Lafarge Canada Inc. becomes an Urban Forest Leader
and announces 2000 trees will be planted over the next four years
Montreal, QC – June 3, 2019 – Lafarge Canada Inc. announced today it was joining the Comité des leaders de la forêt urbaine (Urban Forestry Leaders’ Committee), created in 2018 by Soverdi and the Alliance forêt urbaine. The company thus joins visionaries like CN, the Port of Montréal, Hydro-Québec, and, more recently, TD Bank to plant some 50,000 new trees and other plants by 2022. Those thousands of plants are being introduced to improve the health of the population and make a concrete environmental gesture.
“We had already started greening the edges of the quarry by planting more than 2,000 trees since 2015 and we want to continue that initiative by committing ourselves even further”, says Nicolas Paradis, General Manager for greater Montreal. “Planting trees around our facilities improves the quality of life in our neighbourhood, by creating a visual barrier that muffles sounds, all the while minimizing the heat island phenomenon,” he adds.
The company announced it was joining the Comité des leaders de la forêt urbaine at the unveiling of the explanatory sign on the revitalization of the Lafarge quarry embankment. Implemented with Soverdi, an urban greening leader, and the support of members of the Alliance forêt urbaine, the revitalization of the embankment is part of the Plan d’action forêt urbaine (Action Plan for Urban Forests) that aims to increase the canopy cover rate on the island of Montreal from 20% to 25% by 2025.
As an urban forest leader, Lafarge Canada has committed to planting 2,000 trees over four years and to make a sustained effort within its network to invite its partners to also green their companies.
The announcement of Lafarge Canada joining the Comité des leaders de la forêt urbaine was made at Carlos d’Alcantara Park on Monday, 3 June, in the presence of Malin Anagrius, General Manager of the Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain (Soverdi); Nicolas Paradis, General Manager of Lafarge Canada for Greater Montreal; Jean-Philippe Détolle, Executive Director of Large Parks and Biodiversity; Pierre Lessard Blais, Mayor of the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Borough; as well as Robert Coutu, Mayor of the City of Montréal-Est.
Spreading Nature Throughout the City with Urban Forest Leaders
Although Montreal is a green city, its vegetation is not evenly spread throughout its territory.
A lack of forest cover is directly linked to poor or industrial areas and many studies show its astonishing impact on health and life expectancy. In order for urban forest benefits to be felt evenly throughout different neighbourhoods, measures must be taken that extend beyond traditional tree planting sites, such as streets and public parks.
Knowing that 34% of the surface area of the Montreal territory is publicly owned, it is clear that the city cannot effectively fight, by itself, heat islands and lessen the effects of climate change. The involvement of private landowners in Montreal, whose businesses own 66% of the surface area of the City of Montreal, is crucial to make greening projects a reality.
For Jean-Philippe Détolle, Executive Director of Large Parks and Biodiversity, “in the current climate, the value of combining private and public sector efforts to preserve and develop urban forests is now well established. This new membership in the Comité des leaders de la forêt urbaine is an opportunity to highlight the growing involvement of private stakeholders. These are crucial collaborations to reach the ambitious goals of expanding the canopy cover that our administration has been relentlessly pursuing.”
The Comité des leaders de la forêt urbaine, an Immediate Success
A mere six months after the launch of the project in 2018, several thousands of trees have already been planted and two new members have joined the committee, to the delight of the original three leaders. It shows a clear trend for major Montreal stakeholders: a real involvement in the greening of Montreal and a desire to give back to the community.
For Malin Anagrius, General Manager of Soverdi and spokeswoman of the Alliance forêt urbaine, “the commitment of major private sector stakeholders comes after years of work and will allow us to take our greening plans to a whole other level. The Leaders’ Committee is all about committed Montreal companies that make real, large-scale commitments which will impact the city and improve its landscape for all citizens.”
The movement has been launched!
About the Soverdi and Alliance forêt urbaine
The Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain (Soverdi) is a nonprofit organization that works at greening Montreal, one tree at a time. It implements urban greening strategies to significantly increase the footprint of the urban forest to improve people’s health and quality of life. In partnership with the city of Montreal, the organization is meeting head on the challenge of the Plan d’action forêt urbaine that aims to plant 300,000 trees on the island of Montréal by 2025. Of that number, Soverdi oversees, in collaboration with its partners at Alliance forêt urbaine, the planting of 180,000 trees on private and institutional land. For more details: www.soverdi.org
The Alliance forêt urbaine is a group of 50 organizations created in 2012 by Soverdi to implement the private and institutional component of the City of Montreal’s Plan d’action forêt urbaine. The driving force of the greening of Montreal, it constitutes the largest working group in Montreal on tree planting. Thanks to the diverse backgrounds of its members and their complementary expertise, the Alliance forêt urbaine reaches the whole Montreal territory and mobilizes institutional (education, health, culture, and heritage) and private (residential, community, industrial, and commercial) stakeholders. For more details: http://www.allianceforeturbaine.com/
About Lafarge Canada Inc.
Lafarge is Canada’s largest provider of diversified construction materials and a member of the global group, LafargeHolcim. With 6,000 employees and 400 sites across Canada, our mission is to provide construction solutions that build better cities and communities. The cities where Canadians live, work, and raise their families along with the community’s infrastructure benefit from the solutions provided by Lafarge consisting of aggregates, asphalt and paving, cement, precast concrete, ready-mix concrete and road construction. Through the LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan, Lafarge is committing itself to find solutions based on sustainable manufacturing practices and to improve the environment in and around its operations. The company has been in Canada for 60 years and constantly works to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, to restore wetlands for native plants and animals, and to identify waste that could be recycled and used in its operations.