How Rite Aid and Other Customers of Boreal Forest Products Can Support Real Solutions

by Daniel Brindis

April 17, 2015

Mountains and boreal forest in sunlight.

© Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

White Mountains in QuebecWhite Mountains in Quebec

This Wednesdays blog on Rite-Aids lack of paper procurement policy aroused questions on what solutions for healthy forests looks like. On the customer side, we have unambiguously encouraged policies that give preference for post-consumer recycled paper fiber, protect the integrity of the worlds most important forests (often referred to as High Conservation Value Forests, many of which are unfortunately Endangered Forests), respect the rights of traditional forest communities, including Indigenous Peoples, and include a commitment for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper fiber. Responsible paper production can and already exists in parts of the Boreal.


If Rite Aid were willing to make better buying decisions, the company would confidently be able to continue sourcing from the Boreal Forest and its customers would know that Rite-Aid is doing everything it can to protect forests. This means that Rite-Aid could commit to a sustainable sourcing policy that also rewards responsible suppliers. Corporate buyers of pulp and paper products need a stable and sustainable supply of fibre from the Boreal Forest. They expect products that meet their financial bottom line but that are also consistent with their and their customers values. The mechanism for achieving this is therefore a responsible procurement policy.


As Greenpeace has repeatedly stated: the FSC is the only credible forest certification. We actively participate in FSCs multi-stakeholder consultations along with other NGOs like World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Rainforest Action Network, and major companies like Kimberly Clark, IKEA, Avon, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma and Domtar.


The FSC, which includes principles that protect the integrity of High Conservation Value Forests including Intact Forest Landscapes, presents a solution to protect the integrity of Endangered Forests in the Boreal like the Caribou Forest and the Montagnes Blanches.


Since the beginning of our campaigns on Forests in Canada, such as with the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Greenpeace has successfully collaborated with other stakeholders, ranging from governments, NGOs, Indigenous Peoples, logging companies, and customers to move towards independent science-based solutions. Today in the Boreal, we continue to advocate for the same because we know its possible.


As a US consumer, my actions matter. I dont want to hold a marketing flyer in my hand that is printed on fiber that came without consent from traditional First Nation communities or that destroyed critical caribou habitat. Despite the appealing Buy one get one free offer, throwing away endangered forests is always a bad deal.


We hope that Resolute someday recovers its suspended FSC certificates and we know this will not happen until there is real change on the ground. Although Resolute recently said that it maintained its support for the FSC, over the few months prior, the FSC observed Resolute making statements undermining the FSC, and Resolutes March 2015 US Security and Exchange Commission 10-k Filings said that its prior FSC commitment is no longer realistic or appropriate.

Daniel Brindis

By Daniel Brindis

Daniel is the Forests Campaign Director, based in San Francisco. His portfolio includes the Amazon, the Canadian Boreal, and environmental certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council. He splits his time between the San Francisco and Manaus offices.

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