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Re: [GreenYes] WSJ article on certified wood
Everything I've seen of these two certification programs, indicates that
neither of them is very good.
The AFPA program is obviously a joke but in my opinion the FSC program is
also pretty weak:
- clearcuts of more than 40 acres "discouraged"?
- pesticides "discouraged"?

It's like choosing between Bush and Gore.

what we need are real certification programs modeled on the ones used for
organic farming.

thanks for this article,
Van Calvez

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 9:36 PM
Subject: [GreenYes] WSJ article on certified wood

> May 23, 2001
> Marketplace
> Timber Industry Goes to Battle Over Rival Seals for 'Green' Wood
> Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
> Environmentalists trying to save endangered forests are squaring off
> against
> the timber industry over dueling seals of approval for lumber.
> Many environmentalists dreamed of the day when consumers shopping for
> "green" lumber would be able to seek out wood with a logo from the Forest
> Stewardship Council, an international accrediting organization that
> certifies wood harvested in well-managed forests. Over the past two years,
> large retailers like Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos. agreed to show a
> preference for wood certified by the council, and the dream seemed to be
> fast becoming a reality.
> But not fast enough. Before the seal had a chance to catch on, other
> groups
> started rolling out seals of their own. One of the most ambitious efforts
> involves the industry trade group American Forest & Paper Association,
> whose
> members own tens of millions of acres of forested land in North America.
> The
> group plans to put its logo on forest products that comply with the
> group's
> Sustainable Forestry Initiative. To promote its program, it has hired True
> North Communications Inc.'s Bozell Chicago, creator of the "Got Milk" ads,
> and plans to wage a $25 million advertising campaign.
> The association's seal will make Big Timber one of the largest industries
> to
> join the eco-label movement, under which sellers of commodities like
> coffee,
> tea and cocoa market their goods in the U.S. as "fair trade" certified in
> compliance with green growing standards.
> But the group's logo, scheduled to come out this fall, is already
> generating
> controversy. Rainforest Action Network, a major force in the campaign to
> persuade Home Depot to show a preference for the Forest Stewardship
> Council's logo, has called on the group to cancel its label launch. "It's
> a
> hideous form of green washing," says Randy Hayes, the network's president.
> Chief among the environmentalists' complaints: that the Sustainable
> Forestry
> Initiative is largely an industry-run program that's soft on members like
> Pacific Lumber Co. The Scotia, Calif.-based unit of Maxxam Inc. was
> allowed
> to continue to participate in the program even though -- by its own
> account -- it was responsible for about 300 violations of California state
> forestry practices between 1996 and 1999.
> In addition, with little input from outside interests, critics say the
> program has few environmental safeguards. For example, program rules allow
> an average of 120 acres -- the size of 116 football fields -- to be cut
> clear of trees. Under the environmentalists' program, "clear cuts" larger
> than 40 acres are discouraged. The industry's rules also put no constraint
> on the use of timber-management chemicals such as herbicides, while the
> competing rules call for minimal to no use of chemicals.
> The industry group responds that environmentalists' criticisms betray a
> fundamental antagonism toward the business of forestry. "Some
> environmental
> groups don't think trees should ever be cut down," says Michael Klein, a
> spokesman.
> Though the program allows for larger clear-cuts and doesn't restrict the
> use
> of herbicides, opponents' criticisms are misguided, backers say. They
> argue
> that herbicides are government-approved and generally used once or twice
> over the life of a tree, which can span from 20 to 80 years. Also, the
> group
> says, the average size of clear-cuts by its members is 60 acres, not 120.
> As for Pacific Lumber, it isn't certified but simply enrolled in the
> program, which requires that companies show "continuous improvement" in
> forestry practices. Pacific Lumber is doing this, say group officials.
> California state officials confirm that the company's violations have
> dropped sharply.
> So far, customers like 37-year-old Dennis Manalo, who was shopping
> recently
> in the lumber section of a Home Depot in Colma, Calif., are in the dark.
> "I
> don't know anything about standards," said the San Francisco postal
> carrier.
> "All I know is my fence blew down and I have to find more lumber."
> But that will change. The industry group has indicated that it will
> increase
> its advertising budget if there's a need. And last month, the Forest
> Stewardship Council launched its own advertising campaign featuring actor
> Pierce Brosnan. The group, which is based in Oaxaca, Mexico, says the ads
> weren't a preemptive strike and that it has advertised several times since
> its standard was instituted almost a decade ago. The ads make no mention
> of
> the rivalry between the two standards.
> The industry group's program had its origins back in 1995. An industry
> task
> force set guidelines on proper forestry practices, and companies complied
> with them following an honor system. Enrollment was mandatory for all
> members.
> In 1999, the group added a "certification" program. To use the product
> logo
> and become certified, members had to let a "third party," or an outside
> auditing agency, assess their practices. Last year, a Sustainable Forestry
> Board, made up of industry leaders, academics and environmentalists, was
> set
> up to adjust and set certification standards.
> To sort through the he-said-she-said tenor of the certification war,
> groups
> like Home Depot have launched studies to assess the two standards.
> Meanwhile, industry officials and some environmentalists say groups like
> the
> Rainforest Action Network can't continue to support the Forest Stewardship
> Council to the exclusion of other certifications. Though Home Depot says
> it
> is stocking more FSC wood than it did when it started the program two
> years
> ago, the Council is far from certifying enough to fill the retailer's
> shelves. In addition, customers have so far been unwilling to pay a
> premium
> for certified wood, industry experts say.
> Still, all sides agree that the environmentalists have fundamentally
> shifted
> the way timber companies do business by pushing for certification. That
> leaves many in the industry confused and frustrated, says Bob Simpson,
> national director of the American Tree Farm System, which certifies trees
> grown on private property.
> "I don't see why they don't see this as a victory," says Mr. Simpson.
> "Instead of fighting, environmentalists should help us manage the forests
> in
> a sustainable way."
> Write to Queena Sook Kim at and Jim Carlton at
> jim.carlton@wsj.com2


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