7 Major Companies to Drop Sustainable Forestry Initiative Label Due to Greenwashing Claims

Image: sfiprogram.org

The 'eco-certification' offered by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, long known among TreeHuggers as a greenwashing outlet, will now be dropped by seven major companies, including Aetna, Allstate, Symantec, and Office Depot.

ForestEthics (a group that has long campaigned against SFI, which is accused of being a front group for the timber industry) announced yesterday that each took action to stop using SFI's 'eco-label' or SFI-certified paper products.More about the complaints about SFI from ForestEthics, which says that SFI's practices are the exact reason ForestEthics was founded:

Last Fall, ForestEthics published SFI: Certified Greenwash, a report exposing a number of SFI's false claims. The report describes how SFI, funded and managed primarily by some of the world's largest timber companies, gives a 'green' seal of approval to the environmentally harmful practices of these same companies. The previous year, ForestEthics filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and Internal Revenue Service alleging that SFI misleads the public through deceptive marketing and operates as a nonprofit charity even though it primarily serves private for profit interests.

Environmental Leader reports that Office Depot said: "[Forest Stewardship Council, SFI's rival] is also the certification regarded as the 'gold standard' of forest management by more than 80 environmental groups like Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy."

Learn more about the ongoing SFI-ForestEthics debate from Marc Gunther.

Garnet Hill, Performance Bicycles, and United Stationers are the other companies that participated in the announcement. ForestEthics listed the specific actions that each company will take:

Aetna: Committed to phasing out use of the SFI logo on printed marketing materials.

Allstate: Will shift all office paper in Allstate facilities nationwide from SFI certified to FSC certified.

United Stationers: Committed to using FSC as its benchmark for acceptable forest certification in procurement and marketing.

Symantec: Removed SFI language from website and committed to integrate this position into internal practices for paper marketing materials and packaging.

Garnet Hill: Will no longer print its catalog on paper labeled with the SFI seal.

Performance Bicycles: Will no longer print its catalog on SFI certified paper.

Office Depot: Will phase-out use of the SFI logo on Office Depot brand papers as reported by ForestEthics in its 2010 Green Grades report.

GreenBiz writes: "While [CEO of SFI Kathy] Abusow notes that SFI is the dominant standard in the market, Sanger at ForestEthics contends that's because 'SFI is a very easy seal to have -- it's pervasive on many products because its very easy to get.'"

ForestEthics hopes that the seven companies announced yesterday will be the first of many to stop using and promoting the SFI seal.

More about ForestEthics and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative:
Greenwashing in the New Yorker: The Sustainable Forestry Initiative
ForestEthics Keeps Up The Pressure against SFI Certification
A Picture Is Worth: FSC vs SFI Forests
The War over Eco-Certified Wood

Tags: Deforestation | Eco-Friendly Office | Forestry | Greenwashing


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