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Greenpeace Wars with Paper Company, Sticking Publishers In the Middle

19 June 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

America’s Big Five trade publishers have found themselves in the middle of a long-running battle between Greenpeace and Resolute Forest Products over the forest company’s logging practices in Canada’s boreal forest. Greenpeace has been campaigning for years to make Resolute change its polices in Canada’s northern forests, and the fight has taken a number of turns; one of the unexpected twists was Greenpeace’s decision to take a booth at this year’s BookExpo. The booth and ads in PW Show Daily and last week’s issue of PW magazine are designed to pressure Resolute to modify its forest practices and also to drop a lawsuit it brought against the environmental organization.

Responding to what it says are unsubstantiated claims Greenpeace has made against it, Resolute first filed a lawsuit in Canada in 2013 charging the organization with defamation and economic interference. It followed that up with a May 2016 lawsuit in Georgia alleging RICO violations and defamation. Greenpeace views that suit as creating a free-speech issue, claiming it is designed to silence the group and could silence other advocacy organizations.

Last September, the AAP joined with 11 other media groups in filing an amicus curiae brief in the Georgia case, arguing that if the lawsuit is upheld it could have a chilling effect on free speech rights. But in May, Greenpeace chose to put more heat on publishers to support its cause, releasing a report saying it learned that major U.S. publishers, despite backing free speech, are buying paper from Resolute sourced from disputed areas. Greenpeace also took a petition to BookExpo, signed by more than 100 authors, that called for publishers to stand up for free speech by opposing the Resolute lawsuits and pressure Resolute to engage in more sustainable forest practices.

Rodrigo Estrada, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said that though Greenpeace does not usually attend trade shows, the organization made an exception for BookExpo because it felt it was important to reach out to publishers to more clearly explain its position on the issue. Estrada added that Greenpeace seeks to reassure publishers that it doesn’t want to work against them but would rather work with them on sustainability and free speech issues. “The message isn’t that publishers are the bad guys,” Estrada said, adding that “we want to show them we aren’t the enemy.”

The Big Five publishers—which have all created environmental policies—have called the Greenpeace-Resolute fight a complicated issue (one person, off the record, called it a mess) and have expressed sympathy with some of Greenpeace’s objectives while opposing some of its tactics. A statement from Simon & Schuster sums up the general feeling among the publishers PW contacted: “Each party in the dispute has made claims, counterclaims and arguments in support of its positions about complicated issues, that, as publishers, we have little ability to judge or verify. We do, however, recognize the urgency of current environmental issues, the unalloyed right to free and responsible free speech in advocating for environmental and other causes, and the right to defend one’s reputation.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

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7 Comments to “Greenpeace Wars with Paper Company, Sticking Publishers In the Middle”

  1. Yes, drive up the cost of dead tree pulp.
    Just wait until the BPHs finish killing their ebook businesses. 😀

  2. Greenpeace loves the internet, no more handing out little pamphlets that get tossed in the trash, bytes take up no space in the bit bucket – and it’s cheaper! 😉

    • And they can spread their message faster, so by the time someone actually manages to get the facts out, the Greenpeace version is already the established “truth”.

      • Or at least they ‘think’ it’s spreading faster. They hit my junk mail folder without me even noticing them. And I long ago placed their ‘truth’ rating well below HuffPo and the onion.

        I might believe them once they themselves stop using any form of paper – not that I’d want to be anywhere near them before or after! 😉

  3. Trees are a crop, just like corn. Just takes longer to get to harvest. I know it doesn’t fit Greenpeace’s narrative, but no paper mill wants virgin forest or old growth; they like the uniformity of feed stock coming out of a tree farm.

    But then, this is the same group that protested drilling in ANWR by using photos of fjords and glaciers… from 1,100 miles away. Because a frozen swamp (that’s what tundra is) with tons of mosquitos and a few mosquito-bitten caribou isn’t pretty enough to sway people. And a pretty lie keeps the money coming!

    • Pshaw, Dorothy. That’s nothing compared to screaming about the Arctic ice cap disappearing – what are all those poor cute little penguins going to do?

      (I’ve met them up close and personal, although with a friend who worked at the zoo. Penguins stink to high heaven – and, like geese, will happily take a chunk out of you if you are foolish enough to get within range. Cute, not. Unless animated, of course…)

      • That’s aside from the point that there are no penguins in the ARCTIC 😉

        I lived in AK during the latest ANWR debacle. A good number of us were sitting there going “Drill baby drill”. But hey, we don’t own our state. The freaking federal government controls more of the land than anyone.

        *stomps off*

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