Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP) has announced the reinstatement of its Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest in Northwestern Ontario. This reinstatement further confirms Resolute's status as one of the largest holders of FSC forest management certification in Canada and all of North America.
The certificate had been temporarily suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance. In keeping with the FSC process, Resolute has since successfully undergone two rigorous audits, which confirmed that the company is in compliance with the FSC standard. A Corrective Action Verification Audit was carried out in June 2015 and a new Annual Surveillance Audit was completed in September 2015. The results of this successful Annual Surveillance Audit were released today by Rainforest Alliance.
"Receiving confirmation that our certificate has been reinstated is welcomed news," said Richard Garneau, Resolute's president and chief executive officer. "This outcome is due in no small part to the diligence of our forestry team in Northwestern Ontario, and to the support of First Nations and a diversity of forest stakeholders, including local communities, unions, and anglers' and hunters' associations, to name a few."
"Our forestry management practices were already in compliance with the legal and regulatory frameworks of Ontario, which are among the most stringent in the world. We now have the confirmation that they also meet the requirements of the FSC standard," added Garneau.
"As we look forward as a company, however, we are concerned with the number of challenging issues currently facing FSC and its membership. These include the adoption of Motion 65, which aims to protect intact forest landscapes and its adaptation to the Canadian specific circumstances; the interpretation of Environment Canada's woodland caribou conservation strategy; the merging of all four Canadian FSC standards into a single one while simultaneously introducing a long list of new indicators; and several other issues. We recognize the considerable efforts of FSC and its membership to address these complex issues and Resolute will continue to actively take part in these efforts. We hope that in doing so, the impact on those whose livelihoods depend on the forest will be taken into consideration in a meaningful way."
Considering the seriousness of the issues, the company is concerned about the viability of FSC certification in the Canadian boreal forest, as are other companies. 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.
Resolute is committed to sustainable forest management, and 100% of woodlands managed by the company are independently certified to one or more of the three internationally-recognized responsible forest management standards in use in Canada – Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and FSC.
About Resolute Forest Products
Resolute Forest Products is a global leader in the forest products industry with a diverse range of products, including newsprint, specialty papers, tissue, market pulp and wood products. The company owns or operates over 40 pulp, paper, tissue and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, as well as power generation assets in Canada. Marketing its products in close to 80 countries, Resolute has third-party certified 100% of its managed woodlands to internationally recognized sustainable forest management standards. The shares of Resolute Forest Products trade under the stock symbol RFP on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Resolute has received multiple national and international awards for its leadership in corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, as well as for its business practices. Visit www.resolutefp.com for more information.
SOURCE Resolute Forest Products Inc.