AbitibiBowater adopts partial certification to deflect criticism of destructive logging operations, says Greenpeace

    TORONTO, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - In a move to calm critics of its
controversial logging operations, Canada's largest logging company announced
its intention to seek Forest Stewardship Council certification for roughly
10 per cent of its forestlands.
    AbitibiBowater's move comes after increasing pressure from their
corporate customers, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations. To
date, the company has not acted to protect ecologically important intact
forest areas or significant woodland caribou habitat.
    "AbitibiBowater is not a leader in sustainable forest management when it
only certifies three of the company's thirty-plus operations in Canada," said
Richard Brooks, forest campaign coordinator with Greenpeace. "It's a step in
the right direction, but intact forest protection must go hand in hand with
complete FSC certification of all operations and product lines."
    The company has already lost several million dollars in contracts and
business with customers who have expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace
of change at the company. In the past, companies have sought certification for
a small number of products or forests in order to paint themselves as 'green'
    "I do not believe that AbitibiBowater is responding to their customers
with this announcement," added Brooks. "They want complete FSC certification
and substantive action on protecting intact forests."
    Less than 35 per cent of AbitibiBowater's forestlands remain intact.
Intact forests are key habitats for endangered species such as woodland
caribou and help mitigate the impacts of climate change by storing more carbon
than fragmented forests. In the vast majority of AbitibiBowater's tenures the
status quo will continue to prevail - destruction of species habitat, damage
to ecologically important old forests, and intensive clearcutting.
    For more than a year Greenpeace has asked AbitibiBowater to set aside
intact forest areas from logging operations and take action to protect
endangered species.
    The Forest Stewardship Council is the gold standard for forestry
certification worldwide and supported by most major environmental
organizations. It is awarded to logging operations which practice responsible
forest management or to product lines coming from responsibly managed forests.

For further information:

For further information: Richard Brooks, Forest Campaign Coordinator,
(416) 573-7209

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