Resolute and Stand spar ahead of lawsuit
By Taylor Fredericks
June 8, 2016 - The gloves are off in a simmering legal battle between Resolute Forest Products and Greenpeace.
Following a recent press release announcing that Resolute has filed a U.S. federal lawsuit against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace USA, Greenpeace Fund Ltd., and Stand (formerly ForestEthics), Todd Paglia, Stand’s executive director, has fired back, penning a statement that accuses the company of bullying and unethical business practices.
“Resolute Forest Products has a proven record of bullying, as well as years of irresponsible logging in the Boreal region of Canada—regardless of what their press releases say,” says Paglia. “This company uses lawsuits as a business tactic to quiet public and legitimate criticism of their actions.”
The lawsuit—which will be heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia—includes federal racketeering claims and racketeering, trademark, defamation and tortious interference claims under Georgia law. There is no indication yet when it will be heard.
Resolute launched the suit in response to what it claims are false, malicious, and defamatory statements made as part of Greenpeace’s “Resolute: Forest Destroyer” campaign, which focuses on the company’s activities in the Boreal region of Canada. It seeks unspecified compensatory damages, as well as treble and punitive damages.
Resolute argues that the defendants have wrongly accused the company of destroying endangered forests, illegally operating and sourcing wood, contributing to the destruction of endangered species, abandoning and impoverishing the Boreal’s indigenous communities, and impairing the Boreal’s ability to fight climate change.
The complaint also alleges that Greenpeace has fabricated evidence and events to support its claims, staging photos falsely purporting to show Resolute logging in prohibited areas, and harvesting areas that were actually impacted by fire.
"Our company strives for the highest standards of environmental stewardship, which is why the attacks on us are so obviously cynical and thoroughly irresponsible,” says Richard Garneau, Resolute's president and CEO. “We have an obligation to our business ethics, and our many shareholders, customers, partners and stakeholders to draw the line after all other means have been exhausted."
As part of the suit, Resolute has established a website (resolutevgreenpeace.com) and confidential hotline (212.542.4700) to aid in their investigation of Greenpeace’s campaign and share important information about the case.
Judging from Paglia’s comments, however, it appears the defendants have no intention of backing down.
“Resolute is a bad actor in a volatile industry using irresponsible logging practices to compete in a global and diverse marketplace,” he insists. “No amount of intimidation tactics or bullying is going to make us stop telling the truth about Resolute or any other company that destroys forests."