Aaron Sanger

Re-straightening the record

Friday Dec 3, 2010

Recently the 'Sustainable' Forestry Initiative made a feeble attempt to "debunk" the cold, hard facts in our report, SFI: Certified Greenwash by posting a news item on their homepage with the highly misleading title of "Setting the Record Straight."

ForestEthics is here to re-straighten the record.

On "Promoting Responsible Forest Management"

SFI Claim The Facts
SFI claims it is about ‘responsible forestry’. As our report thoroughly documents, virtually all of SFI’s funding comes from the timber and paper industries, and those industries dominate SFI’s management.  Because of this virtual identity between SFI and the industries it claims are doing ‘responsible forestry’, we should not believe SFI any more than we would believe the fox about the safety of the henhouse.

On "Responsible Forestry is More Than Just a Photo"

SFI Claim The Facts
SFI claims its approval of landslide causing operations is being confused with a ‘natural disaster’. According to David Montgomery, an expert in land studies at the University of Washington, the landslides that occurred should have been expected and prevented. Dr. Montgomery concluded that “the total amount of rainfall, and the resulting flooding, were indeed impressive, [but] the rainfall recurrence intervals of 50 years or less reported for this storm by [the independent scientific study don’t] make this storm appear to have been an unimaginable event." Indeed, Weyerhaeuser (the SFI- board represented company that had most of the landslides) knew from its own studies that there was high potential for landslides in the areas that actually did have landslides. SFI approved operations in these areas—despite the very ‘imaginable’ likelihood that this would lead to a ‘natural disaster’.


On "Independence and Governance"

SFI Claim The Facts
SFI claims that its environmental board members departed because of ‘term limits’. Trust for Public Land president Will Rogers joined SFI’s board in February 2009 and departed in December of that same year. Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited, resigned SFI’s board in June 2010 after only two months of service.  These two environmental board members clearly did not leave because of ‘term limits’.  Regardless of the reasons, their departure and the environmental irresponsibility of current board members, such as Mike Zagata and Marvin Brown, fully support our report’s conclusion that SFI’s board lacks adequate environmental representation.
SFI claims that its standards and processes are independent of the paper and timber industries because “only one member of SFI's board of directors is also a member of the AF&PA [paper and timber industry trade association]. AF&PA does not elect any member of SFI's board, and has no control over any SFI policies or the SFI Standard.” SFI is being influenced by more than 100 direct and indirect relationships between the paper and timber industries and SFI’s board.  SFI is being controlled by this industry web of influence. This means that SFI is being dominated by the paper and timber industries directly—and that these industries no longer need their trade association (AF&PA) to exercise this control.


On "Transparency and Audits"

SFI Claim The Facts
SFI claims that its audits are ‘rigorous’ even though its publicly available reports show no audit that detected a major problem. SFI wants us to believe that its audits have found major problems, but SFI has made a decision not to publish any report about these major problems. It’s pretty obvious SFI just wants us to take its word that its audits are rigorous—without any evidence to back it up.

SFI unimproved report

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