The Canadian group Paper Excellence retains its “sustainable” wood management label issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The organization, which published a press release on May 17, rejects the complaint filed in November by several environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) calling on it to prevent a “multinational logging company from taking over the forests.” .

These NGOs denounced the close links between Paper Excellence and the Indonesian group Asia Pulp

The “Deforestation Inc.” survey, published in March 2023 by Le Monde and several international partners, showed the opposite. A former executive of the company revealed, with supporting documents, how employees of the two companies cooperated. Elements which suggest that the creation of Paper Excellence was a way, for the sulphurous APP group, to continue its international development under a more respectable face.

Questions about the independence of the firm that carried out the investigation

In its press release, the FSC explains that it closed the file because the investigations carried out in recent months “did not reveal any control link between Paper Excellence and APP”, according to its standards. The organization explains that it delegated its verifications to the business firm McMillan LLP, which based itself on public documents relating to the two structures and on the elements that Paper Excellence communicated to it.

If the report concludes that APP does not formally control the Canadian group, it implicitly shows the limits of the FSC rules. The choice of McMillan LLP to conduct these investigations also raises questions, because the firm has supported Paper Excellence on several occasions in recent years, notably through legal advisory services linked to the acquisitions of the Canadian paper manufacturers Domtar (in 2021) and Résolu (in 2023). ).

Questioned by Le Monde, the FSC ensures that “verifications were carried out before engaging McMillan LLP”, during which “no conflict of interest was identified”. The law firm does not consider itself a judge and client of the Canadian paper group.