Shared Priorities

Defining Issues of High Concern for our Stakeholders

Resolute Forest Products reports sustainability performance on shared priority issues, initially based on a detailed analysis the company completed in 2010 as part of our first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) disclosure, as well as the periodic updates to that assessment that have since been conducted.

In the past, Resolute has referred to these issues as “material”, but now uses the term “shared priority issues” or “shared priorities” in order to avoid confusion with materiality in the context of financial and regulatory reporting. We will continue to apply the GRI’s definition and determination methodology for defining issues, identifying topics that reflect the company’s significant environmental, social and economic impacts, and that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.

We monitor shared priorities on a continuous basis through regular interaction with stakeholders and periodic analysis. Shared priority issues are regularly updated and presented in our Shared Priorities Matrix, which illustrates our stakeholders' concern for each of the topics relative to its potential impact on the company.

The shared priority issues identified through this process form the basis of the information Resolute reports publicly, giving stakeholders access to data on what matters to them most. Not all the significant sustainability issues addressed by the company are shared priorities. Issues that require legal or regulatory compliance, for example, but are not viewed as priorities for external stakeholders, are still monitored and reported on within the company but are not included in our sustainability reporting.

shared priorities matrix depicting stakeholder view and company view of economic, environmental and social key performance indicators

Our identification of shared priority issues is intended to improve the understanding of our stakeholders’ objectives and information needs. To this end, we regularly conduct shared priorities assessments to identify the topics that matter most to our internal and external stakeholders. Stakeholder issues and related expectations are identified and prioritized through a series of confidential, one-on-one, in-depth surveys with individuals representing the research community, industry, government, customers, (E)NGOs, organized labor, investors, First Nations and other Aboriginal groups.

The surveys are conducted by a third party to facilitate unbiased discussions, and only aggregate, unattributed responses are shared with Resolute. Thanks to engagement with stakeholders and other interested parties at the community, regional and national levels, we have been able to gain insight into their priorities. Results are then combined with a detailed industry scan of sustainability issues and benchmarking of North American and international peer company reports. Using this research as a foundation, our corporate sustainability committee adds its own insight to determine the business impact of these concerns and, ultimately, compile a list of shared priorities.

Comprehensive updates of our shared priorities assessment were completed in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2020. During each of these exercises, we reached out to key partners and stakeholders to assess whether our sustainability strategy, public commitments and reporting practices continued to reflect their most relevant interests and needs. The 2020 survey included nine stakeholder groups: employees and retirees, customers, suppliers, First Nations and other Aboriginal groups, investors, (E)NGOs, government representatives, civil society and local community representatives, and finally company executives and board members.

As always, the survey was conducted by a third party to facilitate an unbiased process and analysis. A representative geographic participation was ensured (responses were received from Ontario, Quebec, the United States and several international locations), as well as stakeholder involvement from various Resolute operations, including head office, pulp, paper and tissue mills, woodlands operations and wood products facilities. The process evolved over four steps, as identified and described by the GRI Standards:

Step 1: Determination and prioritization of the stakeholders to be involved in the process

Step 2: Identification and prioritization of all material topics as defined through the GRI Standards and sector benchmarking

Step 3: Shared priorities survey, through qualitative online questionnaire

Step 4: Analysis of the outcomes and results, and verification of the final shared priorities list and matrix

Overall, there were not significant changes in stakeholders’ shared priorities since our last assessment. New issues with the potential to impact our business that were identified during this process include: forest management; human rights; and data security and privacy. These concerns reflect trends in sustainability, and we will integrate disclosures on these topics into our sustainability reporting, as needed. In addition, issues that ranked higher than in the past will be addressed in our monitoring and reporting, including: ethics, integrity and anti-corruption; responsible procurement using labor and social criteria; environmental compliance; and talent management of our employees.

Sector benchmarking with other peer companies verified that Resolute’s shared priorities are consistent and in line with the priorities placed by other leading companies in the North American forest products industry. Furthermore, an independent benchmarking of corporate sustainability practices that we commissioned in 2017 confirmed our progression and ranked the company to be in a strong position compared to industry peers. We plan to verify this going forward in order to ensure that we retain our position as sustainability leaders in our sectors of activity, and that we have incorporated and addressed new sustainability challenges and topics in our annual reporting.

Stakeholder Group: Customers
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Customer surveys
  • Performance reporting online and in annual reporting
  • Ethics, integrity and anti-corruption
  • Responsible procurement: environmental, social and labor criteria
  • Forest management
  • Water management
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
  • Human rights
  • Local communities
  • Transparency and communication
  • Data security and privacy
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Socio-economic compliance
Stakeholder Group: Employees
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Employee focus groups
  • Performance conversations and reviews
  • Training and orientation programs
  • Negotiations and ongoing dialogue with unions
  • Recruitment and retention strategies
  • Economic performance
  • Ethics, integrity and anti-corruption
  • Forest management
  • Climate change
  • Environmental compliance
  • Employee recruitment, turnover and benefits
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
Stakeholder Group: Investors
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Investor conferences
  • Quarterly telephone and web conferences
  • Annual shareholder meeting
  • Economic performance
  • Ethics, integrity and anti-corruption
  • Energy consumption
  • Forest management
  • Transparency and communication
  • Data security and privacy
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society and Local Communities
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • Corporate and local outreach (mill-level communication activities)
  • Information-sharing groups
  • Public input process for forest management planning
  • Executive and board regional visits
  • Town hall meetings and Boreal Forum/Forum boréal online discussion portals
  • Economic performance
  • Ethics, integrity and anti-corruption
  • Local hiring and employment
  • Forest management
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
  • Human rights
Stakeholder Group: First Nations and other Aboriginal Groups
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • Corporate and local outreach (ie. mill-level communication activities)
  • Information-sharing groups
  • Opportunities to provide input on forest management plans
  • Mutually beneficial partnership agreements and collaborations
  • Local hiring and employment
  • Forest management
  • Waste management
  • Environmental compliance
  • Environmental and social grievance mechanisms
  • Biodiversity
  • Employee recruitment, turnover and benefits
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
  • Human rights
  • Rights of indigenous peoples
Stakeholder Group: Government
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Lobby and political involvement
  • Public input process for forest management plans and land tenure
  • Membership in various industry associations
  • Economic performance
  • Infrastructure investments
  • Forest management
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
  • Local communities
Stakeholder Group: Non-Profit Organizations
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Partnerships (e.g. WWF, Two Sides)
  • Industry/NGO coalitions
  • Forest management and product certification auditing process
  • Economic performance
  • Employee health, safety and wellness
Stakeholder Group: Suppliers
Engagement Type and Frequency Key Concerns Raised Resolute Approach and Related Policies and Initiatives
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Trade association meetings, conferences and conventions
  • Supplier evaluation and auditing
  • Supplier guidelines communication
  • Joint ventures
  • Economic performance
  • Responsible procurement: labor and social criteria
  • Forest management
  • Environmental compliance
  • Rights of indigenous peoples