FSC reinstated Resolute Forest Products’ Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest, providing its Forest Stewardship Council certificate. The Northwestern Ontario timberland was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance.

The certificate had been temporarily suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance. In keeping with the FSC process, Resolute has since undergone two  audits, which confirmed that the company is in compliance with the FSC standard. A Corrective Action Verification Audit was carried out in June 2015 and a new Annual Surveillance Audit was completed in September 2015. The results of the successful Annual Surveillance Audit were released last week by Rainforest Alliance.

“Our forestry management practices were already in compliance with the legal and regulatory frameworks of Ontario, which are among the most stringent in the world. We now have the confirmation that they also meet the requirements of the FSC standard,” said Richard Garneau, Resolute CEO. “As we look forward as a company, however, we are concerned with the number of challenging issues currently facing FSC and its membership.”

Garneau says these include the adoption of Motion 65, which aims to protect intact forest landscapes and its adaptation to the Canadian specific circumstances; the interpretation of Environment Canada’s woodland caribou conservation strategy; the merging of all four Canadian FSC standards into a single one while simultaneously introducing a long list of new indicators; and several other issues.

“We recognize the considerable efforts of FSC and its membership to address these complex issues and Resolute will continue to actively take part in these efforts,” Garneau said. “We hope that in doing so, the impact on those whose livelihoods depend on the forest will be taken into consideration in a meaningful way.”

Considering the seriousness of the issues, the company is concerned about the viability of FSC certification in the Canadian boreal forest, as are other companies, Garneau said.

“Until significant progress is made in addressing these matters, Resolute will work to maintain its existing FSC forest management certificates where possible, but will not pursue new certification,” the company said.

Resolute is committed to sustainable forest management, and 100% of woodlands managed by the company are independently certified to one or more of the three internationally-recognized responsible forest management standards in use in Canada – Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and FSC.