In 1987, the United Nations put “sustainability” at the top of the world’s agenda, defining it as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Few industries have heeded this call more strongly than the forest products industry. And Resolute Forest Products has gone beyond this to make it a central consideration in how we do business.
“My grandparents taught me to revere nature. I have spent my professional life dedicated to that charge. It’s every employee’s duty to leave the forests in better condition than they were found.”
–Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolute Forest Products
Defining Sustainability: Three Pillars
Since the UN report was released, sustainability has evolved to mean the balancing of three needs: environmental, social and economic. This is the view we have embraced. In fact, we have incorporated it as a central element of Resolute’s vision and values, and the way in which we approach our business every day.
1. The Business Motivation
- As consumers have grown more concerned about protecting our environment, they have raised their expectations of the companies they buy forest products from. In response to these market trends, Resolute has achieved 100 percent independent, third-party sustainable forest management certification in areas where it holds responsibilities for forest management. The Company has also launched the Align™ brand of paper grades that uses 50 percent less wood fiber than competitive papers and less energy in their production. Formal life cycle assessments have demonstrated the range of environmental benefits of these grades of paper.
- Reducing the amount of energy and water consumed in the manufacturing of paper products saves Resolute tens of millions of dollars each year, savings which allow the Company to offer steady employment, support research and development, and to play an active role in the communities in which our employees work and live. What benefits the environment and what’s good for business are not mutually exclusive. In fact, quite the contrary. We’ve demonstrated time and time again that environmental, social and economic considerations go hand in hand.
2. The Environmental Imperative
- The environment depends on strong, healthy forests in many ways: forests play a central role in cleaning the air we breathe and filtering the water we drink; giving sanctuary and habitat for wildlife and flora; creating opportunities for recreation, having incalculable traditional, social and cultural value for First Nation peoples, as well as providing the most ecological building material and fiber for producing a multitude of products that all of us use every day.
3. The Social Reality
- Many of our operations are located in boreal towns that rely on the forest for economic sustenance and view them as the roots of their communities. The boreal forest is the backyard for many communities, and it is a vital legacy to be passed on to future generations. Resolute recognizes its obligation to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the boreal.
- First Nations, Canada’s aboriginal peoples, have depended on the boreal for centuries, and consider its survival as being integral to their traditional, social, cultural and economic survival.
Resolute’s Sustainability in Action
Resolute has worked hard to take a leadership role in the forest products industry around sustainability. Here is a look at the progress we’ve made so far, and some thoughts on what lies ahead for us:
- Resolute is a co-founder and a strong supporter of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the largest partnership of its kind in the world, bringing together 21 forest products companies and nine environmental groups to achieve the joint goal of ensuring the sustainability of the Canadian boreal forest for generations to come.
- 100 percent of the woodlands managed by Resolute are certified to at least one of three internationally-recognized standards for sustainable forest management in North America.
- Resolute is working hard to achieve our goal of having 80 percent of our forests certified through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) by 2015.
- As a company, Resolute has made a commitment through the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Saver’s program to achieving a 65 percent absolute reduction in our scope one and scope two greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 over a 2000 base year. We are currently are on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.
- We are also working hard to improve our understanding of the Company’s water footprint and voluntarily report on our water use performance through the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Water Disclosure program.
- Resolute has introduced a new product line called AlignTM, which uses 50 percent less wood fiber and thus requires significantly fewer trees to produce than competitive papers. Our Align™ uncoated papers have a carbon footprint 35-86 percent smaller than competitive papers, depending on the grade.
- Around 70 percent of Resolute’s energy requirements come from renewable sources. While hydro-electricity is our primary source of energy, eight Company sites operate cogeneration facilities that produce “green energy” from carbon-neutral biomass. Where possible, we also use alternative fuels, primarily used tires, waste plastics and landfill gas.
- Resolute has created multiple communication channels to encourage discussion and information sharing with the people and communities who depend on us to be responsible. We have established stakeholder committees at all of our operations to engage and foster dialogue with First Nations, local communities, elected officials and other partners.
- Recognizing the competitive edge that sustainability delivers, we are pleased to publish an annual Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report that lays out our annual sustainability goals, charts progress towards achieving them, and clearly explains which areas need to be improved. The GRI framework is recognized as being the world’s most thorough and advanced sustainability reporting guidelines. For more information, see www.resolutefp.com/Sustainability.
Resolute Forest Products is committed to achieving our commitments on sustainable forestry, greenhouse gas reduction and engagement with communities, (First Nations and stakeholders). Our commitment to the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – is strong and will continue to frame our actions and planning in the future.