We are at the Annual General Meeting of Resolute Forest Products, held for the first time in Saint-Félicien, in the heart of Quebec’s forest industry.
We’re asking Resolute CEO Richard Garneau today if he will be part of the solution and work in collaboration rather than in confrontation with stakeholders.
Right now this doesn’t seem to be the case. Besides its $7 million lawsuit against Greenpeace and two of our colleagues meant to silence criticism of company’s operations, Canada’s largest logging company has now decided to sue its independent forestry auditor, Rainforest Alliance, to avoid publication of a report that would see Resolute lose an additional FSC certificate in Ontario. Last December, Resolute lost three of its FSC certificates in Quebec and Ontario, covering an area of more 8 million hectares.
Clearly lawsuits aren’t the solution. In fact, the starting point to solutions would be for Resolute to focus on getting back its FSC certificates, showing leadership in conserving “Endangered Forest” areas and respecting First Nations’ interests. That will help them meet international market demands for environmentally and socially responsible products.
Here’s what we asked today at the AGM:
Can you explain the company’s approach to FSC and how you plan to mitigate the impact on relationships with key customers?
What does the board believe to be the most appropriate approach to collaboration for the company?
Increasingly we are seeing that successful businesses work cooperatively with the governments of the jurisdictions where they operate, as well as with other interested stakeholders. Collaboration is key in any sector, and especially so in forestry with the wide range of stakeholders impacted by operations or are essential to the company’s success.
We believe that collaboration is what will one day again deliver responsibly sourced products to Resolute’s customers, certainty to communities and conservation for our forests.
We’ve done it elsewhere in Canada and around the world with some of the planet’s biggest companies. We can do it here in the Boreal Forest with Resolute, too.
Greenpeace, and many others, are committed to this.