The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), a global leader in sustainable forestry and responsible forest management, is proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership aimed at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within FSC in North America. FSC Canada and FSC US have joined forces with Kelly Cooper, Founder and President of the Centre for Social Intelligence Inc. (CSI), to drive meaningful change and create inclusive workplace cultures across the sector.

Stemming from FSC International’s Strategic Framework on Diversity and Gender and recognizing FSC’s organizational values of embracing stewardship, advancing inclusion, promoting equity and realizing rights, this partnership will begin with a focus on developing a North American DEI Action Plan.  

"Our partnership with Kelly Cooper is a significant milestone in our journey toward a more inclusive forest industry,” says Francois Dufresne, President of FSC Canada. “DEI is not only a social imperative but also a crucial component of sustainable forestry. Our united efforts will signal to the sector that we take this issue seriously and are going about it effectively." 

Currently the forest sector employs 17% women, 9% visible minorities, 7% Indigenous Peoples and 12% immigrants*. These figures underline the fact that the forest sector labour force is not keeping up with the social fabric in North America. Embracing diverse genders and cultures will allow the forest sector as a whole to increase its competitive advantage in this ever-increasingly global market. 

Kelly Cooper shared her enthusiasm for this venture, stating, "it’s exciting to work with an organization that has a high standard for social issues as part of its mission. I believe that our combined forces will create a sustained impact across North America and beyond. My DEI expertise and proven strategic leadership with the Free to Grow in Forestry Movement adds value to FSC and will ensure that we can make a strong, positive, and profound effect together.”  

Immediate attention will be focused on establishing an advisory committee comprised of FSC members and staff to help guide the development of the action plan.

The time is now to increase awareness and provide the necessary tools and skills for the sector-wide labour force that will create the transformational change that is needed in North America.  

*The State of Canada’s Forests – Annual Report, 2022, Natural Resources Canada

For media inquiries and further information, please contact: 
Monika Patel,  
Director of Communications & Marketing