Following the recent settlement of a lawsuit launched by Resolute Forest Products against third party FSC certifier Rainforest Alliance over audits of Resolute forests, Forest Stewardship Council has issued the following public statement:
In a letter to the president of Resolute FP Canada, FSC has requested Resolute to immediately stop its discriminatory activities against FSC, and take appropriate corrective and preventive measures demonstrating respect to all of FSC’s statutes and all membership and Policy of Association requirements. The letter follows many months of repeated public attacks by Resolute on FSC’s management and policies, after the suspension of Resolute’s FSC certificates.
Dear Mr. Garneau,
FSC certification is voluntary and available to those companies wishing to demonstrate their commitment to responsible forest management by having their planning, practices and products independently evaluated against the FSC standards.
The growth and reach of the FSC scheme relies on the integrity of applicants seeking certification and those issuing these certifications. As of today, FSC has issued over 30,000 certificates for its forest management and chain of custody certification scheme. FSC’s transparency and independent verification make FSC a global leader in forest certification systems. It is therefore paramount for FSC to maintain its credibility because consumers must be confident that the forests providing FSC certified product have been properly verified as conforming to the FSC standards.
FSC welcomes constructive feedback across all chambers to maintain a balanced consensus from an economic, social and environmental perspective to ensure responsible forest products from FSC certified sources are brought to the market place. We also implemented a comprehensive dispute resolution process to properly and fairly handle any complaints from certificate holders or other stakeholders.
As you know, as a certificate holder and a member of FSC, Resolute FP formally accepted to adhere to the Policy of Association of FSC and to meet the memberships’ requirements. A prime requirement is to act as a bona fide member of FSC and to maintain FSC’s credibility and to genuinely support FSC’s purpose, activities and reputation. Unfortunately, FSC has recently noted several instances where that requirement was not met which created a serious attack to the credibility of FSC.
Resolute FP issued a press release on January 2 2015, which contained a direct attack on the credibility of the FSC audit process. Since then, public appearances on radio, talk shows or print press by representatives from Resolute FP added to these attacks, namely regarding the governance of FSC and the audit process’s fairness and impartiality. FSC was also made aware of communications sent by your company to employees and elected officials in Quebec portraying FSC as non-credible, risky and biased towards certain interest groups. Unfounded comments were improperly made by Resolute FP regarding the eventual implementation of Motion 65 (Intact forest landscape). Finally, FSC witnessed your personal intervention on television (March 11, 2015) insinuating that the suspensions of your company’s FSC certificates were tainted from improper pressure from Greenpeace. Together, these incidents can no longer be tolerated.
Therefore, we request that Resolute FP immediately stops their discriminatory activities and communications and takes appropriate corrective and preventive measures demonstrating respect all of FSC’s statutes and all membership and Policy of Association requirements, namely with regards to the support of FSC’s reputation and its credibility.