Pulp Fiction: Canada’s Largest Pulp Producers’ Actions Do Not Match Their Sustainability Claims

Report
October 06, 2021

The Canadian boreal is the world’s largest intact forest, and it plays a crucial role in safeguarding the earth’s carbon storage and threatened species. However, Canada is also the world’s second-largest wood pulp exporter, and this industry takes huge bites out of Canadian forests every day. Canadian pulp producers claim that they operate sustainably and that their activities do not cause long-term damage to forests. This report and scorecard tests those claims by examining the activities of Canada’s largest pulp producers—and finds those promises to be largely fiction.

The pulp operations are owned by powerful companies with collective annual revenues of tens of billions of dollars. With these resources, they could dramatically improve the human rights and sustainability requirements of their operations while supporting the well-being of local communities in the areas where they operate. Instead, Canada’s largest pulp suppliers are broadly failing to implement even baseline environmental and social standards. Meanwhile, their communications materials are greenwashing their poor behavior, concealing harmful activities with false claims of sustainability.

These findings should concern purchasers of this wood and pulp, including major tissue and toilet paper producers that echo these same sustainability claims in regards to many of their tissue products. It is vital that companies using pulp and wood in their products have sustainable supply chain requirements that protect human rights, primary forests and threatened species; in the absence of these commitments, many of these companies are complicit in deforestation and forest degradation.