Resolute Forest Products said it will not attain new Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications for its Canadian forests based on coming changes in the designation process that could impact its wood supply.
The Montreal forest products giant announced the reinstatement of its FSC certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest in northwestern Ontario.
The certificate was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by the Rainforest Alliance.
Two audits by FSC now confirm that the company is in compliance with the standard, Resolute said in a Nov. 25 release.
In a statement, Richard Garneau, Resolute's president-CEO welcomed the reinstatement, crediting the work of its northwestern Ontario team with the support of First Nations, communities, unions and outdoor enthusiasts group, “to name a few.”
But he cautioned there are “challenges issues” in the development of new certification standards, including the adoption of Motion 65, which aims to protect “intact” forests, those not disturbed by roads or activity, and the interpretation of Environment Canada’s woodland caribou conservation strategy.
“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,” said the company in a statement.
That announcement was troubling to Kim Carstensen, FSC’s director general based in Bonn, Germany, who questioned whether Resolute would continue to be a “good faith” member and continue to participate in developing these new standards, rather than continue “to spread negative stories about FSC.”
“In the coming weeks, we will also undertake our own analysis of the situation around your membership and will come back to you with our conclusion,” said Carstensen in a Nov. 27 news release.
“I also noted that your message regarding the Black Spruce / Dog River - Matawin certificate mentioned the support of several stakeholder groups. This is crucial, but one stakeholder group was noticeably missing from this list, namely the environmental organisations. As you know, together with the other stakeholder groups, environmental organisations are very important for the chamber-balanced democracy inside FSC, and I believe it is essential, also for Resolute FP, to actively and constructively engage with these stakeholders.”
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not for-profit organization that promotes responsible chain-of-custody management of the world’s forests.