Based primarily on the shared priority issues identified by our stakeholders, Resolute Forest Products developed a sustainability strategy that drives all of our sustainability activities and initiatives, including our public commitments.
In 2011, we established a set of ambitious commitments reflecting our approach to balancing the company’s sustainability priorities. Since then, we have been tracking and reporting our progress annually and updating our targets, as necessary, in order to promote continuous improvement. By steadily improving our year-over-year performance, we are pleased to report that we have substantially achieved or surpassed our stated goals and targets for 2017.
We believe our goal to support continuous improvement requires the use of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) targets. While some of the goals listed below meet the SMART standard, others are still being refined. One of the main responsibilities of our sustainability committee is to refine our sustainability commitments. This cross-functional group, comprised of senior managers from various departments, recommends strategies, sets goals, measures results, oversees reporting, communications and continuous improvement, and assesses stakeholder expectations and sustainability trends.
Our year-over-year performance has steadily improved, and we continue to build on a solid base of what we believe are meaningful accomplishments. The following tables provide a summary Resolute’s sustainability performance for all the operations we owned or operated as at December 31, 2017.
Environmental Performance Update
Being proactive for the environment means steadily reducing Resolute’s environmental footprint and responsibly managing the natural resources in our care.
That is why we closely measure, track and report on the company’s performance and progress toward our ongoing and new commitments. We understand that in order to reinforce our environmental credentials, we must be able to demonstrate that, over time, we have reduced our carbon emissions, made measurable performance improvements and ensured careful stewardship of the forests we manage.
As an industry leader and supplier of choice, Resolute has moved beyond minimal regulatory compliance and environmental incident management to proactively differentiate ourselves in a number of key performance areas.
Resolute maintains certification for 100% of the forests we manage to at least one of two internationally recognized forest management standards: Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). We continue to be one of the largest holders of SFI and FSC forest management certificates in North America.
We have instituted fiber-tracking systems at our facilities to ensure that our wood fiber supply comes from acceptable sources such as certified forests and legal harvesting operations. These systems are third-party certified according to internationally recognized chain of custody standards: SFI, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and FSC.
Social Performance Update
Resolute’s role in our operating communities extends well beyond the jobs we create, the taxes we pay and the charitable support we provide. We work to build reciprocal business relationships, grassroots support and positive government relations through transparency and information-sharing, as well as through active involvement in local organizations and community projects.
We regularly engage with Aboriginal peoples, customers and key stakeholders such as employees/unions, retirees, investors, governments, environmental non-governmental organizations, local communities and suppliers/partners in order to ensure our sustainability strategy, public commitments and reporting continue to reflect the interests and needs of our stakeholders and other interested parties.
To maintain effective sustainability oversight and management practices, we continue to monitor our sustainability performance and recommend areas for improvement through our corporate sustainability committee. In 2016, we created an internal product stewardship committee – with representatives from the environment, operations, legal and sales departments – which has a mandate to support compliance with product stewardship regulations and to expand the possible end uses of our products.
A tracking initiative was launched in January 2017 to report more detailed quantitative information on operating community outreach, including volunteer activities, charitable contributions, stakeholder engagement and other activities.
Demographic Changes and Labor Relations
Resolute’s long-term competitiveness is tied to our ability to attract, develop and retain top talent, as well as to allow employees with strong leadership abilities to learn and grow within our organization. We closely manage and track our performance in a number of key areas, including staffing demand, employee demonstrated effectiveness and labor relations.
We continue to train our employees on Resolute’s Code of Business Conduct, and all new and existing employees receive communications about the company’s equal employment, anti-discrimination and harassment policies.
We also have in place a diversity policy designed to encourage an inclusive work environment by providing equal consideration and opportunities to all of our employees.
Last year, we completed implementation of the demonstrated effectiveness appraisal process for all salaried employees, beginning with the president and chief executive officer. These formal annual reviews are validated through a peer-reviewed evaluation and calibration process.
Resolute works diligently with employees and union leadership on the mutually beneficial renewal of collective agreements. Four agreements covering 262 employees at Quebec operations were renewed in 2017. Nineteen agreements covering 1,291 employees are set for renewal in Canada in 2018.
Last year, we hired 1,041 new permanent and temporary employees and raised our employer profile through targeted recruitment practices. Meeting staffing demand is an ongoing challenge for the company. With more than 1,000 new hires each year, turnover – of which a large proportion is due to retirement – needs to be addressed through innovative recruitment and retention strategies.