Greenpeace's "Free Speech" Hypocrisy

Greenpeace is insisting that the First Amendment protects a dishonest campaign against Resolute Forest Products they call “more figurative than literal” in court filings. But when it’s time for Greenpeace to go on the attack, they strike a different chord. Here’s how the activist organization discusses free speech on their website:

 
 

Whether you call it “rhetorical hyperbole” or “unverifiable matters of subjective opinion,” it’s clear the many demonstrably false statements Greenpeace has made about Resolute don’t meet the lofty standards for honesty and transparency they claim to hold dear. In fact, they might best be characterized as “misinformation and propaganda.”

Yet Greenpeace and its allies are still trying to have it both ways.  In federal court, their misleading claims are “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that don’t “hew to strict literalisms of scientific precisions.”  But when it’s time to solicit donations, Greenpeace  claims they’re the victim of “corporate bullies” trying to “silence dissent.”[1]

It’s clear that Greenpeace believes their lofty standards apply to everyone but Greenpeace. That’s why misinformation and dishonesty are the cornerstone of Greenpeace’s boreal campaign, and why they refuse to accept responsibility for the harm their campaign has caused boreal communities.


[1] http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/stories/the-day-i-was-treated-like-a-mobster-and-served-a-300-million-lawsuit-for-defending-forests/

Greenpeace “Report” is Misleading, Re-hashed, Dishonest

The activists at Greenpeace are at pains to present a recent “report” on their boreal campaign as a major new work of original research, but in fact the document presents no new information, and merely rehashes the many distortions and falsehoods that have littered their irresponsible attacks on us for years.

Quite simply, Resolute has debunked or answered every substantive specific charge laid out in this document, in great detail, as they arose. And in each case we have done so in full transparent view of the public and the many stakeholders in the boreal. To what result? Numerous credible outlets that have investigated our dispute with Greenpeace and its allies—from the Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post to the National Post to Enquête—have raised questions concerning the group’s mischaracterization of the facts, its questionable tactics, its underlying motivations, or all of the above.

When Enquête, one of Canada’s leading TV news programs, confronted then-Director of Greenpeace Quebec, Nicolas Mainville about falsified images published and then retracted by Greenpeace, he deflected responsibility and responded, “It makes me laugh a bit.”[1]

When the Wall Street Journal asked Greenpeace about its history of distortion and impersonation, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard responded without addressing the specifics.[2]

And if the verdict of outside observers is not enough, consider that Greenpeace itself, when confronted in court about their many mistruths, was forced to concede in legal filings that the claims they made against Resolute were “non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole.” Strongly stated alarmist positions were described as matters of “non-verifiable subjective opinion,” and characterizations of Resolute’s activities in the region were described as “more figurative than literal.”

But let’s review the specifics once more:

On The Boreal and Climate Change

Greenpeace conflates forest management with deforestation. But Canada has strict laws governing the industry, and Resolute meets or exceeds them. Less than 0.2% of the Canadian boreal is harvested each year- ten times less than what is disturbed annually by natural causes like forest fires and disease.[3] As for real deforestation, it’s practically nonexistent. Canada’s deforestation rate is virtually zero at 0.02%, due largely to commercial development and other industrial uses, not the forest products industry.

Greenpeace goes on to insinuate that Resolute’s harvesting operations in some way impair the boreal forest’s ability to absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere. What they leave out is that harvesting and responsible forest management are recognized and encouraged by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to improve carbon capture.[4][5]

Greenpeace also attempts to paint Resolute as an unreliable partner for conservationists, noting as an apparent proof point that the company’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had ended. But they grossly mischaracterize the natural course of that partnership.  Resolute was a member of the WWF Climate Savers Program, a five-year agreement in which leading corporations establish ambitious targets to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  In 2011, Resolute  committed to some of the most ambitious goals in the industry - a 65% reduction of GHG emission levels by 2015 over 2000 levels. We exceeded our goal by the end of the agreement, and as of the end of 2016, we achieved a 73% reduction.  We have also completely eliminated the use of coal on-site. Indeed, we have received North American and global recognition for our commitment to carbon reduction, responsible forest management, and our innovative sustainable development. 

 
 

On Collaboration with First Nations Communities

Greenpeace claims to respect indigenous communities’ rights to economic self-determination. But many First Nations communities disagree. 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.”

Partnerships between Resolute and First Nations communities are also left out of the report. Resolute has strong partnerships with over 40 First Nations communities in regions where we operate, and in 2015 signed a historic Memorandum of Agreement with six First Nations partners resulting in $100 million in new business for First Nations communities.[6]

 
 

Greenpeace claims daily “collaboration” with First Nations, governments, and unions “to foster . . . healthy local communities,” but omits its many conflicts with those same groups, including the many representatives who have called out to the organization and its allies to stop campaigns that misinform the public and threaten the livelihood of forestry communities. Greenpeace has ignored stakeholders including First Nations communities, federal and provincial government officials, industry associations, and union leadership representing thousands of employees and retirees.

On Stakeholder Engagement

Greenpeace’s pretense at engagement and accountability is more than just dishonest, it’s insulting to the thousands of stakeholders who have reached out in good faith, imploring an end to the dishonest campaigns causing real harm to boreal communities.

Is it any wonder that, as the National Post reported, Greenpeace personnel need to disguise their identity when they travel in boreal forest communities?[7]

Resolute works with a wide range of stakeholders including First Nations communities, customers, employees, environmental and other non-governmental organizations ((E)NGOs), business partners, government officials, investors, and the general public every day.

 

On “Threatened Species Habitat” in the Boreal

Greenpeace insinuates that Resolute’s activities harm at-risk caribou populations. But almost 75% of the woodland caribou range is off limits to the forest products industry in the areas we operate, and in the area that is accessible, 38% in Quebec and a further 34% in Ontario have been set aside for conservation and other purposes.[8] Recent caribou population surveys in Quebec indicate that woodland caribou populations are increasing, surpassing goals for 2023.

On Free Speech, “Suppress[ing]…Facts” and “Silencing” Critics

Greenpeace wrongly characterizes our lawsuit in U.S. federal court as an attack on the First Amendment. The lawsuit stems from the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Free speech does not protect libel and slander.

 
 

Greenpeace and their allies are trying to have it both ways. When defending their statements in Court, they refer to them as “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.” When it comes time to fundraise, these same statements are passed off as “facts.” Here is a link to our complaint

Greenpeace also claims our suit is a “deliberate effort” to push them out of the public discourse. But the reality is that the litigation specifies actual harm that Greenpeace has caused — damage that Greenpeace itself has claimed exceeds $100 million. 

On Doing Business with Resolute

Greenpeace has the tremendous gall to call out publishers for working with a “controversial company linked to the destruction of intact ancient forests” when the only groups claiming controversy are Greenpeace and its allies. The truth is that the boreal is not in any scientifically relevant sense “ancient”, and according to the United Nations, is in no way “endangered.” Resolute has been internationally recognized for its environmental stewardship and responsible practices in the region.

 
 

Greenpeace’s “report” adds up to almost nothing, comprised entirely of warmed over errors that we have already corrected elsewhere. It does nothing to address our serious legal charges, to account for the harm pointed out by so many independent journalists and boreal stakeholders, or to genuinely advance the conversation on sustainability in North America.

Standing up against false statements, threats and intimidation is a moral obligation. That obligation includes supporting our customers, stakeholders and the communities that live and work in the boreal, who stand with us.

 

 

[1] 2016. Resolute Forest Products Blog. TV Newsmagazine highlights Greenpeace misinformation. http://blog.resolutefp.com/2016/04/tv-newsmagazine-highlights-greenpeace-misinformation/ 

[2] 2016. The Wall Street Journal. The Case Against Greenpeace. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-case-against-greenpeace-1466203663

[3] 2014. Government of Canada-Natural Resources Canada. The State of Canada’s Forests: Annual Report 2014. http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/publications?id=35713

[4] 2016 Resolute Forest Products Press Release. Resolute Files Racketeering Suit Against Greenpeace in U.S. Federal Court. http://resolutefp.mediaroom.com/2016-05-31-C-O-R-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-from-Source-Resolute-Forest-Products-Inc

[5]2007. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-chapter9.pdf

[6] 2015. Resolute Forest Products Press Release. Resolute Celebrates Ground-Breaking MOA with Six First Nations. http://resolutefp.mediaroom.com/news-releases?item=135452

[7] 2015. Financial Post. Battle for the Boreal.
http://business.financialpost.com/features/battle-for-the-boreal-forest-2

[8] 2016. Resolute calculations. Detailed calculations available upon request. Results from Resolute Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping analysis conducted in Ontario and the Fiche Thématique de Québec from the Quebec Forestry Office. http://www.ec.gc.ca.indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=8390800A-1#pa3

Greenpeace finally realizes its attacks on Canadian communities have consequences

For several years, stakeholders across Quebec and Ontario have appealed to Greenpeace to halt its misleading and irresponsible attacks on responsible forestry. Most of those good faith attempts have been ignored.  But now that Resolute is holding Greenpeace accountable in court, it appears that the multi-national fundraising group is beginning to reflect on the consequences of its reckless behavior.

In a YouTube video with the odd title “Logging Company Want [sic] to Sue Greenpeace out of Existence,” the group complains about having to justify its years-long campaign of threats and falsehoods aimed at Resolute, our customers, and the communities where we live and work.  Unsurprisingly, the video is riddled with misinformation and so we are going to set the record straight by taking a close look at the video script:

[Title Card]: Resolute Forest Products, Canada’s largest logging company, is trying to sue Greenpeace out of existence.

We respond to Greenpeace's misleading video.

False. Resolute is holding Greenpeace and its allies accountable for the damage they have inflicted with their misrepresentations and false claims.  Legal action followed multiple good-faith attempts to stop their inappropriate and irresponsible campaign.

Greenpeace has bragged publicly about the $100 million in damage they claim to have caused.” 

[Text Card on Screen]: Responding to criticism, Resolute sued, claiming Greenpeace “is a global fraud” that is not “genuinely focused on the environment.”

Wrong again. Resolute’s suit is in response to Greenpeace’s threats, cyberattacks, intimidation of customers, destruction of jobs, harm to local communities and outright defamation.

ROLF SKAR: Last year we received notice that Resolute was filing a SLAPP suit against Greenpeace in the U.S. and Greenpeace International. It can be intimidating to be personally named in a fat lawsuit. You got piles of legal papers.

It’s actually a RICO suit.

ROLF SKAR: You wonder about ‘what’s this going to mean for me?’

For years, Greenpeace's actions have harmed countless communities throughout the boreal with zero regard for the livelihoods or dedication of ordinary people who call the forest home.

AMY MOAS: There was a knock at the door, I go and the process server hands me this chunk of paper here and it was the lawsuit and it was real at that moment.

It took a process server to make the damage Moas and her colleagues have caused real.

Thousands of citizens, community leaders, and First Nations have appealed to activist groups to stop their attacks… and sadly, they have been ignored.

SHANE MOFFATT: Resolute Forest Products sued me, Greenpeace Canada, and a colleague of mine, for seven million dollars four years ago.

Litigation that is still ongoing - Greenpeace has tried to delay the case repeatedly in order to avoid the discovery process. What are they afraid the courts will find? 

AMY MOAS: I am a Greenpeace activist, but I’m also just an everyday, average mom.

There are thousands of average moms and dads who live and work in the Boreal. Don’t they have a say in what happens in their community? Any feelings about that? 

SHANE MOFFATT: People often don’t realize that Greenpeace is all about solutions that deliver sustainable economies for local communities…

Solutions? It seems like their campaigns are about dangerous stunts and what they call “non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole.”

SHANE MOFFATT:… ensure that indigenous rights are being protected,

Is that why Greenpeace trespassed on the sacred Nazca lines in Peru, offending the country’s Indigenous Peoples, authorities and local communities?

 Is that why Slate Magazine documented Greenpeace blocking the production of golden rice that would save lives and cure blindness around the world?

ROLF SKAR: We start with our goal of zero deforestation and forest degradation. It is easy to see where they stuff has happened because of modern technology.

Less than 0.2% of Canada’s boreal forest is harvested each year. More than ten  times less than the amount disturbed annually by natural causes such as forest fires, insects and disease.

Canada’s annual deforestation rate is close to zero, less than 0.02% – due mainly to other industrial activities, urban development, transportation, recreation and hydroelectricity.

AMY MOAS: Most of what I do works with companies and to make sure that the commodities that they buy, so stuff like pulp and paper and palm oil, are coming from really sustainable and responsible sources around the world.

That typically involves Moas and her colleagues making claims they admit don’t “hew to strict literalisms or scientific precision.” In recent court filings they’ve called their campaign more “figurative than literal.” 

Greenpeace admits to using “rhetorical hyperbole” and “non-verifiable subjective opinion” to threaten companies with public disparagement campaigns and cyber harassment if they don’t comply with its demands.

AMY MOAS: And, Resolute Forest Products is one of the largest logging companies in North America. And so you can’t ignore the impact they’re having on the ground there.

Resolute’s track record on environmental stewardship has won North American and global recognition. 

[Text Card on Screen] If Resolute wins these lawsuits, it would set a dangerous precedent letting more corporations silence their critics.

Free speech does not include libel and slander.

AMY MOAS: Calling us a criminal enterprise is so far from reality that it’s really hard to understand.

Take a closer look at our RICO complaint. It specifies how Greenpeace conspired to threaten Resolute and our customers with blatant fabrications.

SHANE MOFFAT: Why Resolute is such an important part of this story is because not only are they threatening the health of these forests for future generations, they’re also threatening the ability of the environmental movement as a whole to speak out, to criticize, and to shine a light on the practices that otherwise wouldn’t come to the public’s attention.

No one is being silenced. You’re speaking out right here in this video.

Citizens and companies have a right to respond, and Greenpeace should be held accountable under the law just like everybody else.

NRDC Continues Pattern of Intellectual Dishonesty and Ignores Concerns of Boreal Communities in Latest Blog Post

Ignoring concerns from people who actually live in the region they claim to be defending, NRDC has published another misleading blog post, this time about imaginary discrepancies in how Canadian forestry is regulated.  Two Washington, D.C.-based lawyers on NRDC staff, Anthony Swift and Joshua Axelrod, attempt to cast doubt on the findings of a Yale University study concluding that the Canadian boreal is one of the world’s best regulated and well-managed forests.[1] Their speculation is baseless, but maybe the truth isn’t enough to drum up donations?

NRDC refers to “a mounting body of evidence” that “not all is well” in the great northern forest. But they are woefully short on specifics and despite their claim to be interested in “enforcement and compliance,” Swift and Axelrod never mention a single compliance rate, offering instead only reckless insinuations.

Here are some other points Swift and Axelrod curiously leave out:

The Canadian boreal forest is thriving.

You would never know from the authors’ alarmism that only 0.2% of Canada’s boreal forest is harvested each year[2]- that’s a fraction of what is disturbed annually by natural causes like forest fires and disease, that Natural Resources Canada places the deforestation rate at virtually zero[3], or that the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization has gone on record as describing the Canadian boreal as in no way “endangered.”[4]

Canada’s forestry laws are strict-and they are enforced.

Swift and Axelrod’s entire argument is built around the fact that the Yale University study did not look at actual compliance with the laws and regulations they named “among the world’s best.” Citing exactly zero evidence, the authors insinuate that Canadian companies fail to comply.

The reality is that Canada ranks among the best countries on earth in terms of governance criteria. The Forest Stewardship Council™ itself recognized this in a Risk Assessment it performed of illegal logging in Canada.[5] And, according to the 2015 World Bank Governance Index, Canada ranks respectively at 94%, 95% and 94% on global scales of Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption.[6]

Forest regeneration is a complex process - it’s not as simple as planting a tree.

 For example, in some areas it makes more sense to encourage natural regeneration than to intervene through seeding or planting. No matter the method of regeneration in a given area, the process is closely monitored and highly regulated.

NRDC claims that regeneration of forests after harvest “may be well below 70% in many places,” short of the legal requirement across Canada for 100% regeneration on public lands. But in areas where Resolute operates, regeneration compliance was found to be at 98% after over 3,000 inspections.[7]

Canada’s forest products industry works closely with governments to protect endangered species like caribou.

Swift and Axelrod’s bias is evident in their discussion of woodland caribou. They claim that, “Ontario has specifically exempted logging companies from the provincial Endangered Species Act.” The truth is that Ontario passed regulatory changes[8] in an effort to “harmonize” the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and “reduce redundancies” with the well-established and enforced Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA). Under these changes, a further 65 species were added under advisement and forestry companies remained subject to the same responsibilities with regard to species conservation. At the time, Minister of Natural Resources (MNR) David Orazietti referred to the changes as the “gold standard” for species at risk.

Recent caribou population surveys in Quebec indicate increasing caribou populations, surpassing goals for 2023. In the areas where Resolute operates, almost 75% of woodland caribou range is off limits to the forest products industry, and in the area that is accessible, 38% in Quebec and a further 34% in Ontario have been set aside for conservation and other purposes.[10]

NRDC has ignored questions and concerns from thousands in boreal communities.

It has now been more than 12 weeks since a wide and varied group of stakeholders wrote letters directly to NRDC’s director, Rhea Suh. Community leaders representing impacted towns, union leaders speaking for workers, and trade groups representing businesses throughout Quebec and Ontario reached out in good faith to ask questions and share concerns that NRDC’s claims didn’t represent the reality of the boreal and put their livelihoods and families at risk.

How does NRDC justify its disparagements about Canadian forestry when its leadership does not appear to have visited these boreal communities or answered concerns about the harm NRDC is causing? Is NRDC colluding with Greenpeace? Most importantly, when will NRDC leadership commit to meeting in person, in Quebec and Ontario with these tens of thousands of stakeholders to actually make good on the dialogue NRDC claims to want?

Those were the kinds of questions that were posed to NRDC leadership. So far, NRDC has left many of these concerns unanswered and appears uninterested in accountability. Instead, they focus on dangerously misrepresenting the on-the-ground reality of the Canadian boreal. Like Greenpeace, NRDC has yet to answer questions presented to them by tens of thousands of people who are most affected by their deceptions.

But collaboration with First Nations, communities, and a range of other stakeholders is the cornerstone of Resolute’s businesses model. That’s why Resolute is standing up to the misinformation of NRDC, Greenpeace, and their allies. We cannot stand idly by while the livelihoods and families of our employees, customers, neighbors, and communities are threatened.


[1] 2004. Yale University. Global Environmental Forest Policies: Canada as a Constant Case Comparison of Select Forest Practice Regulations. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/media-uploads/the_study_itself_0.pdf

[2] 2014. Government of Canada-Natural Resources Canada. The State of Canada’s Forests: Annual Report 2014. http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/publications?id=35713

[3] 2014. Government of Canada-Natural Resources Canada. Deforestation in Canada: The Facts. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/inventory/13419

[4] 2010. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Global Forest Assessment. http://fao.org/docrep/013/i1757e/i1757e.pdf

[5] 2015. Forest Stewardship Council. FSC International Centralized Risk Assessment for Canada. https://ic.fsc.org/en/document-center/id/114

[6] 2017. World Bank. Worldwide Governance Indicators. http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#reports

[7] https://www.ontario.ca/page/annual-report-forest-management-2012-2013#section-8

[8] 2013. The Dryden Observer. Forestry Exempted from Endangered Species Act. http://thedrydenobserver.ca/2013/06/forestry-exempted-from-endangered-species-act/

[10] 2016. Resolute calculations. Detailed calculations available upon request. Results from Resolute Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping analysis conducted in Ontario and the Fiche Thématique de Québec from the Quebec Forestry Office. http://www.ec.gc.ca.indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=8390800A-1#pa3

Activist Hypocrisy Hurts Canadian Communities

While Greenpeace and its allies busy themselves with rhetorical gymnastics, they continue to display stunning hypocrisy when it comes to First Nations and other boreal communities.

Greenpeace identifies one of its core values as accountability and states the need to "demonstrate [its] respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and communities."


The group has suggested that Resolute somehow doesn't measure up.

Yet, Greenpeace and their cohorts conveniently ignore Resolute's solid longstanding partnerships with First Nations and other communities across the boreal, and the strong support these communities have voiced for our company.

Even more troubling, Greenpeace and others have failed to respond to the countless groups who have reached out in good faith to ask them to justify their attacks:


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First Nations, Local governmentsUnion leaders, and industry associations and individuals have written letters and spoken out asking for Greenpeace and its many allies to listen to their concerns.


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

And, over 4,000 people in the northern Quebec town of Saint-Félicien marched to demand an end to misleading activist campaigns.


Instead of responding to these pleas, Greenpeace and their supporters’ chief focus appears to be on their fundraising projects.

That is not accountability.

Words matter, and actions have consequences.  Hiding behind “rhetorical hyperbole” simply isn’t a good enough defense. Activist groups should not be allowed to make false or misleading public declarations one day and retract them in legal filings the next, after profiting from those allegations. It simply isn’t enough to chalk this cycle of abuse up as “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.”

Accountability means taking responsibility for how words and actions affect others. Accountability is at the core of what we believe in as a company, and that’s why we work hard to be a positive presence in the communities where we live and work. We’re proud of the relationships we have built around trust and transparency.

Resolute is standing firm. 

We have a collective responsibility to stand up and hold Greenpeace and its allies accountable for the human cost of their baseless and harmful practices. Our communities deserve that much. 

Greenpeace admits its attacks on Resolute were ‘non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion’

Greenpeace and its allies have been waging a campaign based on the false claim that Resolute Forest Products is "destroying" the boreal forest. Now, they're admitting that their campaign amounts to "hyperbole" that doesn't adhere to “strict literalisms or scientific precision". In other words, exaggerations and lies. 

Greenpeace publicly insists its claims are factual, but now, in formal legal filings in US Federal Court, calls its campaign more “figurative than literal” and blames the public for believing their “non-verifiable subjective opinion[s].” 

Greenpeace is using claims about Resolute that it admits are not true to raise money from unaware donors. We have an obligation to set the record straight. 

At Last, Greenpeace Admits to ‘Rhetorical Hyperbole’

A few years ago Greenpeace and allied groups chose my company, Resolute, Canada’s largest forest-products company, to be their next victim.

They compiled a litany of outlandish assertions: We were “forest destroyers,” for example, aggravating climate change, and causing a “caribou death spiral and extinction” in Canada’s boreal habitat. Greenpeace harassed companies we do business with, threatening them with the same sort of smear campaign that they launched against us and even instigating cyber-attacks on their websites. And they bragged about the damage — $100 million, in Canadian dollars — that they claimed to have inflicted on our business.

They were lying about our forestry practices, so we did something that none of the group’s other targets have yet found the wherewithal to do: We sued them, in Canada, for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations, and in the United States under RICO statutes.

A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court. They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices “do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,” as they concede in their latest legal filings. Their accusations against Resolute were instead “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.  

No “forest loss” was caused by Resolute, the groups concede — now that they are being held accountable. Of course, these late admissions are consistent with the findings of just about every independent journalist and commentator who has covered the dispute, from the Wall Street Journal editorial board to Enquête, a Canadian version, roughly, of 60 Minutes. Even Steve Forbes weighed in, calling our lawsuit “an outstanding example of how unfairly attacked companies should respond.” Peter Reich, one of the world’s leading forest ecologists, has said that Greenpeace has “a fundamental disregard for scientific reality.”

Finally hearing the truth from Greenpeace itself is vindication, even if it comes in the form of a tortured defense of its actions, rather than a simple apology. Remarkably, despite admitting in court that its rhetoric against Resolute is not true, Greenpeace continues to disparage us publicly and privately. Just a few weeks ago, we sent it a cease-and-desist letter demanding that it stop sending to our customers threatening letters accusing us of the “destruction of forests in Quebec and Ontario.”

Some news outlets in the United States have filed amicus briefs on behalf of Greenpeace, on free-speech grounds. But freedom of speech is not the same as libel and slander. And the public should ask the outlets when it can expect scrutinizing, critical coverage of what Greenpeace itself now admits are deceptive practices.

...

So far they have acted with virtual impunity and profited handsomely. One Greenpeace executive was even caught laughing on camera when he was confronted on a leading broadcast program with photos of a forest, affected by a wildfire, that the group erroneously said was “destroyed” by Resolute. It was morally wrong and yet another example that, as Greenpeace puts it, “heated rhetoric is the coin of the realm.” 

For me, confronting this barrage of misinformation has been more than just about business ethics. It is very personal. I was raised in Quebec’s Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, where my family has lived for generations. I harvested trees by hand to pay my way through school. Now 50 years later, those forest areas are again ready for harvest, and someday I will retire to this same land that my great-grandfather tilled.

Greenpeace is marauding not just our company but a way of life, one built on nurturing healthy forests that are the lifeblood of the people who live there. That’s why union leaders, small-business people, First Nations chiefs, and mayors and other government officials, of all political stripes, have written Greenpeace, imploring it to halt its campaign of misinformation. In nearly every instance, Greenpeace lacked the simple decency to respond, apparently indifferent to the human consequences of its actions.

Last summer, nearly 5,000 people marched through the streets of the small northern Quebec town of Saint-Félicien, demanding an end to Greenpeace’s disingenuous market campaign. Recognizing that the very viability of their communities are now held in the balance, local leaders have even “extended a hand” for eco-activists to have a dialogue with them. It is telling that Greenpeace neither showed up nor responded.

As a chief executive, I often meet and engage personally with our devoted employees at the local level, in the forests where they live and work. I know we share a common interest and a responsibility to sustain the forests for tomorrow. That’s why we’re not going to let Greenpeace get away with using “rhetorical hyperbole” to make false and damaging accusations from hundreds and thousands of miles away, in its glass-walled towers in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Washington, D.C. 

We’re going to stand tall, both in public discourse and in the courts. For my part, my guiding hope is to return to the forest with the ability to face my neighbors, my family, and my community and tell them that I stood up and told the truth.

 

Richard Garneau, President & CEO of Resolute Forest Products, National Review Online (3/2/2017)

NRDC Attacks Harm boreal communities

NRDC recently posted the first of a six part blog series by its “Canada expert” Anthony Swift, an American attorney in Washington, DC. It is riddled with inaccuracies, misleading claims, and bias.

 Here are just a few of the most egregious examples:

Swift makes the assertion that the boreal “plays a significant role in helping to regulate the global climate by holding at bay massive amounts of greenhouse gases emissions.” 

Swift fails to mention that forest management actually enhances the boreal’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases, as recognized by the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change.

He also leaves out that Resolute has been an industry leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting its carbon footprint by 73% since 2000.

Next, Swift purposefully conflates forestry terms, stating “logging plays a major role in the degradation [of the boreal forest].” 

What Swift calls ‘degradation’ includes natural disturbances like fires, insects, or disease, and is not synonymous with deforestation.

Less than 0.5% of Canada’s boreal forest is harvested each year and Canada’s annual deforestation rate is less than 0.02%.

He implies Resolute’s practices have “direly threatened woodland caribou” in the Canadian boreal. And later revisits the claim, bemoaning Resolute’s “lack of faith in following through on its commitment to ensure caribou survival.”

There are more caribou in Canada than deer, moose, and elk combined. With nearly 4 million caribou spread across the country, they represent the most abundant wild hoofed animal in Canada.

Swift also fails to mention that in Quebec, recent caribou population surveys indicate increasing caribou populations, surpassing goals for 2023.

In fact, the majority of the herds in the provinces where Resolute operates are considered “as likely as not to be self-sustaining” or “likely to be self-sustaining.”

Swift asserts that “Resolute has chosen to challenge freedom of speech and undermine meaningful dialogue with stakeholders engaged in proactive conservation efforts.”

Freedom of speech is not a license to slander, libel and defame. By Greenpeace’s own admission in recent legal filings, their campaign in the boreal consists of “non-verifiable statements of subjunctive/ subjective opinion” and “rhetorical hyperbole.”

We have attempted to resolve misleading activist campaigns through open discussion and now are taking our case to court where a judge and jury can decide on the legality of the conduct of Greenpeace and like-minded activists.

Swift then suggests “Resolute has now overseen a 46 percent decrease in the area of its woodlands certified by FSC.”

NRDC is crediting Resolute with managing over 5.5 million hectares more than we ever have.  He also fails to note that we have discontinued management in a number of regions since 2012, as a result of mill closures, and therefore  have not pursued forest management certification in the forests supporting those former operations.

He then claims “Resolute’s actions have also led to its loss of recognition by leading conservation groups.”

Resolute’s award-winning forest management practices were recognized internationally throughout 2016.

Next, Swift implies Resolute’s award-winning forestry management has “resulted in an extraordinarily hostile approach to civil society organizations and reflect a striking unwillingness to positively engage to identify credible and lasting conservation solutions.”

Collaboration is a hallmark of Resolute, but is it for NRDC?

Our collaborative efforts with communities, First Nations, NGOs, and a range of other stakeholders are the cornerstone of Resolute’s business approach.

In contrast, provincial governments, forestry associations, union leaders, First Nations communities, and industry employees and retirees have condemned activist misinformation, and some have reached out to NRDC through open letters, asking to be part of the dialogue on these issues, only to receive no response.

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.

Towards the end the piece, Swift recommends Resolute  “drop its litigation against public interest organizations, cease its attacks on the FSC system, and ensure free, prior and informed consent from First Nations on their territories.”

Swift’s “recommendation” is the product of his own warped perception of the reality in the boreal.

In the wake of Greenpeace and its codefendants’ admissions that their campaign in the boreal “does not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision” NRDC has taken up the gauntlet and parroted baseless claims in a show of support (and a fundraising push).

Furthermore, Resolute remains a member of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and successfully maintained our existing FSC certifications throughout 2016.

Our certification in NW Ontario has been reinstated and we recently maintained our certification in the Abitibi region of Quebec. With our recent acquisition of a second sawmill in Senneterre (Quebec), Resolute has added nearly 300,000 ha of FSC certified forests to the area we manage, covering more land area than the state of Rhode Island. We continue to be one of the largest holders of FSC forest management certificates in North America.

One of the 17,000 First Nations employees in the forest products industry.

And finally, Resolute has extensive consultative and economic partnerships with First Nations and has created and sustained substantial benefits for these peoples through shared economic participation in the forestry business. We aren't aware of any similar actions from NRDC.

More than 17,000 Aboriginal people work in the forest products industry and the sector’s activities involve more than 1,400 Aboriginal businesses.

 

Swift finishes his “expert” opinion piece by stating that “It is time to get back to the bigger goal of conserving the boreal forest and a real commitment to sustainable forestry.”

The greatest threat to the boreal is misinformation spread by environmental activists, like Swift, who don’t respect the views and interests of those who live and work there.

The forests in which Resolute operates are, as international experts agree, among the very best-managed in the world.

 

UPDATE (2/27/2017): At the time of this posting, NRDC had offered no response to an open letter cosigned by the Québec Forest Industry Council, Ontario Forest Industries Association, and the Forest Products Association of Canada. On February 27th - three days after this response went live - NRDC offered a reply that failed to answer direct concerns and cited studies commissioned by NRDC themselves and by other environmental organizations. Additionally, Swift’s article was amended to reflect some of the sloppy errors noted in our treatment of his original post.