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RONA spars with Greenpeace over forestry issues

Following a report from environmental group Greenpeace condemning 35 major retailers -- including RONA -- for buying wood logged from upper Canada’s Boreal Forest, RONA issued a statement saying “sustainable development” has long been a priority of the Canadian home improvement retailer.

“The company has a responsible purchasing policy that applies to all of its products,” RONA said in a statement. “With respect to forest products, the company does not buy any product derived from endangered species and favors the purchase of products that bear Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) as well as ISO 14001 certifications.”

RONA said it has planned to release a “sustainable development plan” in October. The company also said it has been in talks with forest protection groups, including Greenpeace, while developing the plan.

Greenpeace named several other companies, including Toys"R"Us and Best Buy, as being customers of logging and pulp companies that the organization said contribute to “destructive logging” in Canada’s Boreal Forest. The forest is one of the largest intact forest ecosystems in the world.

The Greenpeace report also blames the government of Ontario for protecting less than 9 percent of the forest, and the government of Quebec for protecting less than 5 percent from industrial development.

RONA is one of Canada’s largest distributors and retailers of home improvement products, with 671 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores.