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This report was released in November 2003 to expose the "greenwashing" of the American Forest and Paper Association's (AF&PA) Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification system. Press release to announce the Report is below with links to the Report, a Summary, and a Case Study.
American Lands / Upper Midwest
For Immediate Release: November 21, 2003
Contact: Paul West, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 398-4404, x319,
NEW ECOLABEL DECEIVES CONSUMERS
NATURAL FORESTS BEING CONVERTED TO TOXIC TREE FARMS
NEW REPORTS ON TIMBER INDUSTRY REVEAL DECEPTION AND DESTRUCTION
SAN FRANCISCO - American Lands Alliance today released two shocking reports
that tell the truth behind the timber industry's new "SFI" ecolabel. A
72-page detailed analysis of the American Forest & Paper Association's
(AF&PA) Sustainable Foresty Initiative (SFI) documents the glaring
differences between what the timber industry says in its advertising and
does on the ground. A 15-page case study of Sierra Pacific Industries, an
SFI-certified company, documents the wholesale destruction of California's
natural forests by one of the largest privately held timberland owners in
"Consumers have a right to expect truth in labeling, and the SFI label is
certified deception. The SFI program is the biggest greenwashing scheme in
recent history. SFI-labeled wood and paper are the products of forest
destruction. Clearcuts and toxic tree farms are not sustainable healthy
forests." Randi Spivak, executive director of American Lands Alliance.
ON THE GROUND
The reports highlight how the SFI program certifies outdated and egregious
practices including the logging of old growth, wilderness areas, endangered
species' habitat and taxpayer-owned public forests. The reports show that
SFI-certified companies continue to use massive clearcutting and the
intensive and repeated spraying of deadly chemicals to convert biologically
rich natural forests into ecologically bankrupt tree farms while at the same
time marketing their products as sustainable.
Certification of forest destroyers like Sierra Pacific proves that the SFI
lacks an environmentally meaningful bottom line. Sierra Pacific is
currently converting 70% of its 1.4 million acres of natural forest to toxic
tree farms. Clearcutting comprised only 2% of Sierra Pacific's logging
operations 1995, and skyrocketed to 87% in 1999. The company routinely
applies deadly herbicides up to three times on each clearcut to prevent
regeneration of native species.
In the southern United States, companies like Bowater continue to convert
native hardwood forests to pine plantations. In Montana's Swan Valley, Plum
Creek continues to log endangered old growth. In Canada, Weldwood, a
subsidiary of International Paper, is actively logging mature and old growth
forests. In Virginia, Allegheny Wood Products plans to log habitat for
endangered species including the West Virginia flying squirrel.
IN THE MARKETPLACE
The SFI program was originally launched as a marketing scheme by the AF&PA,
the largest timber industry trade association in North America. In response
to legitimate certification and labeling programs like the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC), the SFI program introduced its own "green" label
in 2002. Unlike strict standards for organic and fair-trade food products,
the SFI program and its label offers consumers no reliable assurances about
the source of its wood and paper. Despite recent improvements, the SFI
standards are so weak that most environmental groups, progressive businesses
and the U.S. Green Building Council do not recognize the program or its
label as an environmentally credible certification program
Consumers and other decision makers are being targeted by misleading
marketing claims in SFI advertising appearing in media outlets ranging from
the Wall Street Journal to National Public Radio. Almost fifty wood and
paper products companies in North America are now certified as "sustainable"
by the SFI program, and pallets of wood bearing the SFI label are starting
to arrive at leading home improvement retailers across the North America.
REPORTS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD:
Assessment of AF&PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI):
Summary of Assessment of AF&PA SFI:
Case Study on Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI):
FOR CAMERA CREWS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS:
LightHawk flights over Sierra Pacific lands available upon request.
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