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May 21, 2010

RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests

Along with ForestEthics and other foundation-dependent primary forest logging apologists, Greenpeace negotiates weak agreement that legitimizes continued old growth forest logging in exchange for vague promises of possible future protections. Old forest greenwashing must end.

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and water

(Canada) - In what they gratuitously herald as the 'world's largest conservation agreement', twenty Canadian forestry companies and nine environmental organizations including Greenpeace have announced an agreement that will temporarily suspend for three years any new logging in 29 million hectares of Canadian boreal forest [search] – about the size of Montana – to plan for possible protections of woodland caribou [search]. In return the nine environmental groups have vowed to stop protesting the companies involved (listed below), including ending their 'Do Not Buy' campaigns.

More troubling, the agreement provides much needed legitimacy to timber and pulp industry efforts to log much, if not all, of the remaining 43 million hectares of Canada’s old growth Boreal forests, and ultimately much of the caribou habitat after the moratorium lapses. The agreement uses fancy, meaningless worlds like “ecosystem-based” and “sustainable forest management” to describe first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items.

Ecological Internet (EI) President, Dr. Glen Barry, labeled the agreement "disgraceful", saying it "traded temporary, vague protections for business as usual industrial forestry across huge expanses of primary and old growth forests." Ecological Internet advocates a global permanent ban on industrial-scale logging in primary forests both in temperate and tropical forests, and will continue the campaign to end these practices in Canada’s ecologically priceless Boreal forests.

"Greenpeace's commitment to 'sustainable' and 'ecosystem based' forest management—for consumer items including toilet paper and lawn furniture from old forests—is an ecological crime, as we know we have already lost more primary forests than necessary to maintain global ecosystems and the biosphere. The agreement accepts not only FSC, but industry’s own certification of antiquated logging practices. This will not stand, and local communities, provincial governments and First Nations are encouraged to reject this forest greenwash."

### MORE ###

The Canadian Boreal Forest is North America’s largest primary forest, holding massive amounts of water, threatened wildlife and migratory birds, and containing 25% of the world's remaining intact ancient forests. It is also the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing the equivalent of 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Globally 60% of boreal forests have been diminished and fragmented, largely from logging resulting in more fires.

Ecological Internet and allies vigorously condemn Greenpeace Canada's greenwash endorsement of continued ancient boreal forest logging, largely to make throw away paper items. They completely fail to understand that all primary and old growth forests are endangered and of high conservation value. Instead they perpetuate the ecologically criminal myth that old forests can and should be industrially logged for the first time in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Old forests must be protected and restored for global ecological sustainability. Forests logged industrially for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. Real solutions to the Boreal forest/paper crisis require shrinking demand, increasing recyclables, and only accessing new fiber from regenerating secondary forests and mixed species, non-toxic, locally supported plantations.

EI calls upon Greenpeace to immediately cease and desist globally from negotiating agreements with industry that continue the production of throw away consumer items from Earth's dwindling old forests. Ecological Internet calls upon Greenpeace to work for full protection of primary forests, restoration of old growth forests, and dramatic reduction in paper and timber use globally. Ecological Internet’s message remains end primary forest logging. Expect further protest urging Greenpeace to realize the forest protection movement has moved past claims of sustainable forest management in primary and old growth forests.

### ENDS ###

Environmental organization that signed to the agreement include: Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign.

The companies that signed the agreement include: AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Paper Masson Ltee, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd, Weyerhauser Compnay Limited−all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.

DISCUSS THIS RELEASE:
http://forests.org/blog/ and http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet


Comments

Yes another bad deal and it always involves Greenpeace and ForestEthics with the likes of Tzeporah Berman.Great Bear Rainforest deal only protects 1/3 of this beautiful coastal rainforest a Mountain Caribou plan in the worlds only Inland Rainforest(BC) that does nothing to protect these ancient forest the logging continues.These groups and people have done so much damage.


An area the size of Montana,why not just plant Montana in Hemp ? When a private prison was proposed in N. Central Montana,a particle board company proposed building a plant near it so it could utilize prison labor.Now that 33 states have legalized growing hemp,8 years later,don't you think its time to grow some ?
You can now grow Medical Marijuana in Montana but you can't grow Hemp.The residual
Wheat straw in a field at 10
inches after harvest compared to a large Hemp plant is like comparing a doghouse to a Community Housing Project.

By their behavior many too many experts, thought leaders and opinion makers of all "stripes" have made it painfully clear that The Golden Rule is a churlish platitude only regarded positively by patsies, losers, n'er-do-wells and people trying to do the right thing. Everywhere arrogance, avarice and gold rule the world.

Since the dawn of Century XXI we have witnessed the triumph, however much a Pyrrhic victory, of self-serving ideological idiocy and wanton greed as well as the defeat of the best available science by selfish Masters of the Universe who willfully choose to examine what could be real only when their patently unsustainable interests are served by doing so. And they call their utterly misguided wrongdoing God's work.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001
http://www.sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176
http://www.countercurrents.org/salmony030510.htm

Dear Larry,

Thanks for writing back regarding some of my concerns regarding this agreement. I will share your response with others who have similar concerns. I did include a link to the leaked version of the agreement in my email to everyone so they would have an opportunity to see everything in context and make their own judgment. As you may be aware, there is now a longer version of the agreement now on the internet at: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/Final.pdf

Since this agreement has implications for all Canadians and Indigenous Nations, I was surprised that none of the signatories to this agreement posted the entire agreement (including all associated schedules and maps) on their websites. It is sad that it was only made public through a leak to the Vancouver Media co-op after they were refused a copy of it by signatories to the agreement.

It is too bad that Indigenous Nations were not significantly consulted on this agreement before it was signed. Please see the 'United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People' Articles 32 and 37 in particular: http://issuu.com/karinzylsaw/docs/un_declaration_rights_indigenous_peoples?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Fdark%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true

This lack of involvement, consultation and respect when the agreement was initially being discussed has upset many Indigenous People. What Indigenous community would sign onto a 'done deal' they had no significant part in right from the start. For that matter, what ENGO would sign onto a deal like that other than the ones who signed it.

The fact that the details of the agreement were not seen by most people until it was leaked and already a fait acompli has upset many people as well.

One big question I have is about Domtar who did not sign onto your agreement, Domtar has a pulp mill at Dryden Ontario which continues to poison Grassy Narrows First Nation. Here's what they are presently releasing into the air, land and also the waters of the Wabigoon River: http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/websol/querysite/facility_history_e.cfm?opt_npri_id=0000000928&opt_report_year=2008 Obviously not the best ecological practices on the part of Domtar!

Who supplies the chips to Domtar's Dryden pulp mill so they can continue poisoning Grassy Narrows? Could it be Weyerhaeuser or another of the signatories to the Boreal Forestry Agreement? If so, perhaps you can persuade the forest industry signatories to your agreement to stop supplying woodchips to that mill if they are indeed doing so? Also, how about the other signatories to your agreement? Here's what Howe Sound Pulp and Paper dumps on a regular basis: http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/websol/querysite/facility_history_e.cfm?opt_npri_id=0000001419&opt_report_year=2008 Where do you think the Boreal forests are going? Partly into Pulp and Paper Mills which spew this stuff all over the environment. This couldn't be good for the caribou or anything else that lives. Especially the people who eat those caribou. Does your agreement even consider the pollution your partners produce?

Anyway, I've mainly worked on pollution/health issues over all these years. I hope you will consider what I have said as I will consider what you have said here more carefully.

One thing you are probably not aware of is that Suncor Energy Inc., who is a member of the council of your group 'Canadian Boreal Initiative' is presently releasing 51.136 kilograms of mercury from its smokestack at Fort McMurray. That's huge! They have no plans to even reduce that amount, in fact, they plan to increase it to 65 kilograms of mercury releases into the foreseeable future! : http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/websol/querysite/substance_details_e.cfm?opt_npri_id=0000002230&opt_cas_number=NA%20-%2010&opt_report_year=2008
This certainly won't be good for communities like Fort Chipewyan who have found mercury in their fish now. Learn from the experience of Grassy Narrows: http://freegrassy.org/wp-content/uploads/Harada_report_2004_FINAL.pdf


If people are a bit reluctant to make peace treaties with these multinationals, perhaps it is because of their continued poisoning of the earth and of all of us. Anyway, all the best to you.

For Land and Life,
John H.W. Hummel

P.S.

If the ENGO's in your new coalition endorse and promote forest products from the boreal forest being sold (by your new forest industry partners) without considering all the pollution your new friends are causing by producing those products, and the ill health this pollution is doing to land and life then, your agreement can rightly be called 'Green-Wash'. It is wonderful that your forest industry associates will try and improve their clear-cutting practices to try and let some of the Caribou live but, what will they do to curtail all their pollution??! Does this new Boreal Forest Agreement do anything about that? Does it even figure into all this 'Eco-Friendly Branding' you and your ENGO partners have committed to participate in with FPAC (Forest Products Association of Canada)? I am also very concerned about the herbicides and pesticides these forestry companies are spraying on the forests in large quantities.



----- Original Message -----

From: Larry Innes
To: jhwhummel@shaw.ca
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:45 AM
Subject: Re: "Details Devil" Forest Agreement

Dear John:

Several people that we both know and respect have forwarded your "Details Devils Greenpeace Forest Deal" note on the recent Boreal forest agreement, seeking my views. I thought that it would be best to share them directly with you, in the expectation that we'd be able to narrow the range of issues on which we may disagree.

As one of the folks involved in hammering out the understanding with the FPAC companies which led to the agreement, I'm well aware of the gamble that the organizations that have chosen to participate in this truce are making. But I want to underscore at the outset that this is a truce--not a surrender.

Entering into this agreement wasn't a decision that anyone made lightly, or without regard to the potential risks involved in abandoning old but reliable approaches. However, we believe there has never been a better time than now to try to take another path towards achieving goals that we have long shared, including demonstrably improved ecosystem-based forest practices, habitat protection for critical species, recognition of the role that Boreal forests play in climate regulation, real prosperity for forest dependent communities, and respect for Aboriginal peoples as decision-makers over their lands and resources. We are committed to trying to advance respectful dialogue on these issues together with industry as an advocate--instead than as an opponent--of positive change, in the belief that governments--especially Aboriginal governments--will be willing to listen and to act on our best advice.

You've expressed particular concerns about the potential for divide-and-conquer strategies to play out in this new approach, and I admit that I share your concerns, but on different grounds. Every progressive movement lives in a tension between the perfect and the good, and I know that we've both seen situations where this tension could not be resolved, and where bitter disputes over the right path forward have divided communities and support movements in irreconcilable ways. I'm all for discussion on the relative merits of different approaches, but I think that it is fair to examine each carefully, and in light of what each side intends. To that end, I'd like to offer the following comments on your commentary:

First, it is important to put the CBFA in proper context. It is an aspirational agreement, based on voluntary commitments between participants and a number of goals which will require a great deal of goodwill and hard work to achieve. It is not legally binding on anyone, even those participating in the agreement. It doesn't compel anyone to do anything against their own interests, and it will either succeed or fail based on the degree to which the trust and commitment that has been developed thus far between participants carries forward over the next few years. Most significantly, success under the agreement ultimately requires actions by others, most notably provincial and Aboriginal governments, who we hope will come to share the goals identified in the agreement and will see value in working with us to help achieve them.

Now on your specific points:

1) The map you've circulated isn't part of the agreement, and was only prepared as background information. Much of the CBFA is concerned with actions on existing FPAC member tenures. The 'commercial forestry zone' was presented as context for situating those FPAC member tenures within the much larger area of land which has already been tenured or otherwise allocated by provincial governments for commercial forestry. The CBFA does not (and could not) designate a 'commercial forestry zone', but all the participants are very mindful of the fact that there is commercial forestry being undertaken on lands and by parties who are not part of the agreement, and are committed to raising the bar for forest practices across the entire boreal.

2) On quashing boycotts and other actions taken by groups outside of the CBFA, I do not share your view that this agreement will prevent such actions from occurring or undermine them in any significant way. There is a clear understanding on the part of the FPAC members that companies outside of this process are subject to continued pressure from the participating market campaign groups, and that everyone is subject to actions taken by those outside of it. If anything, this will assist groups to more effectively contrast bad practices by non-participating companies against the new commitments being made by the FPAC members under this agreement. Where such actions target FPAC members, the CBFA will create new leverage, as FPAC companies can now be held to higher standards on long-contentious issues, ranging from environmental performance to respect for Aboriginal and treaty rights. The agreement provides new mechanisms where participating ENGOs working inside the process may in fact be helpful to groups outside of the process, which may lend strength to our collective efforts.

3) On recruiting others to become "bound" by the agreement: the CBFA is a voluntary agreement between stakeholders (forest companies and ENGOs), not a land use policy or framework endorsed by governments. While we hope that others will join, and have made provisions for other ENGOs and forest companies to 'sign on' to the CBFA in support of the specific goals and a program of work that it sets out, we did not envision that governments (including Aboriginal governments) would do so. We understand that our role is to offer policy advice and to demonstrate to governments that practical, broadly supported outcomes are possible through voluntary and collaborative measures, in the hope that governments will respond by adopting them. Whether they do so or not is ultimately a decision that they must make, whether individually within their jurisdictions or through own government-to-government processes.

4) On associates and allies being bound by this agreement by virtue of "membership or otherwise": Obviously, third parties cannot be bound, particularly by a non-binding, voluntary agreement. However, everyone who is party to this agreement is involved in networks of relationships with members, shareholders, associates and allies that are not party to the agreement, but who may significantly influence either outcomes or perceptions. In order to build and maintain trust, we have agreed to work together and within our networks to try to build support for the goals and objectives of the CBFA, and to collaboratively address issues where they may arise. This is generally consistent with the idea of a truce, where there will be ongoing efforts to try to build a lasting peace through dialogue, but it is in no way a guarantee that others will not continue or renew hostilities.

5) The specific intent of the specific provision you've highlighted (Schedule A, Goal 6, s. 12, p. 38) is not to, as you suggest, enlist ENGOs as some kind of informant network for forest companies (which was frankly never suggested by FPAC and could not possibly have been agreed to by ENGOs) but instead to anticipate the possibility that an individual or organization closely associated with a participating ENGO or company would make a statement or take a position contrary to the goals and objectives of the CBFA on the market recognition of FPAC member products. This provision commits participants to engaging in dialogue on that issue in order to try to achieve a positive outcome in line with our overall objectives, even if that means admitting that we are wrong on a particular point.

There is another provision (s. 23, p. 12) entitled 'No Surprises' in which the CBFA parties agree to provide reasonable advance notice of activities (ie new advocacy campaigns) which may be sensitive in the context of the agreement, but only where possible and always with a view to resolving problems before they arise. The provision is also clear that information received in confidence (ie, from community or grassroots allies) is protected and will not be shared.

6) Implicit in your critique is the belief that ENGOs will now act against their own interests in order to secure this new relationship with the forest industry. I can guarantee that this is not the case. Remember, this is a truce, not a surrender. The agreement itself (CBFA s. 12, p. 9) is explicit in stating that "FPAC, FPAC Members, and ENGOs acknowledge that in seeking to identify outcomes that will engender broad based support, FPAC, FPAC Members, and ENGOs will each vigorously assert their interests and may not always be able to agree on outcomes that can be jointly supported - where this is the case they will pursue a positive and constructive approach to resolving disputes." From experience, I can say that this is a reflection of what has occurred over the past two years of discussion, and is a good indicator of what we can expect going forward.

In closing, I very much appreciate the validity of your fundamental concern--that this agreement could undermine grassroots struggle. If I believed that was the case, I would not have taken this path, as I recognize that grassroots struggle as a critical driver for change. What I hope this will achieve instead is a new bar by which forest practices and company commitments can be measured and held to account by local communities and others concerned about the fate of the forest. If some companies prove to be intractable, even as the rest of the industry moves ahead of them, I believe this agreement will help in holding them to account.

I'd be pleased to discuss this with you in greater detail, and look forward to your response.

me Larry Innes
Executive Director
Canadian Boreal Initiative
402-30 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5L4
linnes@borealcanada.ca

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