GHG's and Air Emissions

  • 2018: 2.6 million metric tons of carbon stored in manufactured wood products
    • Natural forest in Canada managed for timber production is a net carbon sink
  • Enterprise-wide, we’ve reduced our solid wood GHG emissions intensity in manufacturing facilities by 9.6% since 2005
    • We achieved this decrease during a period of significant production growth due to several mill acquisitions (lumber production grew 57%, from 4,212 MMfbm in 2005 to 6,609 MMfbm in 2018)


Young, growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and in this way, biogenic carbon is captured in wood. In addition to wood being an excellent building material because of its carbon-retaining properties, regrowing the forests we harvest plays a beneficial role in recapturing carbon from the atmosphere, beneficially contributing to the carbon cycle. It’s the process that is fundamental to the environmental promise and sustainable life-cycle of our products. 

The use of carbon-based fossil fuels is the most significant contributing factor to greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. We are addressing emission reductions by investing capital to upgrade technology in our operations to reduce GHG emissions, such as using more carbon-neutral biomass energy (such as residuals from our manufacturing processes) to displace coal-derived electricity and our waste-to-energy facility that creates power from mill wastewater (biomethanation). Our U.S. sawmill operations primarily use biomass energy to generate steam for the lumber kiln drying process. As a result, our U.S. mills are relatively low emitters of GHGs. 

Concerns over climate change have led to changes in governmental GHG emission standards, measurement and taxation.  Carbon pricing has been introduced in both Canadian provinces where we operate, including regulation such as Alberta's Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation and B.C.'s Climate Change Accountability Act (CCAA) require reductions in GHG emissions. 

Our Alberta-based manufacturing facilities participate in their regional air shed management organizations. These are multi-stakeholder groups that provide public information on and monitor air quality, as well as develop recommendations regarding air quality monitoring and management. Our B.C.-based facilities in Smithers, Fraser Lake, Quesnel and Williams Lake B.C., also participate in local air shed management groups.

In May 2016 we further committed to the Canadian forest products industry’s pledge to remove 30 megatonnes (MT) of CO2 per year by 2030 — more than 13% of the Canadian government’s emissions target. We continue to invest in bioenergy systems that more effectively capture the heat and steam generated during the production of wood products and other future relevant technology as it continues to improve.

Learn more about our biomass energy projects and our approach to air emissions in the environment in the Responsibility section of our website.

Emission intensities are based on cubic metres for all solid wood operations and ADMT for pulp and paper production. For all our GHG data, facilities not wholly-owned by West Fraser are calculated based on an equity share of the energy inputs to the facility. To date, all partnerships are 50%. Gasses included in GHG calculations: CO2, CH4, and NO2.