Best Buy Co. Inc. says it will shift business away from a Canadian firm that supplies the paper for its weekly circulars and will seek to work with other vendors who use sustainable practices.
The announcement by the Richfield-based electronics chain this week comes in the wake of a recent Greenpeace report that criticized the retailer for using Resolute Forest Products as its primary paper supplier. Greenpeace says that Resolute has been linked to destroying endangered species habitats and has had disputes with indigenous communities.
Best Buy, which often promotes its electronics recycling initiatives, said it will give preference to companies that have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which would help ensure they are responsibly managing forests. Best Buy said it also will require Resolute to begin supplying it with FSC-certified paper and will strengthen its paper procurement policy by spring of 2015.
"Our intention is to conduct business with companies that support sustainable forestry practices including those in the Canadian boreal forest," Best Buy said in its statement.
On Tuesday, Greenpeace lauded Best Buy for its announced changes. The environmental organization noted that the change came soon after more than 50,000 of its supporters encouraged Best Buy to address the issue.
"We now look forward to collaborating on their new procurement policy to make sure this happens," Amy Moas, a Greenpeace senior forest campaigner, said in a statement.
In its report last month, Greenpeace said Best Buy appeared to be sourcing over 100 million pounds of paper annually from Resolute and described the retailer's paper procurement policy as "extremely weak" compared to other companies.
"Resolute is an outlier in the Canadian forest sector responsible for significant degradation of the boreal, destruction of endangered species habitat and disputes with indigenous communities," the report said.
Resolute Forest Products defended its sustainability practices, emphasizing that it has an "all-inclusive approach" to certification and offers FSC-certified products to customers who request them.
Seth Kursman, Resolute's vice president of communications, said the company sells products that are certified according to other sustainability standards. Greenpeace has been unfairly targeting Resolute and has been spreading "inaccurate, deceptive information," he added.
A Best Buy spokesman declined to comment beyond the retailer's statement, which said it will strengthen its policy to ensure suppliers meet specific requirements. It noted that the policy would likely include paying attention to endangered forests and human rights.
Best Buy also said it plans to set targets for increasing use of sustainable fibers.
"Throughout this process, which we intend to complete by spring of 2015, Best Buy will actively engage with a wide range of stakeholders so that we can fully meet our environmental commitments and accommodate our business needs," the company said.