Canadian Loggers Forego Sustainability Practices, Opt to Continue Clearcutting Climate-Critical Boreal Forest, Finds New NRDC Analysis
WASHINGTON – Canada’s seven top loggers that produce wood pulp, used in single-use products like toilet paper, fail to operate in a sustainable manner and do not protect key Indigenous rights, according to a new analysis released today by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). None of Canada’s largest logging companies that produce wood pulp are prohibited from clearcutting Canada’s primary, unlogged forests nor have they taken adequate voluntary steps to minimize harms done to Indigenous Peoples and critical ecosystems, despite public claims to the contrary. This threatens the climate-critical boreal forest, the largest of the world’s remaining primary forests.
NRDC’s Pulp Fiction report and scorecard refute claims by Procter & Gamble (P&G) that the company’s supply chain for wood pulp used to make its Charmin, Bounty, and Puffs tissue products is based on sustainable management of the boreal forest. P&G is the largest U.S. purchaser of tissue pulp from Canada and the company is under pressure from shareholders to improve the sustainability of its supply chains from forests.
“Any claims that Canadian logging operations are governed by sustainable forestry practices are utter fiction. That also means P&G’s Canadian ‘tree to toilet’ pipeline flunks critical sustainability tests by relying on clearcut forest operations that imperil the planet’s future,” said Courtenay Lewis, Manager of Ecosystem Policy for NRDC’s Canada Program, co-author of the new report.
“Canada is the world’s second-largest wood pulp exporter, an industry dominated by companies operating in ways that threaten Indigenous communities, species on the brink of extinction, and the global climate,” said Anthony Swift, Director of NRDC’s Canada Program. “Canada’s federal and provincial governments cannot continue to sit on the sidelines as its climate critical primary forests are converted into wood pulp.”
NRDC assessed the policies of the seven largest pulp producers in Canada – including key suppliers to P&G – across several criteria:
- Securing free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples whose traditional territories are potentially impacted by logging operations supplying the companies’ pulp mills
- Safeguarding primary forests
- Protecting threatened species, including Canada’s boreal caribou
- Committing to superior forest certifications
Six of the seven companies failed almost all of these criteria: Paper Excellence/Domtar, Canfor, West Fraser, Mercer International, Resolute Forest Products, and Aditya Birla Group. One outlier, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac), performed significantly better than its peers, but is the smallest of the seven pulp producers by volume and does not reflect the industry at large.
The world’s leading climate scientists have called for the protection and expansion of the world’s remaining forests because of their role in capturing and storing carbon. But Canadian provinces have given the forestry industry enormous leeway to clearcut high volumes from the country’s forests: more than one million acres are clearcut every year from the carbon-rich boreal forest, which stores nearly twice as much carbon as exists in all the world’s oil reserves, and nearly twice as much carbon per acre as the Amazon. Canada’s failure to establish safeguards to protect its climate critical and biodiverse primary forests from destruction explains why Canada is at the top of the list of countries, along with Brazil and Russia, experiencing the most rapid rate of primary forest loss.
“It’s long past time for P&G to face the facts when it comes to sourcing from Canada’s climate-critical forests. As the company nears its annual shareholder meeting, P&G should listen to its investors who agree that one of the world’s last unlogged forests must be preserved to prevent climate catastrophe, rather than made into rolls of Charmin,” said Shelley Vinyard, NRDC’s Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager.
- Pulp Fiction: Canada’s Largest Pulp Producers’ Actions Do Not Match Their Sustainability Claims
- Pulp Fiction: New Report Shows P&G Is Spinning Tales
- NRDC Report: “Issue With Tissue 3.0”
- CBS Mornings: “Procter & Gamble heirs say company’s ‘production is coming at a terrible price to the planet’”
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.