Greenpeace Urges Stripping Eco Certification: Canadian Forestry Giant Faces Scrutiny

"Greenpeace Alleges Deep Ties: Calls for Stripping Canadian Forestry Giant of Eco Certification"

Canada's largest pulp-and-paper company, Paper Excellence, is under intense scrutiny as Greenpeace Canada calls for the revocation of its sustainability credentials. The environmentalist group contends that newly uncovered connections with the Indonesian conglomerate Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), notorious for rainforest destruction, should disqualify Paper Excellence from its association with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Greenpeace argues that both entities are fundamentally part of the same corporate empire controlled by Jakarta-based Sinar Mas.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday, Greenpeace asserts a "preponderance of evidence" supporting the claim that Paper Excellence shares significant ties with APP, thus violating FSC rules against indirect involvement in environmentally damaging forestry practices. The FSC certification is widely regarded as the most stringent system for validating sustainability practices in the forestry industry.

Shane Moffatt, head of Greenpeace Canada's nature and food campaign, emphasizes the core of the complaint: Paper Excellence's alleged sisterhood with APP under the overarching control of Sinar Mas. Moffatt highlights the historical precedent of the FSC severing ties with APP in 2007 due to its failure to meet the council's forestry standards, asserting that this policy should equally apply to Paper Excellence for consistency and transparency.

Paper Excellence contests these allegations, setting the stage for a potential clash over its eco certification. The FSC's rules mandate a 30-day period for alerting Paper Excellence about the complaint, initiating informal mediation attempts. If resolution efforts prove unsuccessful, a formal investigative process will be triggered.

The FSC's Canadian branch, responding to inquiries, maintains that it has examined shareholder ties between the companies multiple times, with recent scrutiny reaffirming the absence of a majority ownership relationship between APP and Paper Excellence. The unfolding dispute underscores the high stakes and complexities surrounding eco certifications in the forestry sector.

Even in the event of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) finding a relationship, Paper Excellence's eco-certification status might not be automatically revoked. FSC Canada clarifies that companies committing to swiftly address identified issues can often retain their certification. Boasting over 40 mills in Canada and the U.S., Paper Excellence produces pulp, paper, or lumber under the FSC's endorsement, a coveted international certification seen on various forest products. This certification not only allows forestry companies to command premium prices but also attracts environmentally conscious brands as customers. Losing this certification would pose a significant setback for Paper Excellence, a resource giant managing a vast 22 million hectares of Canadian forest.

The Greenpeace complaint to the FSC leans on recent CBC reporting and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, presenting fresh evidence of ties between Paper Excellence and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Leaked internal records and accounts from former employees suggest a close and secretive coordination between Paper Excellence and APP, spanning business strategies, regulatory submissions, and even supply and pricing decisions. While Paper Excellence acknowledges its owner, Jackson Wijaya, is the son of the head of APP and received family support during its Canadian venture, it vehemently denies any control by APP or Sinar Mas.

In a statement to CBC, Paper Excellence asserts its independence from APP and Sinar Mas, emphasizing compliance with FSC standards and policies. The company underscores the successful completion of an annual independent third-party audit of its certification. Despite Greenpeace's claims and the evidence presented, Paper Excellence contends that, under both the current and previous FSC frameworks, it should not be categorized as part of the APP/Sinar Mas group or any other corporate grouping. The intricacies of this dispute highlight the complexities surrounding eco-certifications and the broader issues of sustainability in the forestry sector.

"Paper Excellence Faces Renewed Scrutiny: Denials Amidst Greenpeace Allegations and Ongoing Parliamentary Inquiries"

As Greenpeace intensifies its efforts to strip Paper Excellence of its sustainability credentials, the Canadian forestry giant vehemently denies allegations of deep ties with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). Greenpeace's complaint to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) asserts a close connection between Paper Excellence and APP, prompting concerns about compliance with FSC standards against indirect involvement in destructive forestry practices. APP counters these claims, stating it has never collaborated behind the scenes with Paper Excellence or shared confidential information.

The history of APP losing its FSC credentials in 2007 due to involvement in destructive practices casts a shadow over Paper Excellence. This isn't the first time environmental NGOs have sought to revoke Paper Excellence's certification. In 2019, an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence suggesting Jackson Wijaya's continued involvement in running a parent company of APP's Chinese pulp and paper mills. The FSC deemed this relationship "one degree removed," sparing Paper Excellence from decertification.

The spotlight on Paper Excellence extends to Parliament Hill, following its acquisitions of Domtar and Resolute Forest Products, making it Canada's largest market pulp producer. Opposition MPs question the thoroughness of the federal government's vetting process for these purchases, delving into Paper Excellence's past financing from the China Development Bank. The parliamentary committee has yet to hear from Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Paper Excellence owner Wijaya, raising concerns about the company's structure, its relationship with APP, and its significant holdings in Canadian equity.

As Paper Excellence navigates through Greenpeace's allegations, parliamentary inquiries, and the broader environmental and financial landscape, the uncertainties surrounding its operations cast a shadow over its reputation and role in Canada's forestry industry. The unfolding developments underscore the intricate intersections of environmental concerns, corporate transparency, and governmental oversight.

About the Author: Zach Dubinsky

Zach Dubinsky stands at the forefront of investigative journalism, renowned for his impactful reporting on offshore tax havens, which includes contributions to major exposés such as the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers. His investigative prowess extends to covering areas of political corruption and organized crime, earning him numerous national and international accolades for his dedicated work. With a track record of excellence, Dubinsky's commitment to uncovering hidden truths has become a hallmark of his journalistic career.

Phone: 416-205-7553Twitter: @DubinskyZachEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. contributed by Elizabeth Thompson.

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Navigating Turbulence – Paper Excellence Faces Unprecedented Challenges

As the allegations and controversies surrounding Paper Excellence unfold, the company finds itself at the intersection of environmental scrutiny, corporate transparency demands, and parliamentary inquiries. Greenpeace's pursuit to strip the Canadian forestry giant of its sustainability credentials raises significant questions about its ties to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and compliance with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. Despite vehement denials from Paper Excellence and APP, the historical backdrop of APP losing FSC credentials in 2007 adds complexity to the unfolding narrative.

Parallelly, parliamentary investigations into Paper Excellence's acquisitions, financing from the China Development Bank, and its role as Canada's largest market pulp producer add another layer of scrutiny. Opposition MPs on Parliament Hill demand clarity regarding the thoroughness of the government's vetting process, emphasizing the need for transparency in the company's structure, its relationship with APP, and its impact on Canadian equity.

Amidst these challenges, Paper Excellence faces a critical juncture where its reputation and role in Canada's forestry industry are under intense scrutiny. As the company navigates through Greenpeace's allegations, parliamentary inquiries, and broader environmental concerns, the uncertainties surrounding its operations underscore the intricate balance between corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, and public accountability.

The coming chapters in this unfolding saga will determine how Paper Excellence addresses these challenges, engages with environmental stakeholders, and provides the transparency sought by parliamentary committees. The echoes of this narrative are likely to resonate within the corridors of power, the forestry industry, and environmental advocacy circles, shaping the discourse on responsible business practices and sustainable forestry in Canada.