A round of applause, please, for Resolute Forest Products. Formed after the merger about a decade ago between Abitibi Consolidated and Bowater, today Resolute is a company that fully lives up to its name.
Many corporations and even whole industries are sitting ducks for unaccountable employees within Greenpeace who understand that companies work hard to protect their profiles and their corporate logos. In short, Greenpeace knows companies hate controversy, and will do almost anything to avoid it.
So when a corporation and its logo are attacked in the marketplace, Greenpeace expects the company will fall in line with whatever Greenpeace is selling.
No more. Thanks to Resolute, Greenpeace is feeling the harsh sting of pushback.
For Resolute CEO Richard Garneau, Greenpeace maligns not just a company but an entire way of life, one built on nurturing healthy forests that are the lifeblood of local people and communities. The Greenpeace attacks come in the guise of a “markets campaign,” soft, happy wording for what is effectively an all-out anti-corporate assault.
Merriam-Webster defines “resolute” as “firmly determined in purpose” and “steadfast.” As you’d expect from a company so-named, Resolute countered by suing Greenpeace, alleging various unfair practices.
Greenpeace now admits it engaged in “rhetorical hyperbole” in its attacks on Resolute, and that its words about forest destruction “can be describing figurative, rather than literal destruction.” It also acknowledges its claims “do not hew to strict literalisms or scientific precision” and are “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.”
From local First Nations to local municipal leaders, Resolute has made a lot of fans, each one appreciative of the stance the company took to protect its own brand as well as the interests of the people and communities in the region where it operates.
This is an important example we can learn from. It’s long past time for the energy sector to stand up to “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.” We must ask our energy companies and our governments to defend our brand.
Let’s take a page from Mr. Garneau’s book – and push back hard. After all, who says activists – especially ones who admit their rhetoric is over the top – have a monopoly on environmental stewardship, community health and honest information?
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-driven organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.