break down what the project is all about?
NM: Second Harvest is about growing market support for papers made with agricultural residues – such as wheat straw and flax straw. These fibers have great paper making qualities, and they’re just left over each and every year after the grain harvest, and even after farmers have taken what they need for soil retention and animal bedding. In many cases this excess straw is currently burned – creating more pollution. We’re not talking about on-purpose crops or forest conversion. So, Second Harvest is a great alternative to making paper out of intact, carbon and biodiversity rich forests that have taken thousands of years to grow – and yes, that’s the current practice in Canada, Indonesia and elsewhere. But paper has been made from agricultural fiber for thousands of years in other parts of the world. The Second Harvest vision is win-win-win for farmers, paper makers and paper users. Canopy has already trialed magazine and book grade straw papers with terrific success, and we’ve quantified an enormous demand for straw paper. All we need now is investment in North American based commercial scale pulp infrastructure.
SB: What sort of challenges have you overcome within the forest protection realm while working at Canopy?
NM: I think the biggest challenge has been to translate the leading paper procurement policies we have developed with 700 corporate partners into protection on the ground in the forest. This is how we support the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, and it’s a central part of the role we play on the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.
SB: In what ways can tree-lovers get the involved with Canopy?
NM: Tree lovers can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, donate and even volunteer. We’d love your help.
SB: How does the Environmental Paper Network benefit your organization?
NM: The Environmental Paper Network benefits us in that it expands our voice to include our allies south of the border.
SB: Thanks for getting to know Canopy through Neva’s eyes. For more information on the Second Harvest campaign, click here. Please keep an eye out in August for our next featured member, Climate for Ideas.