Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 04 September 2008 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Greenpeace Canada has decided to pull out of formal discussions towards building a collaborative process with AbitibiBowater on forest management practices in the boreal.
Discussions with Greenpeace broke off over an impasse regarding specific harvesting areas in which Greenpeace demanded that AbitibiBowater cease its forestry operations. The areas identified by Greenpeace are publicly owned and regulated woodlands and AbitibiBowater cannot change where and how it harvests in them without first obtaining the support and approval of other public, private, and community-based stakeholders.
"AbitibiBowater is working hard to live up to our environmental promise to do more and to continually do better," said David J. Paterson, president and chief executive officer. "To date, we have achieved independent sustainable forestry certification for 95% of our managed woodlands -- approximately 46 million acres -- more than any other company in the world."
The company's 100% certification commitment builds on its inclusive approach to certification that recognizes the three predominant North American certification standards, including the Canadian Standards Association, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards.
"While Greenpeace's decision to end talks is unfortunate, AbitibiBowater's work continues," added Paterson. "My door remains open to solutions. And, I reiterate my invitation to Greenpeace for a joint effort to meet concerned stakeholders to see how we can find ways to adjust regulations and forestry practices. I also hope that Greenpeace will accept my other invitation to tour our operations and to see for itself how our practices are evolving."
Significant progress had already been made in limiting the impact of forestry activities on the boreal forest. AbitibiBowater has postponed harvesting in large areas of forest for numerous environmental and social reasons, including the protection of wildlife habitat, such as migratory tracks for woodland caribou and traditional aboriginal uses. In June, the company made a significant move to encourage the resolution of the Government of Ontario's dispute with the Grassy Narrows First Nation by deciding to no longer use fiber harvested in the Whiskey Jack Forest.
Accepting Greenpeace's demand would have forced the company to shut down several operations in Quebec and Ontario, putting many of its employees out of work and jeopardizing the supply of products to customers.
AbitibiBowater produces a wide range of newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp, and wood products. It is the eighth largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturer in the world. AbitibiBowater owns or operates 27 pulp and paper facilities and 34 wood products facilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. The company markets its products in more than 90 countries and is among the world's largest recyclers of old newspapers and magazines. It has more third-party certified sustainable forest land than any other company in the world. AbitibiBowater's shares trade under the stock symbol ABH on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.