Resolute Forest Products
The largest logging company in Canada, Resolute Forest Products is responsible for the destruction of vast swathes of Canada’s magnificent Boreal forest, trashing critical caribou habitat and logging without the consent of impacted First Nations. Greenpeace is urging the company to work with us, other environmental organisations and First Nations to resolve these issues and ensure a healthy future for Canada’s Boreal. Despite the company’s lawsuits, we won't be silenced for standing up to the company and defending Canada's “Endangered Forest”.
The forest can’t defend itself. #StandForForests now!
What prompted the lawsuit?
On May 15th 2013, Greenpeace published Resolute False Promises: the [un]sustainability Report 2013, a report calling on Resolute to meet its bold sustainability claims and become a leader in Canada’s Boreal Forest. Greenpeace documented:
- Resolute failing to conserve the long term health of Canadian “Endangered Forests”;
- Resolute logging in critical caribou habitat in Ontario and Quebec; and
- Resolute operating without the consent of First Nations in their traditional territories. and
Greenpeace called on Resolute to address these issues, undertake science-based conservation, respect First Nations’ rights and support local communities. The same day Greenpeace launched its report, the Grand Council of the Crees formally complained to the Forest Stewardship Council that Resolute was logging in Quebec’s Montagnes Blanches Endangered Forest without their consent and in violation of their rights. Less than one week later, seven environmental groups suspended work with Resolute citing the company’s unwillingness to do even “the minimum” required by science to ensure the survival of caribou.
Resolute’s failure to manage healthy forest and respect First Nations rights cause certificate suspensions, further lawsuits
In Quebec, the Grand Council of the Crees filed a formal challenge to Resolute's Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate in the Montagnes Blanches based on a violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent.
These and other major shortcomings in the company’s social and environmental performance led, in January 2014, to the Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) suspending three of Resolute certificates in Quebec and Ontario covering an unprecedented 8 million hectares of mismanaged forest.
In Quebec, the Grand Council of the Crees’ complaint against the company was upheld based on a violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent. Independent auditors further concluded that there is “a high risk to the extirpation of caribou herds” in the Montagnes Blanches and that the company has already carried out work in “key habitats”, crucial areas for maintaining the species. Resolute also failed to demonstrate that “the value of forest will be maintained through time”. In Northern Ontario, the company’s audit suspension focused on the company’s unwillingness to collaborate with stakeholders.
In May 2014, the company then launched another lawsuit , this time against the Rainforest Alliance, its own independent FSC auditor, when the company was about to lose yet another FSC certificate in Northern Ontario. One legal expert noted that Resolute’s “strategy appears to be, not to engage Rainforest Alliance on the facts, but rather to suppress these facts.”
Meanwhile, while Resolute has to date respected a moratorium in a 13,000 km2 portion of the larger Broadback Valley “Endangered Forest” area, to the south members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to protest logging on their traditional territory by the company. And in September, the Atikamekw Nation withdrew their consent for logging within a vast area overlapping with their traditional territory,
Greenpeace official Statement of Defence and position on the lawsuit
In its Statement of Defence filed with the court in Thunder Bay on Thursday August 21, 2014, Greenpeace stands by its comments as accurate, truthful and transparently referenced. Greenpeace defends its report as fair comment based on true facts concerning important matters of public interest: the environmental, social and economic impact of Canada’s largest forestry company operating in the Boreal forest. Greenpeace also claims that its comments are expressions of free speech and protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Statement concludes that the “lawsuits against Greenpeace and Rainforest Alliance meet the classic profile of a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) because they have been brought to silence criticism of the company’s conduct concerning matters of high public interest: the future of Canadian Boreal forests, the threat to biodiversity in those forests, respect for First Nation rights within their traditional territories, and concern for the future of other communities that are dependent upon a healthy Boreal forest.”
Click here to read our full Statement of Defense or read the summary version.
The forest can’t defend itself against Resolute
It’s impossible to protect “Endangered Forests” while ecologically or culturally sensitive areas are actively being logged. Resolute must suspend logging in and sourcing from “Endangered Forest” areas and publically support the creation of large-scale protected areas alongside sustainable harvesting. We invite Resolute to sit down with Greenpeace, other environmental organisations and First Nations to undertake conservation planning that can be advance to provincial and First Nations governments for approval, consistent with the right to free, prior and informed consent.
Visit StandForForests.ca to help protect this critical habitat.