The Rainforest Alliance Certifies AbitibiBowater Forestland in Quebec to FSC Standards

December 11, 2009

The Rainforest Alliance announced that AbitibiBowater has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management certification for forest management units 27-51 and 24-51 in the Lac Saint-Jean region in Quebec. The certification covers over 6.1 million acres (close to 2.5 million hectares) of forestlands, making it the single largest FSC certificate to be issued in the province of Quebec to date. These forest management units supply fiber to the company's Girardville, Mistassini and Saint-Felicien sawmills; the Produits Forestiers Petit-Paris Inc. (PFPP) joint-venture sawmill; seven AbitibiBowater value-added and engineered wood products facilities (including partnerships); as well as the company's Alma and Kenogami paper mills.

According to Richard Donovan, senior vice president and vice president for forestry at the Rainforest Alliance, "The certification process for these forest units started a year ago. This work included intensive field work, engagement with environmental organization stakeholders, First Nations, Quebec provincial authorities, and many other individuals and organizations. The process has proved challenging due to the nature of forest management dynamics in the region, which range from the management of caribou to economic and social dynamics."

"During the certification process we spent a lot of time on caribou which is an important issue in the Boreal region," said Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood Canada general manager Alexandre Boursier. "FSC Canada is in the midst of reviewing and making improvements to the FSC-endorsed National Boreal Standard, and also has a science team now looking specifically at caribou conservation issues. As FSC procedures require, we continue to remain open to stakeholders and other concerned parties throughout the certification process. We will implement the guidance we receive on caribou conservation from FSC Canada and conduct subsequent FSC-required field audits for this certificate and others in the caribou range."

"The FSC certification of these Quebec woodlands provides an additional independent confirmation of the sustainability of our forest management practices and underscores our commitment to the natural resources under our care," said David J. Paterson, president and CEO of AbitibiBowater.

As previously announced on September 3, 2008, AbitibiBowater is committed to expanding on its inclusive approach to the predominant third-party sustainable forest management (SFM) certification standards. The centerpiece of this commitment is a company-wide promise to maintain 100 percent third-party SFM certification of all its managed woodlands. In addition to the FSC certification received today in Quebec, the company continues to pursue FSC certification initiatives in other management units in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. AbitibiBowater will also expand audited FSC Chain-of-Custody certifications at a number of Company operations.

FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests. AbitibiBowater received its certification from the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program, an FSC-accredited certifier.

"FSC Canada welcomes this important development and applauds the work put into the process by so many stakeholders, by the SmartWood audit team and all the AbitibiBowater staff to whom this result is due," said Antony Marcil, president and CEO of FSC Canada. "We especially recognize the significance of this certification having taken place during a period of enhanced concern for the persistence of woodland caribou. That concern has led to the seating of a distinguished Science Panel whose report will inform an Ad Hoc Interpretation Committee whose task will be to issue binding guidance to all certificate holders, applicants and certification bodies with respect to the FSC Canada National Boreal Forest Management Standard."