RONA defends environmental policy

Boucherville, Quebec —based RONA, the Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, issued a clarification to a document published on Aug. 20 by Greenpeace that criticized RONA and other retailers for using suppliers that chop down trees from endangered areas of Canada’s Boreal Forest.

The Greenpeace document urged RONA to insist that its logging suppliers—Abitibi-Consolidated, Tembec and Domtar—obtain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on all their lumber products.

The same day Greenpeace issued its statement, RONA responded with a defense of its corporate policy of responsible purchasing and sustainable development.

“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,” the statement reads.

“Furthermore, RONA ensures that all of the goods it procures, whether forest products or other, have been produced in conditions that respect human rights and the environment. RONA applies these principles in its choice of suppliers, sub-contractors and other business partners. RONA describes itself as the Canadian pioneer of paint recycling, after establishing a program 10 years ago.

As announced in early 2007, RONA is currently conducting a review of its sustainable development practices. This will serve to help the company develop a strategic plan for sustainable development. The main components of the plan will be made public at the end of October.

In recent months, RONA has been in communication with several interest groups, including Greenpeace, to discuss the issue of Canadian forest practices. The company said it has always “promoted dialogue among interest groups, including Greenpeace, and leading stakeholders in the forest industry.”