7 Canadian Forestry Facts That May Surprise You

Greenpeace and their cohorts continue to spread false and misleading information about Canada’s forest management practices. Their campaigns call on forest products companies like ours to halt operations, threatening thousands of jobs and livelihoods in the process, or seek further regulations from the Canadian government.

But these groups’ claims about Canadian forestry practices are full of hot air.

Here are 7 facts about Canadian forests that they omit from their campaigns.

1. Canada’s forestry laws are strict – and they are enforced. One recent report, funded with the support of the Forest Stewardship Council®, concluded:[1]

 
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2. Canada’s deforestation rate is very low – less than 0.01% each year – and that rate is actually falling! According to Natural Resources Canada, deforestation in Canada is generally the result of land conversion for agriculture (43%), resource extraction (34%) or urban expansion (12%).[2]

 
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3. Less than 0.5% of Canada’s forests are harvested each year – that’s about the half the size of Connecticut, but spread out over all of Canada. It’s also far less than the amount disturbed by insects, disease and forest fires combined.[3]

4. Canadian law requires that 100% of harvested areas be regenerated. In Quebec and Ontario, the provinces in which Resolute operates, about 75-80% regenerates naturally. The other 25% is promptly reforested.

 
 

5. Canada is a leader in forest certification with 37% of all the world’s certified forests. 48% of Canada’s forests are certified by third parties, ensuring compliance with recognized standards of sustainable forest management.[4]

6. Canada’s boreal forest is a source for people’s livelihood through direct employment – in harvesting and regenerating forests, and in manufacturing operations – and indirect employment – the grocery stores, schools, hospitals and thousands of other businesses and organizations that depend upon boreal communities.

7. The Canadian forest products industry is crucial for Aboriginal communities. 17,000 Aboriginal people are employed directly or indirectly or make their living from the forest products industry, making it one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the country.[5]

 
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Responding to InsideClimate’s Slanted Coverage

In August, we became aware that an article about our case was forthcoming in the environmental advocacy publication InsideClimate News. Since Nicholas Kusnetz, the InsideClimate reporter writing the story, had not reached out to us, we wrote to him proactively. We pointed out that the outlet has close financial ties with Greenpeace and its allies, and asked him in good faith how his publication could possibly engage in objective reporting on this matter when its top editor and publisher, David Sassoon, has been a paid consultant with Greenpeace, a fact reported in a variety of publications.

Here’s part of what we wrote:

First, is it true that your boss and publisher, David Sassoon, has been a paid consultant on policy and public relations to Greenpeace? How much was he paid by Greenpeace and is he still operating his professional consulting firm for environmental NGOs?   

Also, a review of your reportage shows an extensive list of articles casting various activist campaigns in a highly favorable light, particularly when they are aiming at natural resources companies. The same could be said of InsideClimate as a whole. In light of that tilted perspective, how can we be assured that your reporting on Resolute will be objective and even handed?

A number of outlets have also raised questions about the objectivity of InsideClimate’s reporting, given the fact that they share a number of donors with activist groups like Greenpeace. On the funding page of their website, InsideClimate lists Greenpeace donors Ford Foundation, Grantham Foundation, Park Foundation, and Rockefeller Brother’s Fund. The Ford Foundation has even publicly repeated Greenpeace’s flawed talking points regarding companies that attempt to stand up to attacks from environmental activists.

Kusnetz offered no substantive response to our inquiry regarding its obvious conflict of interest. Yet the resulting article, full of skewed and selective sourcing and notable omissions, speaks for itself on that score.

Kusnetz writes, for instance, that “[t]here's some disagreement on whether Resolute's logging practices stand out from its peers—many environmentalists say they do, but some people familiar with its work dismiss the claim.” That is the sum total of time and detail Kusnetz lends to scrutinizing Greenpeace’s misleading allegations. Some say X, others Y. Readers aren’t offered evidence for the competing claims — for instance that Resolute has been multiply awarded as a global leader in sustainability — or even told who is making them so they can assess their relative credibility.

Yet elsewhere Kusnetz gives corporate consultant Michael Marx many words to criticize Resolute, while noting only that Marx “works with several of the named groups” in the lawsuit. Kusnetz won’t tell us which groups, or disclose the nature of Marx’s financial relationship with them, but lets him claim Resolute’s suit is aimed at “taking away” Greenpeace’s ability to employ its strong-arm tactics, which Marx says have become “the real driver in the social responsibility movement.”

Among the acts of “social responsibility” Marx credits to Greenpeace are its “work against genetically modified crops” and a “campaign on sustainable fishing.” What both he and Kusnetz leave out are that the fishing methods favored for years by Greenpeace have recently been found by independent researchers at the University of California, Merced, to have a far worse carbon footprint than the methods they want outlawed, meaning companies who took their advice could have ended up making the environment worse, not better. Even more glaringly, Greenpeace’s destructive attacks on golden rice, and the indigenous farmers who grow it to feed malnourished populations, have been decried in a public letter by 100+ Nobel Laureates as contributing to “blindness and death in children in the developing world.” One Nobel winning physiologist told The Washington Post that Greenpeace’s campaign is “damaging and is anti-science,” a “way to scare people” and “raise money for their cause.” Kusnetz euphemizes all of this as Greenpeace’s “work against genetically modified crops.”

In our own case, Kusnetz’s piece ignores a similar outcry from First Nations leaders and thousands of citizens in both Quebec and Ontario, the Canadian jurisdictions in which Resolute operates, who have expressed concern and condemnation of Greenpeace’s misinformation campaign. Leading trade unions representing workers in the boreal region have also repeatedly denounced the economic damage and threats to jobs caused by Greenpeace’s misleading attacks and unwillingness to engage with their communities. We made Kusnetz aware of this, but he chose to ignore it.

Kusnetz also quotes numerous sources to support Greenpeace’s flawed defense that our use of racketeering laws to hold their actions accountable is an attack on free speech, but fails to mention Greenpeace’s hypocrisy on the issue, which we’ve highlighted repeatedly. As Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Paul Barrett pointed out, when Greenpeace supports RICO actions against other companies, it takes “a narrower view of protected expression.”

The distorted, one-sided view of the case and its merits on offer from InsideClimate News, and the basic failure to disclose, let alone justify, their financial conflict of interest with Greenpeace, speak volumes about the organization and its priorities. Readers would be right to view this piece from InsideClimate News with the utmost skepticism and scrutiny.

What Happened When Resolute Stood Tall Against Greenpeace

When Greenpeace and its allies attack companies with misleading campaigns and capricious demands, many corporate leaders are quick to give in, hoping the activists will relent and move on to their next targets. But as we’ve pointed out before, companies that embrace a strategy of appeasement can expect repeat attacks.

Our company chose a different path. We drew a line in the sand, and defended our integrity, which is a duty we owe all our stakeholders and especially the communities where we live and work. And how have those stakeholders reacted to our effort?  Mostly with encouragement and often praise that it’s about time this kind of principled action was taken.  Here are some examples.

Editorial Boards and Commentators Backed Us Up

Resolute’s stand against Greenpeace has been discussed favorably in many outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Post, National Review, Globe and Mail, and Toronto Sun.

Here is a sampling of some of the support we’ve received in the media:

“No corporation could get away with the tactics employed by Greenpeace and stay in business, but the organization has managed to play by its own rules for years. Until now . . . Even Resolute competitors are privately cheering on the company and we’re happy to do so publicly. For the sake of workers and shareholders everywhere, let’s hope that American executives will follow Mr. Garneau’s example.”
– Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal
 “Rarely if ever has a corporate executive dared to call an ENGO shakedown what it is. Richard Garneau is thus almost unique among executives. In a corporate world dripping with bogus “business ethics,” Garneau, a quiet and modest man who lives in the Boreal, has demonstrated some true moral backbone, refusing to bow to what he sees as lies and intimidation. And while his fellow corporate executives are missing in action, more and more Northern communities, aboriginal groups and unions are beginning to stand up against the anti-brand bullies.”
– Peter Foster, Financial Post
“An outstanding example of how unfairly-attacked companies should respond is Resolute Forest Products, the world's largest producer of newsprint. It has courageously and boldly led the charge in fighting back through the courts. Others should follow suit.”
– Steve Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily
“When resource companies are attacked by environmental NGOs, their tendency is to go on the defensive and speak softly. Resolute is an exception.”
– Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail
“I wish more companies had the backbone to stand up to Greenpeace’s extortion tactics. Until they do, when I need forest products, I’ll be purchasing from retailers that buy from Resolute, and I’ll advise my friends to do the same.”
– H. Sterling Burnett, Washington Times
“Displaying the rare courage to stand up to the typical environmental extremists’ campaign of misinformation and shaming designed to shut it down, Resolute Forest Products is fighting back.”
– Marita Noon, Townhall
“Shoe, Meet Other Foot.”
– Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
“It’s time somebody stood up to Greenpeace.”
– Nigel Hannaford, Toronto Sun

Social Media Applauded

Canadian stakeholders and prominent commentators took to Twitter to show their support for our stand against Greenpeace while pointing out their deceptive claims.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Boreal Stakeholders Rallied

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Last summer, over 4,000 people marched through the streets of the small northern Quebec town of Saint-Félicien, demanding an end to misleading activist campaigns.

Tens of thousands of concerned citizens participated in a post card campaign demanding Greenpeace and its cohorts involve local stakeholders.

First Nations pushed back against Greenpeace’s attempts to speak on their behalf. As Jack Picard, Band Council Member of the Innu Council of Pessamit put it: “Greenpeace, in our view, is an environmental group that goes to the extreme . . . We are fully capable of speaking for ourselves.”

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Recently, trade unions representing workers across Quebec spoke out passionately about the economic damage and threats to jobs caused by Greenpeace’s irresponsible attacks and unwillingness to engage with their communities.  

 

Additionally, First Nations, local governmentsunion leaders, industry associations and individuals wrote letters, reached out by phone and on social media, and spoke out asking for Greenpeace and its many allies to listen to their concerns. But they continue to be ignored. 

 

We will continue to stand up for our integrity against reckless attacks while working with those who support our efforts to protect the future of boreal communities. 

 

Slanted Reporting from National Observer

An article in the environmental advocacy publication National Observer purports to “reveal fresh insight into a major lobbying” effort by our company in opposition to a proposed measure that came before the Ontario legislature in 2015. But in reality, the article distorts what took place, hides critical facts from readers, and is badly slanted in its analysis. 

Resolute’s concern was that radical groups would use Bill 52 to shield themselves from potential legal recourse after making defamatory statements, and in particular, statements intended to harm job creators in Ontario. Our concern was that Bill 52 was unnecessary legislation that would have the effect of providing an unwarranted advantage to radical groups.

That’s why we had a direct and natural interest in the legislation, and it was perfectly appropriate for us to share our viewpoint with the Ontario government. There was nothing hidden. We provided the letter to many other public officials as well. That outreach is a routine part of our democracy and a bedrock right that all Canadians share. Citizens and stakeholders of all sorts do exactly the same every day, including environmental groups and news organizations.  

Indeed, it seemed all but apparent that the bill’s sponsor had worked in close coordination with environmental activists as the very measure was being drafted. That was confirmed when the bill’s author explained in front of the Ontario House:  “I am more than excited to speak about [the bill]…It was a lot of work, over a year [and] I worked with a lot of environmental groups.”  He cited three environmental activists specifically with whom he had “worked very closely with in drafting the bill.” He also singled out Greenpeace and two of its executives, Shane Moffat and Richard Brooks, thanking them for their assistance. The National Observer withheld these key facts from the article.

So apparently, environmental groups including Greenpeace had a direct influence on the actual composition of the draft law. Resolute then wrote a letter to voice our position — and somehow National Observer imagines that our company was the pivotal player in the situation.  

Why would National Observer slant the article in this way and leave Greenpeace’s role unexamined? Perhaps it is because Greenpeace and National Observer both receive financing from the same environmental activist donor, Tides Foundation. As public disclosure forms reveal, each have received significant sums from Tides. We pointed this out, on the record and repeatedly to the National Observer reporter — and yet this brazen conflict of interest was also concealed from readers.  

New Report Confirms Canada’s Strong Forest Management Practices

UPDATE 9/14/17: NRDC has presented more ill-conceived and misguided arguments about Resolute’s position on sustainable forest management. In their latest post, NRDC says that the Canadian government ought to do more to protect the boreal, when there is ample evidence, including the new report discussed below, showing that Canada has some of the strongest forestry regulations in the world. 

Furthermore and contrary to their claims, we fully support and are in complete alliance with FPAC’s policies. In fact, Resolute is an internationally recognized leader in environmental stewardship and responsible practices in the boreal region, a fact the post fails to mention. 

These are serious issues that call for substance and nuance, but unfortunately none of that is on display here. For months, NRDC leaders Rhea Suh and Anthony Swift have ignored calls from boreal residents to visit the region to discuss the real impact irresponsible activist campaigns are having on their communities. 

Will NRDC’s new Washington, D.C.-based “boreal expert” have the integrity to come hear directly from the communities that she is trying to impact from afar?  Seems doubtful.  

Update to Our Previous Response to NRDC:

We have previously exposed Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) intellectually dishonest attempt to undermine research demonstrating that forest resources in Canada are among the world’s best regulated and managed. A new report from NEPCon (produced with the support of the Forest Stewardship Council®) provides further evidence that NRDC’s claims are misleading and irresponsible.[1] NEPCon is a well-known international non-profit organization that performs certification audits for the FSC and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) standards.

Despite never mentioning compliance rates, NRDC argues that while Canada’s forest management policies are strong, there is no evidence for “on-the-ground enforcement and compliance.”[2] But after reviewing a number of reliable sources and conducting its own evaluation on forest management and harvesting practices in Canada, the NEPCon report concludes:

“Canada has a robust system of procedures to ensure that its forests are governed in the public interest. Several reports and studies have confirmed that Canada’s forest management policies and practices are among the most stringent in the world.”

The NEPCon report cites numerous certification and sustainability groups including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and World Resources Institute who find that Canada has “the lowest prevalence of suspicious log supply and corruption of any country” as well as a low risk for illegal logging. Further, the World Bank includes Canada among the world’s Top 10 countries when it comes to respect for the rule of law.

As for Canadian harvesting policies and enforcement, the report concludes that “laws are upheld” and instances “where laws/regulations are violated are efficiently followed up via preventative actions taken by authorities and/or relevant entities.” The report reaches the same conclusion when it comes to species protection, “the protection of socially and ecologically important sites,” compliance with environmental regulations, health and safety requirements, trade, and transport.

It has now been 10 months since boreal communities, union leaders and trade groups reached out to NRDC Director Rhea Suh in good faith to ask questions and share concerns that NRDC’s claims didn’t represent the reality on the ground in the boreal forest. They still have not received a visit from NRDC leaders or even the courtesy of a phone call.

NRDC’s unfounded claims do a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of Canadian forestry workers who are committed to responsible practices.  

[1] http://beta.nepcon.org/sites/default/files/library/2017-08/NEPCon-TIMBER-Canada-Risk-Assessment-EN-V1.pdf

[2] https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anthony-swift/spinning-green-stumps-speak-louder-words-page

Questionable Journalism Methods at InsideClimate

UPDATE: We reply to InsideClimate's reporter about their refusal to address their conflict of interest and explain for the record why we're standing up to Greenpeace. 

In late June of this year we received word from a friendly contact that the publication InsideClimate News was making inquiries for a forthcoming article on our litigation. We were surprised to hear that since no one from the publication had reached out to us. Ethical journalists will typically try to give the subjects of their reporting ample time to provide input or reaction, especially if the reporting is not under pressure from breaking news. When reporters instead wait until the last minute to ask for response, it’s often a sign of intentionally slanted journalism.

There was also another, even more troubling factor. Reports in a variety of credible publications including Columbia Journalism Review indicate that the publisher and senior editor of InsideClimate, David Sassoon, has worked as a paid communications consultant to Greenpeace. How could InsideClimate possibly cover our lawsuit against Greenpeace even-handedly when its top editor has been working for Greenpeace? Did Greenpeace ask InsideClimate to pursue this reporting about us? Why was InsideClimate pursuing the reporting in such a surreptitious way? These are obvious and good faith questions that any serious news organization should answer candidly.  

That’s why, on June 29th, we sent an email to the reporter, Nicholas Kusnetz, to ask for an explanation about his intentions and especially on how InsideClimate could justify the apparent relationship with Greenpeace. Again, to our surprise, he offered no substantive reply, would not confirm that any reporting was in progress, and utterly ignored our questions about the conflict of interest.  

Then, on August 23rd, Mr. Kusnetz emailed to request an interview with our CEO. Our pending questions about the Greenpeace connection were again entirely disregarded. Mr. Kusnetz instead presented us with a series of questions about the litigation, as if any relationship his publication has with Greenpeace is irrelevant.  

In the spirit of transparency and to shine a light on the highly questionable methods of InsideClimate, we will be presenting here our interactions with the publication so that readers and the public can see it unfold and come to their own, fully informed conclusions. Below is the referenced email interaction we have had with InsideClimate, and we will update this post as events warrant.  

_

UPDATE 8/30/17:

From: Seth Kursman
Subject: Re: Fw: Resolute Forest Products
Date: August 28, 2017 at 2:15:46 PM EDT
To: Nicholas Kusnetz <[email protected]>

Nicholas, I am writing to provide comments on behalf of Resolute.   

I feel compelled to begin by expressing my continued disappointment in your willingness, or better stated as lack thereof, to address my questions and concerns about a possible conflict of interest on behalf of your publication.  I have done so repeatedly, and my questions appear to be utterly ignored.  Reports in a variety of credible publications, including Columbia Journalism Review, indicate that the publisher and senior editor of InsideClimate, David Sassoon, has worked as a paid communications consultant to Greenpeace.  How could InsideClimate possibly cover our lawsuit against Greenpeace even-handedly when its top editor has been working for Greenpeace?  Did Greenpeace ask InsideClimate to pursue this reporting about us?  Why is InsideClimate pursuing the reporting in such a surreptitious way?  These are obvious and good faith questions that any serious news organization should answer candidly.  That's why on June 29th, I sent an email to you asking for an explanation about your intentions and especially on how InsideClimate could justify the apparent relationship with Greenpeace.  Again to my surprise, you offered no substantive reply, would not confirm that any reporting was in progress, and utterly ignored my questions about a possible conflict of interest.  Then, on August 23rd, you emailed to request an interview with our CEO.  Our pending questions about the Greenpeace connection were again entirely disregarded, despite a direct reminder.  Instead, you presented us with a series of questions about the litigation, as if any relationship your publication has with Greenpeace is irrelevant.   

Resolute has been facing a cycle of abuse by Greenpeace and its cohorts. The cycle works like this:  use misleading campaigns, vague demands, constantly moving goalposts and an utter lack of scientific grounding - all while using "heated rhetoric" to induce donations.  Companies under siege with such tactics are faced with a choice:  capitulate or have your brand identity trashed with smears and false claims.  Greenpeace is among the most egregious of such bad actors.  And when they targeted Resolute, we decided to draw the line, unapologetically and forcefully defending our integrity.   

And our RICO complaint extends far beyond mere speech, including, among other things, illegal cyber-attacks, fabrication of evidence, and misappropriation of confidential customer information.   

Everything Resolute makes relies on one of the world's most renewable natural resources: trees.  Resolute is a sustainability leader within the forest products industry.  Yet despite the many North American and global awards and recognition received, Resolute has been at the center of a cynical, multi-year attack campaign by large, well-funded activist organizations led by Greenpeace and its allies.  Over the course of this long, misleading campaign against our company, Greenpeace and its cohorts have insisted their claims were science-based and factual.  But as tends to happen with bullies, when we pushed back and forced them to back up their claims in response to a federal RICO lawsuit, they changed their tune.   

After years of claiming Resolute "destroyed forests," for instance, Greenpeace and its partners now admit in court filings that this accusation is "figurative rather than literal."  And Resolute is not causing a "caribou death spiral and extinction."  This was quite simply "non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole."  The list of allegations goes on, passed off to the public as fact, that they now acknowledge to be "non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion."  Seems Greenpeace and their allies are resorting to rhetorical contortions to explain their sudden reversals, including claiming the mantle of free speech martyrs.  But it's unlikely to work.  You see, Nicolas, false statements knowingly made without any basis in fact are not free speech in a court of law or public opinion.  In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has long-held that calculated falsehoods, including statements based on fabricated evidence, such as the statements Greenpeace and their cohorts advance about Resolute's forestry practices, are not protected by the First Amendment.  

We certainly believe in an open, transparent discourse.  But it's quite another thing altogether when we are brazenly threatened, as well as our customers, with a nebulous list of imagined crimes that have no measurable, accountable connection to reality.   

Far too many executives deal with activists by appeasement and accommodation, to avoid any hint of controversy.  Never mind that irresponsible activists are making up facts or acting for unprincipled and self-serving motives.  But for Resolute, there's no substitute for doing the right thing.  We have an obligation not only to our shareholders, but to our employees, the host communities in which we operate, and our First Nations and other business partners.  Not to condemn the irresponsible and illegal activity of Greenpeace and their partners would be to condone it, and that would certainly not be good corporate governance.  That's why Resolute hired the Kasowitz firm based on their expertise on RICO matters and their top-notch reputation.  Our company, our employees, and our partners deserve nothing less than the best legal counsel to support them.   

In terms of new RICO actions against Greenpeace:  If other companies are now willing to stand up to unlawful and irresponsible actions, then we say good for them; it's about time. 

Finally, I encourage you to check your facts on FSC, and more broadly, certification.  Resolute is the largest holder of SFI certification, and among the very largest with FSC certification in all of North America.   

 

Seth Kursman
Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability & Government Affairs
Resolute Forest Products

_

On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 2:00 PM, Seth Kursman wrote:

You can email me your questions and I will respond either by phone or in writing.  However, you still have not responded to my initial set of concerns.  I am especially concerned if you refuse to explain what appears to be a manifest conflict of interest?  It's my understanding that your chief editor and publisher has apparently been a paid consultant and public relations advisor to Greenpeace, which is a defendant in the litigation that you propose to report about.  If this is so, how then can we possibly expect any sort of objective treatment in the reporting?  That's a good faith question and I think we deserve a forthright reply before we consider granting any sort of interview.  Also, what is the timing of your story?   

Seth Kursman
Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability & Government Affairs
_

From:        Nicholas Kusnetz <____[email protected]
To:        Seth Kursman
Date:        08/25/2017 01:55 PM
Subject:        Re: Fw: Resolute Forest Products 


Seth, 
I do have several questions for this. Can we speak by phone sometime, or should I email them? 

Thanks

Nicholas Kusnetz
Reporter
InsideClimate News 

_

On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 1:14 PM, Seth Kursman wrote: 

Nick, I didn't hear back from you.  Will you be following up with me?  

_

From:        Seth Kursman/EXEC/MTL/CSC
To:        Nicholas Kusnetz <[email protected]
Date:        08/23/2017 02:57 PM
Subject:        Re: Resolute Forest Products

Sorry Nick, I pressed "send" a bit too soon.  I would also appreciate responses to the questions I posed, which you did not address in your email today.   

_

From:        Seth Kursman/EXEC/MTL/CSC
To:        Nicholas Kusnetz <[email protected]>, 
Date:        08/23/2017 02:55 PM
Subject:        Re: Resolute Forest Products

I will be your contact for an interview.  I am actively engaged in this file and do the interviews with rare exceptions.   

Seth Kursman
Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability & Government Affairs

_


From:        Nicholas Kusnetz <[email protected]
To:        Seth Kursman   
Date:        08/23/2017 02:13 PM
Subject:        Re: Resolute Forest Products 


Seth, 
I am looking into this now and would like to speak with someone at the company, ideally Richard Garneau. I'm available and flexible this week or early next week. 

Thanks, 
Nick

Nicholas Kusnetz
Reporter
InsideClimate News 

_


On Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 3:48 PM, Nicholas Kusnetz <[email protected]> wrote: 

Seth, 
Thanks for your email. If we need to be in touch, I know who to call. 

Thanks, 
Nick

Nicholas Kusnetz
Reporter
InsideClimate News 

_

On Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 12:18 PM, Seth Kursman wrote: 

Nicholas: 

It has come to our attention that you are working on a piece for InsideClimate about our company’s litigation against Greenpeace.  I was surprised to know that since we haven’t heard from you but if you could please confirm and let me know the status and direction of your reporting, I would appreciate it.   

Our company works hard to be fully responsive to any media requests but I also have a few concerns I’m hoping you can address for us in advance.   

First, is it true that your boss and publisher, David Sassoon, has been a paid consultant on policy and public relations to Greenpeace?  There appear to be several reports indicating that, including in Columbia Journalism Review.  If this is true, how much was he paid by Greenpeace, and is he still operating his professional consulting firm for environmental NGOs?   

Also, a review of your reportage shows an extensive list of articles casting various activist campaigns in a highly favorable light, particularly when they are aiming at natural resources companies.  The same could be said of InsideClimate as a whole.  In light of that apparently biased perspective, how can we be assured that your reporting on Resolute will be objective and even handed?   

Look forward to your thoughts. 

Thanks,  Seth Kursman

Seth Kursman
Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sustainability & Government Affairs

 

Boreal Communities Deserve Answers from Greenpeace

In recent public appearances and in a new online series called “10 Questions,” Greenpeace has displayed an unusual willingness to field queries about its conduct. 

Why unusual? Because for several years now, Greenpeace has routinely ignored the thousands of stakeholders across the Boreal who have pleaded with the activist organization to halt their attacks on responsible forestry. First Nations communities, local citizens, workers, mayors, and other leaders have written, phoned, marched, and shared their voices online. Their pleas have been disregarded.

 
 

In a recent public statement, Greenpeace admitted to the damage they have caused: “We are troubled by the recent job losses…in the forest industry which affect workers and their families.” And despite years of ignoring boreal stakeholders, they have declared that they are now ready to hear from them: “We know that the men and women in the forest industry must be at the discussion table [and] we do want to talk to the…workers who know the conditions on the ground best.”

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has publicly defended their harmful attacks as free speech. But this defense does not square with Greenpeace’s own statements on the issue: “There’s also a responsibility that goes with freedom of speech – which is based around honesty and transparency. Freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation and propaganda.”[1]

Greenpeace’s growing catalogue of contradictory proclamations raise some obvious questions:

If Greenpeace believes in transparency, then why aren’t they meeting with local communities?[2]

If Greenpeace is opposed to misinformation, then why do they insist that their accusations are “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that don’t “hew to strict literalisms of scientific precisions”?[3]

If Greenpeace knows that their attacks harm boreal communities, then why won’t they return phone calls or meet local citizens in person?[4]

These are all legitimate questions that deserve to have a light shined on them.

That’s the reason that we’ll be applying the hashtag #QuestionGreenpeace when these sorts of good faith queries are raised in the public discourse.

It’s time that the public sees whether Greenpeace has a commitment to transparency at all.

Here are several tweets that we will use to begin the discussion:

Why has @Greenpeace ignored so many appeals from people in the boreal communities impacted by their campaign? #QuestionGreenpeace

Thousands of citizens in Saint-Felicien protested against @Greenpeace’s attacks. Why hasn’t Greenpeace responded? #QuestionGreenpeace

If they respect workers so much, will @Greenpeace come to the boreal to hear from them directly? #QuestionGreenpeace

 
 

Trade Unions Confront Greenpeace on Job Destruction, Indifference

 
 

Trade unions representing workers across Quebec spoke out passionately about the economic damage and threats to jobs being caused by Greenpeace’s irresponsible attacks and unwillingness to engage with their communities.  

In a group statement, saying they are “deeply distressed by the approach taken by Greenpeace," the Confederation of National Trade Unions was represented at a press conference by the National Union of Pulp and Paper Workers of Alma, the Central Council of National Unions of Saguenay-Lac St-Jean, and the Manufacturing Industry Federation. Each of the unions denounced Greenpeace’s campaign that spreads misinformation about the boreal forest, and decried the group’s repeated indifference to appeals for dialogue with those communities that are being harmed.

In a public statement just weeks ago, Greenpeace admitted that the damage is real and ongoing. “We are troubled by the recent job losses…in the forest industry which affect workers and their families,” the group claimed. “We know that the men and women in the forest industry must be at the discussion table [and] we do want to talk to the…workers who know the conditions on the ground best.”

Those “workers who know the conditions on the ground best” are well aware that the boreal forest is in no way endangered, that Canada’s deforestation rate is virtually zero, and that less than 0.2% of the Canadian boreal is harvested each year – ten times less than what is disturbed annually by natural causes such as forest fires and disease. Those workers could also demonstrate that Resolute is a responsible forest manager, operating along with other Canadian forest products companies in a highly regulated environment and adhering to internationally recognized forest management and chain of custody standards.

Forestry workers are not defending their livelihoods at the expense of the environment – after all, wood is a renewable resource, and the long-term future of our communities depends on the sustainability of the forest. But these facts do not fit into Greenpeace’s misleading narrative.

Jean-Pierre Lebel, President of the National Union of Pulp and Paper Workers of Alma, refuted Greenpeace’s posturing. "This is a pretty critical situation,” he remarked. "I do not think Greenpeace cares about the workers or the region when it comes to this issue.”  

Manufacturing Industry Federation President Mathieu Lafleur added, “Greenpeace should stop attacking workers. There are 280 employees here who could end up losing their jobs. Families could be swept away by these potential job losses.” Mr. Lafleur also said that he had reached out to Greenpeace repeatedly to discuss the situation but he never heard back.  

Engelbert Cottenoir, Chairman of the Central Council of National Unions of Saguenay-Lac St-Jean, reiterated the harm being caused, saying that “280 honest workers and an entire region already suffering from various cutbacks will pay the price.”  

The unions also took specific aim at Greenpeace’s recent efforts to intimidate book publishers. “We denounce this boycotting campaign [and] the members of the union will end up being the primary victims,” said Mr. Lebel. “If Resolute’s customers boycott paper produced in Alma, it would significantly and very quickly weaken the production of the mill’s two paper machines. Hundreds of full-time, well-paid jobs could be lost. [That’s why] we would like to bring the negative impact of Greenpeace’s actions to light.”  

Greenpeace’s unwillingness to meet or even dialogue with the unions is part of an ongoing pattern. For years, many thousands of citizens in Canada’s Boreal region have reached out to Greenpeace, expressing their concerns by phone, on social media, during large public demonstrations, and through direct letters. How has Greenpeace responded to this avalanche of heartfelt appeals about the real harm they have caused? They have simply ignored them.