THUNDER BAY -- Resolute Forest Products’ latest video steps up the company’s attack on its environmental nemesis, calling Greenpeace and its members “eco-imperialists.”
The nearly four-minute video cites news stories condemning Greenpeace across the world, alleging the group is now bringing its effort to the boreal forest. It shows letters condemning Greenpeace from the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and Seine River First Nation, among union and municipal correspondence.
A discussion at Lakehead University between Resolute CEO Richard Garneau and NOMA President/Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield is featured as the video closes.
Author Paul K. Driessen coined the term “eco-imperialism” in his 2010 book of the same name in reference to Western organizations imposing an environmentalist agenda on communities in developing nations.
Although Resolute launched a public relations campaign against Greenpeace last summer, it’s the first time the company has ever used the term. But the man who commissioned the video stood behind what he called “an aggressive stand” against the environmental organization that has lobbied for paper suppliers to cease purchasing products sourced to his company’s mills.
“It seemed appropriate because you have a fringe environmental organization operating in a radical way -- one that is aggressively communicating in a misleading manner," said Resolute’s vice president of communications Seth Kursman.
They’ve built a fundraising campaign around misinformation and they’re attacking Resolute and they’re attacking really the Boreal Forest more broadly,”
Resolute launched a $7-million defamation lawsuit against Greenpeace in 2013, alleging the environmental organization is deliberately misleading the public over the company’s record. Courts have yet to reach a decision.
“Greenpeace continues to throw motions and appeals in an effort to continue to delay and delay but ultimately they’ll be held accountable,” Kursman said.
“And that will be a good day, not just for Resolute but for our partners in the communities and in the First Nations and the workers whose prosperity is unfortunately impacted by this irresponsible, unchecked behaviour.”
Greeenpeace forestry campaigner Richard Brooks pointed to a 15-year partnership between his organization and forestry companies that developed a 6.4-million hectare conservation agreement in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest to illustrate the possibilities of environmentalists and industry working together.
He called on Resolute to become part of collaborative solutions.
"It's very unfortunate that the management of the company continues to choose to put its money -- in this case, likely thousands of dollars -- into attack ad campaigns rather than into collaborative processes to find solutions that achieve sustainable forestry," Brooks said.
"They have turned down an invitation by the independent Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies their operations, to join a mediation process to resolve issues with their forestry practices. This mediation process was supported by unions, First Nations and environmental organizations. They are now facing a review of their membership within the FSC system.
"I think it's time for the company management to take a different appraoch, for the sake of their workers and the environment."