Greenpeace Exposes Logging Company’s Attack on Free Speech in New Report

Press release - May 16, 2017
Washington, DC, 16 May 2017 -- Greenpeace has published a new report, “Clearcutting Free Speech: How Resolute Forest Products is going to extremes to silence critics of its controversial logging practices”, presenting the implications of logging company Resolute Forest Products massive legal attack on its critics, which aims to redefine activism as criminal activity.

Instead of embracing sustainable forestry, investing in healthy forests, and creating jobs, Resolute is trying to intimidate critics like Greenpeace with multimillion dollar lawsuits that threaten free speech. If these lawsuits succeed, the cases could set a dangerous precedent that could stop advocacy groups criticizing corporations in North America and embolden companies around the world to use similar tactics against their own critics.

“Greenpeace has gained international recognition as an independent environmental watchdog because we raise our voices without fear. That is public interest advocacy, not a criminal activity. The voices of our supporters will not be shut down now because a logging company like Resolute wants to get away with logging in intact forests,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.

In May 2016, Resolute filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit for racketeering and other claims in the United States against several Greenpeace entities, Stand.earth and individual activists. Prior to that, Resolute filed a defamation case for CAD$7 million against Greenpeace Canada and two of its staff in 2013 that is ongoing. The company has also used these legal and public relations tactics against other organisations like the Rainforest Alliance, an independent environmental auditor.

The report also exposes that major international publishers including Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, are purchasing paper from Resolute. Greenpeace is inviting these global publishers to join this call to protect freedom of speech and the collective rights to organize on issues of public concern, like forest conservation.

“This is a paradox for global publishers; in a political environment where freedom of speech is increasingly under threat, publishers, who depend greatly on free speech, should disavow these heavy-handed attempts to silence dissent coming from their very own supplier,” said Greenpeace USA Senior Forest Campaigner Amy Moas.

“Our aim is a healthy forest where Indigenous Peoples rights are respected, jobs are secured for communities and important habitat is protected. We’re not demanding companies stop sourcing from Canada’s boreal forest, we’re asking logging companies, and their customers alike, to be part of lasting solutions for the forest,” added Moas. “We invite publishers to work with Resolute to find more sustainable solutions for the forest and ask Resolute to drop these meritless lawsuits which are clearly aimed at silencing their critics.

“If Resolute wins these lawsuits, not only could it mean a world without Greenpeace and the 45 year record of a movement to protect the environment, but a world where free speech becomes more restricted for advocacy groups, individuals, artists, journalists and publishers.

“Resolute aims to label environmental advocacy work as criminal activity in the United States and to set a precedent to silence rightful dissent across the board. This logging company is not counting on the millions of people that make the environmental movement so strong. Together, our voices are vital for protecting our rights, our communities and the planet,” concluded Moas.

Despite the ongoing lawsuits, Greenpeace continues to have an open door for Resolute, to work together for lasting solutions in the boreal forest for all stakeholders involved.

 

Notes to editor

[1] Click here to access the full “Clearcutting Free Speech: How Resolute Forest Products is going to extremes to silence critics of its controversial logging practices” report.

[2] Click here to obtain images, videos and other materials related to this release 

Contacts:

, Greenpeace Africa, phone +254 708 056 207 (in Nairobi)

, Greenpeace USA, phone: +1 202 344 929 (in Washington, DC)

, phone: +31 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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