Learn about how Ontario’s Forest Sector and Heavy Industry are collaborating to meet net zero goals

Group of people standing in front of machinery at a biochar production facility

CRIBE is working with Ontario’s Heavy Industry to help meet decarbonization and net-zero goals using forest-based products. Here’s how.

Heavy industry — steel, iron, cement, mining, pulp and paper— is the backbone of Ontario’s manufacturing economy. Heavy industry, however, is also responsible for about one-tenth of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, making it the fourth-highest emitting sector of the Canadian economy.
But that’s changing.

“Heavy industry in Ontario has made, and continues to make investments to meet their net zero commitments,” says Chris Walton, CEO of the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE). “The industry is highly motivated to decarbonize in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace, and very keen to find innovative solutions to lower their carbon footprint.”

To that end, we (CRIBE) have developed ongoing partnerships with heavy industry to identify the most economically viable and sustainable paths for the forest industry to support those net-zero commitments.

We’re working with Heavy Industry stakeholders to identify crucial information needs: Where’s the wood? Who manages it? What kinds of residual forest biomass products are accessible, and how can they serve industry’s decarbonization goals? How can we get those products — for example, sawdust, shavings, chips, bark — to industrial facilities, and how much will that cost?

How have we been answering those questions? We’ve commissioned several case studies and have developed tools to address those knowledge gaps and communicate results and information. For example, CRIBE’s ForestEDGE is a set of geospatial applications that provide public, detailed forestry data for industries looking to incorporate biomass solutions into their decarbonization strategies.

We also recognize that meeting Ontario’s and Canada’s sustainability goals requires partnership, collaboration, and synergy. To that end, CRIBE acts as a matchmaker between forest feedstock suppliers, technology developers, and industrial and manufacturing end-users. Via Nextfor, our open collaboration network, CRIBE convenes key players — from Canadian and international industry, governments, and research — to leverage synergies and build innovative partnerships toward a profitable, sustainable future.

It’s in everyone’s interest to extract the greatest possible value from our forest resources, says Walton. “How do we continue to support our traditional forest industry  and increase  the value from Ontario’s wood and forest resources? Part of that value proposition is supporting Ontario’s heavy industry in reaching their net-zero goals.”

Nextfor is hosting an Innovation Forum on May 4, 2023 to discuss biocarbon pathways for heavy industry, integration with the forest sector to utilize biomass and decarbonization LCA frameworks. Interested? Learn more today.