Bowater Mersey’s parent company recently signed a marketing deal with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In exchange for the panda-bear stamp of approval from the conservation group, the international paper and wood-products company AbitibiBowater Inc. — operating under the new name of Resolute Forest Products Inc. — must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and have 80 per cent of its forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) by 2015.
Like the WWF panda, the FSC stamp will be used as a marketing tool to gain customer approval for the “greenness” of Resolute’s products and supply chain. In a tight market, this kind of labelling can help consumers distinguish between products that are essentially the same. But trace the Resolute-Bowater supply chain backwards and you’ll end up in the woods of western Nova Scotia, where private woodlot owners are being squeezed by the company. Is this a sustainable supply chain in any meaningful sense of the word? I don’t think so. Continue reading