Canadian forestry firm sues over environmental audit

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A logging machine cuts trees in a forest 373 miles north of Montreal, Canada, on March 11, 2014
© AFP/File Clement Sabourin

Montreal (AFP) – Canada’s largest forest products company is suing over an audit that criticized the company’s logging practices for violating environmental standards, according to court documents obtained by AFP Tuesday.

Resolute Forest Products, which makes pulp and paper from wood, has filed the lawsuit against the Rainforest Alliance, a global group that certifies best forestry practices.

After its 2014 audit of the company’s northern Ontario province operations, the Rainforest Alliance had recommended the company’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate be suspended.

The environmental stamp of approval allows a company to say it is following environmentally sustainable forestry practices.

Resolute is contesting the audit, alleging the report was “biased.” They have won a court injunction sealing the audit and preventing its release this month.

A spokesman for the company said the draft report contains “an alarming number of biased interpretations, errors and omissions, serious process and fairness issues and a very clear conflict of interest.”

“We felt we had no choice” but to launch a court action, the spokesman, Seth Kursman, told public broadcaster CBC.

The lawsuit is the second launched by the company against an environmental group. Resolute is also suing Greenpeace over a report also critical of the company’s forestry practices.


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