Greenpeace has returned to its adversarial tactics with regard to the Canadian forest products industry. The environmental organization expressed its disappointment with the cooperative, industry-environmentalist working arrangement of the Boreal Forest Agreement late last year by quitting the group. Greenpeace quickly followed up with the release of the “Boreal Alarm”, a report “identifying five endangered Boreal forest areas that require immediate conservation planning and protection.”
Greenpeace is calling for the immediate suspension of logging in these forests of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba and is advising wood products customers to check their supply chain to ensure they are not sourcing from these forests.
Resolute Forest Products, a company which Greenpeace alleges is logging in critical caribou habitat, is active in three of the five zones, including the Montagnes Blanches and Trout Lake-Caribou Forests.
Reported in the Montreal Gazetter on Jan. 16, a spokesperson for Resolute said that Greenpeace’s new report was repeating “erroneous, deceptive and misleading” allegations it made against the company in December.
“This behaviour by Greenpeace is absolutely irresponsible, and it represents a tremendous disservice to the tens of thousands of good Canadians who work in the forest sector,” said Seth Kursman, the company’s vice-president of communications, sustainability and government affairs.
“Canadian forestry practices are among the very best in the world.”
According to the Gazetter, Resolute sent a letter to customers in December saying that the roads Greenpeace accused the company of building were, in fact, authorized under the CBFA or built by the Quebec government, and that pictures of a “ravaged” forest were, in fact, taken at a site that harvested in the early 2000s following rules in place at the time.
Despite Greenpeace’s withdrawl from the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) remain committed to the agreement and will continue to work hard with environmental partners on its implementation.
All other signatories remain at the table, dedicated to both the spirit and the letter of the CBFA, says FPAC. The agreement is aimed at conserving both the Boreal forest and ensuring economic prosperity while taking joint responsibility for success.
“This historic agreement has been widely lauded around the world for embracing a new paradigm of co-operation and it’s unfortunate that Greenpeace has decided to walk away. However forest companies remain committed and will continue working on implementation,” says the president and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay.
“The CBFA is a very complex deal with a wider scope than any other agreement ever reached anywhere in the world. Progress has not been as fast as originally hoped but we fully intend to keep working with conservation groups and foundations as well as Aboriginals, communities and the federal and provincial governments until we get it done.”