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Sustainability, a Resolute priority

The Canadian forest products industry is a world leader in sustainability. Strict standards are enforced to ensure that our greatest natural resource, forests, can continue to thrive for generations to come. Richard Garneau, President and CEO of Resolute Forest Products, was recently named to Canada's Clean50. This honour highlights how Resolute strives to ensure sustainability is at the core of all the company's business decisions. Being an FPAC member, 100% of the company's managed woodlands are third-party certified. This means the land is responsibly and sustainably managed.

I am pleased to welcome Richard Garneau as our latest guest blogger on the President's blog. Read below for his first-hand account of Resolute's continued effort to be a sustainability leader in the forest products industry. – David Lindsay, President and CEO, FPAC

by Richard Garneau, President and CEO, Resolute Forest Products

Last month in Toronto, I attended the Clean50 Summit. I was lucky enough to attend the Summit as one of 50 individuals named to Canada’s 2015 Clean50, which “recognizes leaders who have made the greatest contributions to sustainable development or clean capitalism in Canada”.

I say “lucky” because the designation really belongs to Resolute the Company [as represented by its employees], and not any one individual. Over the past few years, Resolute has worked hard to ensure that sustainability is at the core of all our business decisions. It’s one of the reasons we’ve combined our financial and sustainability reporting into one document; because we operate based on the principle that the two are inextricably linked.

It’s also why over four years ago, we chose to begin reporting our sustainability performance using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard, the world’s most broadly accepted reporting standard. And we’ll continue raising the bar on the public disclosure of our sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability is reflected in our vision and values, and now, how we do business every day. It means carefully balancing environmental, social and economic considerations, which has been a cultural shift in terms of how our employees go about their work. And they’ve risen to the challenge, which is why the Clean50 designation – as well as our Corporate Knights Best 50 designation bestowed upon Resolute earlier this year – belong to them.

I’m a believer in metrics; they matter because what gets measured, gets done. Resolute has made meaningful and quantifiable sustainability commitments in a number of key performance areas. Just a few of our goals and accomplishments include:

  • Third-party certification of 100% of the Company’s managed woodlands to one or more of the three internationally-recognized sustainable forest management standards.
  • Energy efficiency initiatives through investing in renewable energy projects and switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, resulting in 71% of our total energy needs being met from renewable sources and deriving 75% of our fuel energy usage from biomass.
  • Water consumption improvements through the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Water Disclosure program, and continually working to improve our understanding of the impact of our water footprint given the water-intensive nature of the paper making process.
  • The introduction and growth of our Align™ brand of eco-friendly papers that require up to 50% less wood fiber, and have a carbon footprint up to 85% lower than that of the average competing freesheet.
  • Collaborative business relationships with First Nation communities reflected in our formal First Nations Policy, as well as recognition such as the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award for our joint-venture Opitciwan (Quebec) sawmill, awarded by FPAC and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement though the implementation of Resolute’s information-sharing program, launched to better understand issues and concerns in operating communities. But for me, there are two sustainability-related commitments that truly stand out because both make a difference across our operations, and effect, to one extent or another, all of our stakeholders.

The first, through Resolute’s membership in the World Wildlife Fund®’s Climate Savers Program, is our commitment to reduce our absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 65% by 2015, compared to 2000 levels. It’s an industry-leading GHG reduction target and is about the equivalent of taking 1.62 million cars of the road. Think Toronto without cars.

Our GHG target stands out because attempting to achieve it affects choices related to our manufacturing processes, the energy we use and how we consume it, the raw materials input, and the output or product – virtually everything we do from start to finish. I’m pleased to say we’ll reach our target well ahead of schedule.

The second is our goal of establishing a “Total Safety Organization” where safety is an absolute priority and no compromise is acceptable. How are we doing this? By embedding a day-to-day, safety-focused culture, where all employees put safety first in making their daily decisions about performing their job tasks. We strive for zero incidents. 2013 was our best annual safety performance on record. We achieved an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incident rate of 1.02, which is generally considered world class. And in 2014, we’ve raised the bar yet again, and our performance continues to improve.

Our Total Safety Organization goal stands out because it affects all of our employees, their families and the communities in which they live and work.

Our employees are Resolute’s best advocates and best assets; without them, we can’t achieve any of our sustainability objectives. That’s why designations like Clean50 and Corporate Knights Best 50 belong to them. And why I believe that Resolute’s greatest sustainability achievements are still to come.

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 Source: President's Blog / The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)

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