Politics & Policy

Greenpeace Lied and Jobs — Not Caribou — Died

(Karl Umbriaco/Dreamstime)

It was a classic Greenpeace tale: fuzzy, wide-eyed woodland creatures fleeing as the loggers closed in, destroying a peaceful habitat.

Except it wasn’t true — and this time, the lies have been exposed.

For years, Greenpeace has campaigned against businesses by using exaggerations and outright lies. The media and, in many cases, the businesses themselves have usually bowed. But Greenpeace underestimated Resolute Forest Products — and the power of the truth — when it started a false campaign against the Canadian paper company.

The environmental alarmists accused Resolute of threatening Quebec’s caribou by logging. Claims like that can do a lot of damage, especially when Greenpeace seduces the media with conveniently misleading photos of devastated forests. The attacks were false, and Resolute forced Greenpeace to own up to it. Greenpeace made a rare public apology in 2013, acknowledging that Resolute had not, in fact, been “secretly engaged in logging” on a critical caribou habitat.

Mainstream media outlets took notice. Even the Huffington Post reported on Greenpeace’s misleading forest photos in March 2013, noting that Greenpeace admitted it had used “inaccurate maps” in its analysis. Canada’s Financial Post likewise found a reality that was far removed from the one Greenpeace was selling:

In fact, given all the storm and fury, the mud-slinging and the lawsuits, it is a bit of a shock to realize almost everyone — from the loggers to the environmentalists — agrees on a basic fact: Canada’s boreal forest is in pretty good shape. Actually, we are the boy scouts of forestry, with more forests in Canada certified by the stewardship council than anywhere on earth.

But if you visit Greenpeace’s website today, you’ll see little evidence of that reality.

After apologizing and retracting its original statement, Greenpeace continued to lie about Resolute and the forest. In a 2015 blog post, it called Resolute “a company with a history of environmental destruction” and warned that one drugstore chain was “destroying Canada’s boreal forest” simply by buying paper from Resolute. The blog claimed that Resolute’s logging was “threatening wildlife like the endangered woodland caribou.”

#share#Greenpeace obviously wasn’t going to let a few facts get in the way of its story. Clearly, it would keep going after Resolute and every company that does business with them.

So Resolute CEO Richard Garneau stepped up and sued Greenpeace for “defamation, malicious falsehood, and intentional interference with economic relations.” That last legal phrase is important because Greenpeace’s tactics are about more than mean words. Sure, the group uses lies to manipulate the media and government officials, but ultimately, it is waging economic warfare on workers.

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“They are out actively threatening and intimidating customers and that is having an impact on our business and the demand for our product,” Resolute’s Seth Kursman has explained. The attacks “are absolutely unfounded, they are unwarranted, they are inaccurate, and they have been affecting people’s lives and the food that they put on the table and the roofs that they put over their heads.”

As reported by Bloomberg in January 2015, Resolute says that environmental activists’ “ill-founded attacks” were “among the issues that led to the closing of an Ontario paper mill and two Quebec paper-production machines, at a cost of 300 jobs.”

#related#So the paper makers are not taking this lightly. As part of Resolute’s case against Greenpeace, the company is trying to open up Greenpeace’s records to the public. This would reveal the coordination behind a host of “media stunts [that] were later found to be built on falsehoods,” as the Wall Street Journal described it in an editorial in March. Journalists — if they aren’t too embarrassed — could certainly enjoy digging into the history of hoaxes such as the fake video about Shell Oil, which numerous outlets spread gleefully.

By standing up to Greenpeace, Resolute Forest Products is doing the world a favor. Juicy details about the group’s ridiculous antics would be a bonus. It’s inspiring to see a business fight back against the green bullies — to protect the truth, its employees, and its customers. Victims of Greenpeace’s false attacks should shout them down, loudly, for what they are.


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