A multimillion-dollar lawsuit by forestry giant Resolute Forest Products Inc. will not deter it from continuing its mission of “investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse by corporations,” Greenpeace said on Friday.
“Our work to create a green and peaceful world will continue, and we will not back down in the face of intimidation and bullying,” Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA executive director, said in emailed statement.
The Montreal-based newsprint producer took its war with Greenpeace over logging practices in the boreal forests of Quebec and Ontario to a new level this week when it filed a lawsuit against the environmental NGO and a number of affiliated groups in U.S. federal court using legislation designed to fight organized crime.
In an unusual twist, Resolute has filed its lawsuit in Georgia under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The lawsuit also alleges defamation, tortuous interference and trademark claims, said Michael Bowe, a New York-based lawyer representing Resolute in this lawsuit.
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“Resolute has been for the last several years targeted in a campaign where it was accused of destroying the boreal forest, endangering its species and impairing the forest’s ability to mitigate climate change,” Bowe said. “And quite frankly those claims are absolutely absurd.”
Calling Greenpeace a “global fraud,” the paper-maker said the environmental group has been waging a “smear campaign” that has forced many of its clients, including such retail giants as BestBuy, to switch to other suppliers.
“Greenpeace’s “Resolute: Forest Destroyer” campaign is malicious, false, misleading, and without any reasonable factual basis in numerous respects,” said Resolute’s strongly worded preliminary statement, which also accuses Greenpeace of fabricating evidence to support its campaign against the forestry giant.
“Maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.”
‘A malicious public relations campaign’
Greenpeace shot back, saying Resolute has tried for years to silence critics of its environmental practices with “threats, defamatory attacks, and baseless lawsuits.”
“Instead of focusing on real solutions for forests, communities and its business, Resolute is once again wasting resources on a case with no merit,” said Leonard, who is also named in the lawsuit. “Grotesquely misstating our mission and attacking our credibility with a frivolous lawsuit and a malicious public relations campaign will get Resolute nowhere.”
This is not Resolute’s first legal attack against Greenpeace.
In May 2013, it filed a $7-million suit in the Ontario Superior Court against the group and two of its activists for an allegedly false and misleading report about the company’s logging practices in Ontario and Quebec.
In the ongoing suit, Resolute alleges Greenpeace has damaged the company’s “business, goodwill and reputation.”