Dear fellow CBFA signatories:
On December 6 2012 Greenpeace announced its intention to immediately terminate participation in the CBFA. This decision was not entirely unexpected in light of a letter Greenpeace and two other ENGO signatories sent on September 17 2012 expressing concerns about the Agreement. While we made considerable effort to address this matter within the CBFA Steering Committee over the following two months we did not expect the departure of Greenpeace at this time considering another meeting had already been set for December 13 2012 to further address their concerns. The precipitous actions taken by Greenpeace are contrary to the CBFA and it is our understanding that the Agreement does not provide any provision for such a unilateral decision to terminate their participation in the CBFA and to walk away from their commitments.
Resolute condemns Greenpeace’s actions and their attempts to undermine the Agreement. Their allegations and corresponding actions are entirely inappropriate considering their mischaracterization of facts misuse of information and clearly deceptive representations.
In their letter as well as on their website Greenpeace makes strong allegations regarding violations of the CBFA by Resolute. Using GPS coordinates and video footage Greenpeace accuses Resolute of building roads in deferred areas; in fact providing five examples of what they consider evidence of violations. Resolute did not anticipate this attack on our credibility and takes strong issue with the examples they raise. For that reason we believe the allegations must be addressed.
The Greenpeace material has been reviewed in great detail and numerous erroneous or deliberately misleading statements and images have been identified.
Upon the signing of the CBFA industry signatories agreed to a package of harvest areas suspended harvest areas and deferrals. This package was to remain in place until March 31 2012 with discussion six months prior to expiry regarding the path forward. As early as April 2011 and in six subsequent Steering Committee meetings of the CBFA industry raised their desire to discuss the new package of harvest areas suspended harvest areas and deferrals beyond March 2012. In a spirit of good faith industry extended the initial package until June 2012. Industry also proposed a new package for 2012-2015. The approach used to develop it was the same as in 2009. It included the same degree of economic and ecological assessment. The new package actually results in an increase in overall harvest deferrals and areas of suspended harvest while providing harvest areas to keep mills running while we develop recommendations for improved conservation measures. It also maintains 2009-2012 suspended harvest areas and deferrals wherever possible.
The Greenpeace allegations refer to the initial package of harvest areas suspended harvest areas and deferrals in place since the signing of the Agreement and up to March 31 2012.
The GPS points no.1 and no. 2 referred to in the feature story on the Greenpeace website are presented as evidence of a violation of the Agreement as a result of road building in deferrals or suspended harvest areas. A quick check with CBFA personnel would have enabled Greenpeace to ascertain that the points in question are actually located on two portions of a road authorized in the initial 2009-2012 (Map 1) package ie planned
harvest areas disclosed in the 2009-2012 package. Furthermore on numerous occasions during CBFA discussions Greenpeace had access to maps clearly identifying authorized road construction areas including the aforementioned road. This road was therefore built in complete transparency and in full compliance. We have taken the additional step to send the Greenpeace GPS points in question to the external expert handling the Geographic Information System work for the CBFA and received confirmation that the coordinates correspond to authorized portions of a road authorized in the initial 2009-2012 (Map 1) package. road building.
In addition Greenpeace presents GPS points no. 3 and no. 4 as evidence of road building by Resolute in violation of the Agreement. In fact these points are short sections of road built by the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources (QMNR) with the sole purpose of providing access to large areas of forest burned in the summer of 2007. It was determined that natural regeneration was insufficient to ensure the return of adequate forests (Maps 2 and 3). Clearly Resolute was not involved in the implementation of this special QMNR reforestation plan and therefore in no way breached the Agreement.
Greenpeace cites a fifth point as another alleged violation of the Agreement. In fact GPS point no. 5 is located in the planned 2013-2014 harvesting area of a forestry company that is not a signatory to the Agreement. As a result of the substantial reform of Québec’s forest regime 1 to be fully implemented by April 1 2013 QMNR assumes responsibility for all forest planning affecting land in the public domain. In any event the area affected by this road building is in an area under the jurisdiction of the QMNR in anticipation of the 2013-2014 harvesting season. Like other non-signatory forestry companies operating in this area the other company is not bound by the provisions of the Agreement. Once again Resolute was not involved in the construction of that road segment. It is completely inaccurate to report this as a breach of the Agreement.
In conclusion as clarified item by item none of the five alleged violations hold. Greenpeace had the means to verify each of these points and clearly chose not to do so. This is a clear demonstration of bad faith on Greenpeace’s part.
We also reviewed the contents of the video posted on the Greenpeace website. The conclusions are outlined in Annex I of this letter.
Resolute’s sustainability efforts are outlined in our recently published 2011 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) compliant sustainability report available on our website at resolutefp.com/sustainability. A few of our key sustainability accomplishments include:
• Working in concert with various stakeholders and governments to expand a network of protected spaces where needed and to identify and manage for key habitat for woodland caribou populations and other species.
• Becoming a member of WWF Climate Savers through which we have committed to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 65% by 2015 compared to 2000 levels. At the end of 2011 we had achieved a 62% reduction compared to 2000 levels.
• Putting sustainable forest management certification in place for 100% of our managed forests.
• Expanding our certification commitment by adding Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certification to 80% of our managed forests by 2015. We have now certified 65% of our managed forests to FSC standards. Resolute has the distinction of being the largest FSC certificate holder in the world.
• Implementing FSC chain-of-custody certification at 100% of our North American operations.
• Creating a corporate sustainability committee to guide Company priorities and progress.
• Introducing AlignTM our innovative line of eco-efficient budget-friendly line of high-
• Increasing customer and other stakeholder awareness of sustainability issues including
through the Boreal Business Forum (BBF) created under the CBFA.
By implementing FSC certification Resolute is addressing requests of many customers and is also in line with the previously-stated goals of a number of ENGOs. In addition as the FSC boreal standard is considered the reference point for developing best practices for on-the- ground ecosystem-based management Resolute is making a significant move towards achieving this key objective under Goal 1 of the CBFA. This is in anticipation of the guidance document that the Goal 1 Working Group will eventually produce and provide to all signatories.
Despite the unfounded and irresponsible accusations made by Greenpeace we are of the opinion that the CBFA remains the best vehicle for advancing forest conservation in a truly balanced approach taking into consideration environmental social and economic interests. We therefore call upon Greenpeace to honor their commitment to the CBFA and work within its established framework.
Director of Forestry
Resolute Forest Products