MONTREAL - Resolute Forest Products Inc., locked in a court battle with the Rainforest Alliance over failed FSC certification audits, has been named to Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens List of Canada for 2014.

Resolute Forest Products Makes Top 50 Corporations ListResolute ranked 47th on the Best 50 Corporate Citizens List of Canada for 2014, which was led by Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Domtar, another forest-based company, ranked 26th.

Among the 12 criteria Corporate Knights uses to select companies for its list are energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, leadership gender diversity and "clean capitalism" executive pay link.

In its press release announcing that it had made Corporate Knights' Best 50 List, Resolute noted several sustainability accomplishments, including, "Maintaining 100% third party certification of the Company's managed woodlands to one or more of the three internationally-recognized sustainable forest management standards." In addition to chain of custody certification through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), some of the forest land and operations Resolute manages are certified through the Sustainable Forestry Imitative (SFI), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) or a combination of the three.

Resolute Forest Products filed a lawsuit against the Rainforest Alliance last month claiming that the Rainforest Alliance's audits that resulted in the suspension of three of Resolute's FSC certification were "biased." An Ontario court ruled in Resolute's favor to seal the audits. The Rainforest Alliance said this was the first time it has ever been sued by an FSC certificate holder.

Richard Garneau, president and CEO of Resolute Forest Products, said of the Corporate Knights' award, "Resolute employees have worked hard to put our sustainability principles at the heart of every decision we make. By carefully balancing environmental, social and economic priorities, Resolute is becoming a more efficient operator, a better employer, and a stronger partner for customers and communities."

Other sustainability accomplishments cited by Resolute in its press release include:

  • Closing in, ahead of schedule, on its goal as a member of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Savers program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 65 percent by 2015, compared to 2000 levels. Resolute said its 65% goal is an industry-leading GHG reduction target and represents the equivalent of taking 1.57 million cars off the road.

  • Expanding its Align family of environmentally responsible papers that Resolute says use up to 50 percent less fiber and have an environmental footprint up to 85 percent smaller than its competitors. 

   • Partnering with First Nations in the company's operating communities. In 2013, Resolute's Opitciwan (Quebec) joint-venture sawmill was awarded the Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award by the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Resolute also recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Thunder Bay sawmill, a partnership between Resolute and the Fort William First Nation.

  •  The company compiled a 2013 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incident rate of 1.02, which is considered world class.

    "I am proud of what Resolute and our employees have accomplished," continued Richard Garneau. "We are honored that Resolute made the Best 50 list. This recognition speaks to our ongoing efforts to be a sustainable supplier of choice for our customers and a strong civic partner in the communities where we live and work."

    Resolute Forest Products owns or operates nearly 40 pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, and power generation assets in Canada. The company markets its its products in nearly 90 countries.

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