Greenpeace Canada has filed a Statement of Defense in response to a $7 million lawsuit by Resolute Forest Products (NYSE:RFP) over allegations that the logging company destroyed forests in Quebec and Ontario.
Filed Thursday in Ontario Superior Court, the Statement of Defense argues that Resolute Forest Products is using the suit in an attempt to silence critics.
“The law suits against Greenpeace and Rainforest Alliance meet the classic profile of a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) because they have been brought to silence criticism of the Company’s conduct concerning matters of high public interest: the future of Canadian boreal forests, the threat to biodiversity in those forests, respect for First Nation entitlements to forest land, and concern for the future of other communities that are dependent upon the boreal forest,” stated the filing.
Resolute had three of its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates suspended in January after Greenpeace reported breaches of the forestry standard. An audit by the Rainforest Alliance confirmed problems with Resolute’s operations. Resolute then sued both NGOs.
Boreal forest in Canada. Photo by: Markus Mauthe/Greenpeace.
Greenpeace says Resolute’s tactics raise questions about its commitment to environmental stewardship.
“A socially responsible company would be collaborating, not suing, to solve its challenges,” said Richard Brooks, defendant and Forest Campaign Coordinator at Greenpeace Canada.
Montreal-based Resolute, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange and is currently valued at about $1.7 billion, has said it expects the loss of FSC certification to be “temporary” and that it won’t affect its operations.
Resolute sells pulp, paper, and wood products globally. It operates in the United States, Canada and South Korea.