It’s not our fault – Resolute avoids taking responsibility for losing FSC certification for 8 million hectares of forest
Talk about avoiding responsibility. This week it was announced that Canada’s largest logging Resolute Forest Products lost 3 FSC certificates covering an area of 8 million hectares. That’s not a small amount of land (it’s 127 times the city of Toronto). It’s not small percentage of the total area that Resolute has FSC-certified (it’s over 50%). Pulp, paper and lumber from this area can no longer be labelled as FSC-certified, severely restricting their marketability. Rainforest Alliance, Resolute’s auditor stepped up and suspended the certificates after investigating the company’s operations and finding them lacking – they simply do not meet the strict FSC standard. The company’s operations are destroying woodland caribou habitat, old-growth areas are being degraded and the company hasn’t obtained consent from at least one First Nation community, the Cree, for their logging. Those are very clear violations of the FSC standard.
But rather than take a good hard look at its operations, the company is pointing the finger at pretty much everyone else – it’s the Quebec government’s fault (that doesn’t explain the 2.4 million hectares suspended in Ontario). It’s a dispute between First Nations (Resolute still didn’t get their consent) It has nothing to do with our management of the forest (doesn’t explain how other companies retain their certificates).
They circulated a letter to their customers, who I am sure were asking a lot of difficult questions. Here are some direct quotes from their spokesperson in media today:
“None of the issues raised in relation to these certificates involve on-the-ground practices or compliance with any laws or regulations,” Resolute said. “They solely concern meeting very specific FSC requirements and differences in the interpretation of some of these requirements with the certifying body.” Montreal Gazette
M. Blackburn asserts that the suspension of the certificates comes from a block in negotiations between the government of Quebec and two First Nation groups as well as delays and confusion between federal and provincial plans to restore woodland caribou. “These are two elements that we do not have control, except to hope that they resolve themselves as soon as possible” he said. La Presse
Karl Blackburn specifies that this removal of certification has nothing to do with the company’s forest practices. Rather this issue is related to territorial negotations between the Cree and the Innu and alignment with the plan to restore woodland caribou. Radio-Canada/CBC