Resolute Forest Products Files Racketeering Lawsuit Against Greenpeace
Quebec-based Resolute Forest Products recently filed a racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace for its campaign criticizing the company’s forestry practices. Included in the case were Greenpeace International, Greenpeace USA, Greenpeace Fund, Inc. and the advocacy group STAND. Seeking compensatory and other damages, the complaint also included trademark, defamation, and tortious interference related to its campaign entitled “Resolute : Forest destroyer.”
The world’s largest producer of newsprint, Resolute was accused of destroying endangered forests and destroying caribou habitat. The racketeering lawsuit followed a libel case that Resolute filed against Greenpeace in 2013. The lawsuit alleges that Greenpeace maliciously accused and defamed Resolute of destroying endangered forests.
The issue began in 2012 when Greenpeace first started spreading malicious information that Resolute violated the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement with illegal logging activities in “suspended harvest areas.” Greenpeace was forced to issue a “Notice of Correction” for spreading false accusations.
However, Greenpeace continued spreading misinformation. Despite the statement of the President of Canada’s Forest Stewardship Council that the boreal forests are in healthy condition, Greenpeace still claimed that Resolute was illegally logging endangered forests and destroying caribou habitats. Because of Greenpeace’s allegations, an Ontario paper mill and a couple of Quebec paper production machines were closed down resulting to the loss of 300 jobs.
In response to the attacks launched at them by Greenpeace, Resolute CEO Richard Garneau filed a $7 million defamation lawsuit against them. Greenpeace called the lawsuit as “bullying” and tried to appeal their case but was turned down several times. On the other hand, Resolute Vice President Seth Kursman said that it is their company, way of life, and livelihood that is under attack.
In order to turn things around, Resolute launched in the middle of 2015 a series of campaigns which included advertising in national and regional publications as well as direct mail and digital advertising and social media campaigns. It also launched the Boreal Forest Facts to inform the public about the state of Canada’s boreal forests to rebut Greenpeace’s allegations.
In a statement, Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said that they will fully defend themselves from the case. The company refused to make a comment as they still have not received the copy of the lawsuit from Resolute.