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Choosing How to Be Green: An Examination of Domtar Inc.’s Approach to Forest Certification

JSME Vol 3: 2006

Author(s): Graeme Auld (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies)

Abstract:
Since the early 1900s, Forest products companies have faced a set of new strategic issues. Rising concern over forest degradation prompted the creation of competing forest management certification programs: the Forest Stewardship Council emerged with backing from environmental groups while industry supported the Canadian Standards Association and Sustainable Forestry Initiative programs. This article describes the market pressure and strategic issues surrounding the competition between the FSC and the industry programs, focusing on the experience of Domtar Inc., a Canadian forest products company. It traces the events preceding the company’s 1999 decision of whether to FSC certify two small private land holdings. Conditions surrounding the deliberations – market demand, competitors’ actions, logistics of supplying certified products, and possible environmental group responses – are described to give readers the opportunity to consider Domtar’s best course of action. The company’s decision is then disclosed and events following it are assessed for their value to Domtar.

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