Canada's largest forest destroyer gets its knuckles rapped for forest destruction

Posted by Richardg — 14 December 2013 at 11:00am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Markus Mauthe

Resolute Forest Products is the biggest logging company in Canada and the world's largest FSC-certified logger. But on Wednesday, its forest destruction finally caught up with it.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was created in 1993 to show which timber products came from responsibly managed forests. It's the world's only credible forest certification scheme – and the only scheme that Greenpeace recommends.

Resolute, however, has a long history of destructive logging.

It violates the rights of indigenous peoples and is destroying the habitat of some of the region's most threatened species. It's also broken more forest laws in Quebec than any other logging company - which is ironic, because it's suing my colleagues in Canada for $7 million because they dared tell people about its forest destruction.

Yet despite this chequered history, Resolute had FSC certification for its logging operations.

You can only trash forests for so long before it catches up to you. On Wednesday, Resolute had three of its certificates for forest management suspended.

The Rainforest Alliance, which audits Resolute's logging operations, suspended the certificates because the company had not consulted the indigenous peoples on whose land it was logging and had failed to protect high conservation value forest.

In other words, the FSC just called Resolute a forest destroyer.

Those FSC certificates cover 8 million hectares of the Boreal Rainforest in Quebec and Ontario. It includes a large portion of Quebec's iconic Montagnes Blanches, which is also key habitat for several herds of imperilled caribou.

This may be the largest in the 20-year history of the FSC – and it means that Resolute can no longer label pulp, paper or timber from those areas with the FSC logo.

As an aside, it's great to see the FSC taking action against its errant members. Companies need to know that they can't wreak havoc in the forest and hide behind the FSC logo - and this is exactly what has to happen if sustainable certifcations schemes are to be taken seriously.

*This blog was edited on 16 December. It originally said that the FSC certificates that Resolute lost covered 6.7 million hectares. They actually covered 8 million hectares. 

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