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Greenpeace: Sears, Best Buy, Other Big Brands ‘Failing Our Forests’

Sears, Best Buy, Toys R US, Home Depot, and Harlequin are “failing our forests” according to the “2010 Boreal Marketplace” annual report from Greenpeace.

The study evaluates 23 major forest-products customers on their concrete actions to protect the Boreal Forest and the woodland caribou. “True leaders” were determined to be Axel Springer, Cascades, Indigo Books, Kimberly-Clark, Office Depot and Rona.

Greenpeace used eight criteria to judge companies, including activities to protect endangered forests; recycling, recycled content and reduction; supplier engagement, and communications standards.

Not returning phone calls from Greenpeace in 2010 were Best Buy, Toys R Us, Harlequin, Xerox, and Boise Cascade – companies that ignored Greenpeace requests for information or had an initial meeting and then stopped communicating. As you’d imagine, these companies didn’t fare too well.

The report also pointed out that Greenpeace considers the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to be the gold standard of forest certification systems, and politely slams “industry-led certification schemes,” pointing to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

On this criteria, Greenpeace denounces Sears as greenwashers, calling “the Sears paper procurement policy one of the weakest we have seen to date.” Greenpeace says Sears uses a different certification system, follows a procurement policy that lacks definitions, benchmarks or commitments to recycled and alternative fiber. Sears has long been a target of environmental activists groups, especially Forest Ethics.

“Sears does not give any preference to FSC certification and treats all the certification standards as equal. Sears made a big deal of its ‘sustainable’ paper procurement policy but we see it amounting to nothing more than textbook ‘greenwashing,’ ” states the report.

Greenpeace also investigated the chain of custody of hundreds of high profile customers – such as Canadian Tire, Penguin Books, Lowes, Wal-Mart and Home Depot – and discovered that a wide range of their products originate from the Canadian Boreal. Greenpeace has requested that these corporate customers review their supply chains and to demand products that are not sourced from intact forests..

In other paper-product news, the revised Standard for Sanitary Paper Products, GS?1, sustainability standards set by non-profit group Green Seal were released. The new GS-1 certification includes improved performance thresholds; 100% recovered-material content requirements; chemical and toxin standards as well as added requirements for social responsibility.

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2 thoughts on “Greenpeace: Sears, Best Buy, Other Big Brands ‘Failing Our Forests’

  1. I would like to correct a bit of misinformation in the Greenpeace report. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is fully independent and has a volunteer three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic interests equally. The standard is grounded in science, research and regional expertise that guarantees responsible forest management. Multiple forestry experts, conservation groups, and government officials support the SFI standard. To get the facts, please visit http://www.sfiprogram.org.

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