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Celebrating National Environment Week!


At J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) sustainability and care for the environment are priorities that involve many initiatives supported by thousands of employees everyday.

Reducing our footprint on air, land and water as well as growing our voluntary conservation program are ways in which this commitment comes to life.  Talented researchers have researched and measured our carbon footprint from seedling to the store shelf.  Their work has been internationally recognized and the results for us are encouraging.   Our forestry and forest products operations are a net carbon sink - absorbing more than they emit and we are exceeding the Paris Accord Climate Change targets.  The forest we plant, grow and care for are absorbing 92 million tonnes of carbon over the next 50 years - that's equal to over 350,000 cars off the road every year. From seedling to store shelf we are committing to building a better tomorrow. 

Here are a few reasons why we're celebrating national environment week.


Voluntary Conservation - Our Unique Areas Program

Our foresters work with some of the most complex forests in the world. Since 1992, we have invested over $1.5 million in forest research every year to better understand our environment and the incredible natural resources that sustain it.

Our award-winning Unique Areas program has grown by 32% in the past five years to over 1,640 sites to date on the lands we own and manage in NB, NS and Maine. This allows us to partner with many environmental and community groups, as well as local universities in identifying, conserving, and studying these special places which include the following:

  • Birds and mammals
  • Fish
  • Lakes and Wetlands
  • Unique   Forest Stands
  • Old Growth and Conservation Forests
  • Plants
  • Historic Sites
  • Geological and Fossil sites
  • Reptiles and Invertebrates

Interested in learning more about our Unique Areas Program? Visit: 


Growing More Than We Harvest

Planting trees is one of the many ways our forestry professionals regenerate the forest for the future. The trees we plant are the growing forests and nature's air filters, reducing greenhouse gases which cause climate change. We are growing more wood every year than we harvest (about 2% of the land base).   Hardwoods in our region regenerate naturally and today there is more hardwood than 50 years ago, which means 80% of the harvested sites regenerate naturally. 

Ensuring a healthy and diverse forest for future generations is one of the most important responsibilities for our many forestry professionals.


Investing in Renewable Energy  

Our sawmill in Ashland, Maine has turned on a turbine that greatly reduces the site's carbon footprint. The turbine is part of a $1.8 million dollar investment in the mill which also included an upgrade to the boilers and an additional control room. 

The turbine will allow the site to limit their purchase of electricity, by choosing a greener option. Burning bark, that is already being removed from the logs, creates steam pressure and spins the turbine, creating its own electricity. In addition, there is now sawdust that can be transported to Grand River Pellets (GRP), JDI's pellet plant. The use of these wood residues as fuel also reduces landfill use.  The ash generated from the wood can be used as a soil conditioner on agricultural land.


Investing in a Greener Future

A $30 million investment at Lake Utopia Paper near St. George, N.B. earned the team the Natural Resources magazine's 2019 Industry Excellence Award in Environmental Stewardship. The environmental treatment facility turns organic waste into clean burning biogas. This green energy replaces the use of fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 31%. To date there has been a 36% reduction in total waste.

 Lake Utopia Green


Fuel Conservation 

At NBM Railways there has been a tremendous focus on fuel conservation. Whether it be our locomotives, track maintenance equipment or vehicles, we work hard every day to move as much freight as safely and timely as possible, all while using the least amount of fuel required. To succeed in this effort, we continue to invest in new technologies to maximize our fuel efficiency with our locomotives, such as our Auxiliary Power Units (APU’s). The APU’s have a smaller diesel engine and are used during colder temperatures to keep the locomotive engine block warm, rather than keep the locomotive engine idling. We also utilize a system called Consist Management. This system allows the Locomotive Engineer to control when each locomotive in their consist is under power while they are operating a train. This is very beneficial on a long-haul trip where not all locomotives need to be working, on a flat or descending terrain for example. We also continue to invest in what we call “mother-daughter units”, these locomotives allow one big diesel engine to send power to the wheels of two locomotives which burn less fuel.

All of this is important to NBM Railways, not only to burn less litres of fuel but to also reduce our carbon footprint. Burning less litres of fuel allows us to invest more money into important infrastructure upgrades and other project to increase business with our customers and grow the economy.

For 2020, NBM Railways had an aggressive goal to reduce fuel consumption by 5%. Year to date our fuel efficiency has improved by over 8% in the last year. This is a new record for our company and is not only due to these new technologies we have invested and continue to invest in, but also the hard work of our team to make fuel efficiency our daily goal.

At Irving Equipment, they recently started an improvement project to help limit fuel consumption when using trailers. By switching out the tires used on a hauling trailer, not only do we reduce fuel usage on the trailers, but have also limited the use of half ton trucks, which leads to an additional reduction in fuel consumption.

 Train Fuel Conservation


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

Since Irving Wallboard opened in 2007, they have been reusing the waste created in their process to make new wallboard. The more efficient the plant runs, the faster the waste is used up. Recently, the plant has become so efficient that there is not a lot of waste board available to put into the process . Wallboard is now sourcing waste from third party construction companies, reducing the amount going to landfills. Their process recycles about 21,500 tones of board annually. Two large contractors in Saint John have recently committed to provide waste to the plant, and some truckloads are coming from as far as Boston to be turned back into a usable sheet of wallboard.


ISO Certification 

All three of our Pulp and Paper mills in New Brunswick are registered ISO 14001:2015. Maintaining ISO 14001 Registration guarantees that the environmental management system at each of the sites is effectively improving real environmental performance over time. 

ISO registration requires 

  • that sites carry out detailed analysis to better manage all interaction of the activities with the land, water and air.
  • that site set objectives and target with monitoring and measurement in place to ensure continuous improvement over time.
  • that sites undergo regular 3rd party audits to ensure the management system meets the internationally agreed standard set of requirements.    

We are also pleased to announce Atlantic Towing received its ISO 45001 designation in December, 2019. The 45001 affirms we have the processes and procedures in place to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions. Fantastic news for us, for our fleets and for our customers!


Kent Building Supplies

In an effort to make your Atlantic Canadian home more environmentally friendly, KENT has put together some ideas that you can implement today! Here are some items that you and your family can incorporate around your home and garden to help reduce your impact on the environment:

 Kent Eco-Friendly


Thank you to our environmental partners, researchers, suppliers and team members who work together to understand and safeguard the environment for generations to come.