The War over Eco-Certified Wood
At stake is a multi-billion dollar international market for eco-certified wood products, which rewards environmentally-responsible forestry companies with improved access to retail and business-to-business customers.
It appears that SFI, founded by the lunber industry, is making inroads and may even get recognized by the Green Building Council as acceptable sustainably harvested lumber for LEED. Christopher Pollon does a good job explaining the differences between FSC, which we have called the gold standard of certification, (although it is not perfect) and also the problems that environmentalists have with SFI:
While SFI blurs the differences between certification programs, environmentalists are aggressively exposing the differences, painting the SFI, in the words of one campaigner, as "a phony green label on standard industry practices."
U.S.-based groups like the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Sierra Club have banded together under the Alliance for Credible Forest Certification, highlighting destructive forestry practices on SFI-forested lands, such as high-elevation clear-cutting in Washington State's Chehalis River drainage in 2007.
"We consider SFI to be forest greenwash," says Jennifer Krill, Program Director at San Francisco's RAN, a founding member of the FSC. "The marketplace cannot trust the SFI to deliver the environmental and social standards that customers are demanding."
Worth reading in The Tyee.
More on FSC, SFI and other lumber labels:
Greenwashing in the New Yorker: The Sustainable Forestry Initiative
A Picture Is Worth: FSC vs SFI Forests
Coming Soon: Greenwashed Lumber
FSC, Gold Standard for Certification, Gets Tarnished
The TH Interview: Ned Daly of the Forest Stewardship Council in the US