Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Latest news from the (green) front:

Don’t buy SFI

Last week I informed you of a demonstration to take place in Manhattan against the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a greenwashing campaign brought to you by the American Forest and Paper Association, a timber and paper industry trade organization.

Yesterday, March 23, the day arrived and a dedicated group of activists assembled in the frigid March air in front of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue to let the AF&PA know we’re onto their game.

The occasion was AF&PA’s 27th annual ‘Paper Week’ meeting, so it was a good opportunity to put some pressure on the industry execs assembled in the hotel as well as to inform the good people of New York about the greenwashing activities of some of these industry groups.

(If you’ve never handed out leaflets on a New York City street corner before, you should give it try! You’d be surprised at how receptive New Yorkers can be, even at the well-heeled corner of Park and 49th.)

The focus of this demo was the “Sustainable Forestry Initiative” (SFI), a product certification and labeling program that’s supposed to help consumers make environmentally responsible choices. The problem here is that SFI is not an independent certification program, and the corporations that control it have self-certified themselves, although they are involved in very dubious practices.

It turns out that SFI-certified companies (such as Pacific Lumber and Sierra Pacific Industries) are “logging old growth and endangered species’ habitats, are replacing natural forests with barren tree plantations and even residential sprawl, and are logging some of the last unprotected wilderness in your National Forests.” (I’m quoting the Don’t Buy SFI fact sheet here).

An impressive array of environmental and resource conservation organizations endorse this campaign, including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, US PIRG, and too many more to mention here (sorry guys). For the full list and more information about this issue, visit

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