A February 4 press release by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) misrepresents the substance and status of Resolute’s good faith efforts to engage in dialogue with FSC. The release relies entirely on the subjective and mistaken opinion of its lead executive, Kim Carstensen. Here are the facts:
Contrary to FSC’s characterization of our “unwillingness”, Resolute has repeatedly indicated that we are open to taking part in multi-party discussions on policies affecting forestry in Ontario and Quebec. Our initial statement confirmed our position.
We pointed out that provincial governments—the duly elected representatives of the people and the relevant regulatory authorities—must lead those discussions. Indeed, the issues with Resolute’s certificates cannot be resolved without the leadership of the provincial governments, which have legal jurisdiction over these matters.
When we met with Mr. Carstensen in late January, that meeting included those provincial officials and other industry representatives—not just Resolute, as FSC’s press release implies. Those government officials reiterated that they have legal jurisdiction over the land in question and must therefore oversee any policy affecting the Canadian communities that live and work there. FSC’s press release ignores the position of those officials and the other industry representatives entirely.
Mr. Carstensen again accuses us of making “derogative comments and attempt[ing] to instill public distrust in our system.” When this serious charge was raised several months ago, we asked Mr. Carstensen to point to any specific derogative comment or offer substantiation of any actual attempt to instill public distrust of FSC— and he has yet to present any. This is in contrast to FSC’s lack of any meaningful reaction to Greenpeace’s 2013 ‘FSC at Risk’ campaign.
As Mr. Carstensen points out in his press release, Resolute has been proactive in voicing our concerns and perspectives on challenges facing certification in Canada. It is irresponsible to suggest that Resolute is not interested in finding solutions to issues we ourselves raised. Mr. Carstensen knows well that we have publicly and privately stated our willingness to engage in a mediation process that meets the most basic conditions laid out above – that the provincial governments lead the process. Moreover, he knows that we are active and engaged participants in FSC’s separate, ongoing consultation process on its new Canadian forest management standard.
It is inappropriate for FSC to inject itself into an ongoing legal dispute between two members that is currently before the Canadian courts. It raises the question of whether FSC is interested in a mediation process to resolve forest management issues, or to resolve a totally unrelated dispute between Resolute and Greenpeace.
Sadly, this singular focus on Resolute is nothing new. We have raised concerns that affect the entire forest products industry in Canada. In fact, FSC suspensions and terminations in Canada currently total 13.8 million hectares. And yet the focus of FSC—like the focus of Greenpeace—has been entirely on Resolute.
We are at a loss to understand why Mr. Carstensen would want to misconstrue the true facts. Could this be evidence of a strategy to try to isolate Resolute in the public eye? Would it not be more productive to accept Resolute’s offer to resolve the issues through the existing consultative process?
FSC credibility is only as strong as its leadership’s commitment to equitable and fair treatment of all members. Mr. Carstensen’s latest press release does not meet that standard.
A timeline of correspondence between FSC and Resolute can be found here.