What to Do When ForestEthics Comes Knocking?

In a guest column (“What to Do When ForestEthics Comes Knocking?”) posted on GreenBiz.com, Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) President and CEO Kathy Abusow writes that ForestEthics’ “pressure tactics” on companies are “undermining not just SFI, but all of the valued forest certification programs,” which “could have unintended consequences for forests and communities across North America.”

“We are puzzled that {SFI} a program that invests in conservation and community grants to solve local, national and international forestry issues should be the subject of a misinformation campaign,” Abusow writes. She also raises questions about ForestEthics’ recent claims about Fortune 500 companies stopping the use of SFI. 

Abusow notes that “independent experts and respected organizations around the world, including the United Nations and Society of American Foresters, have recognized multiple certifications and report that there is a growing convergence among them” and urges procurement officials to “check facts” and “look for inclusive policies that open the door to all credible tools that advance sustainability agendas.”

She concludes that “we can all have preferences, but it is healthier and more sustainable if these preferences are a product of informed decision-making and not the result of pressure tactics. Guilt, pressure and misinformation are not the ingredients that drive sustainability.”
Full text of the article is available here.

Abusow’s guest column comes on the heels of an “open letter” signed by the Conservation Chamber of the SFI Board, which takes “strong exception to ForestEthics’ current campaign against SFI.” The six signers note that they have “dedicated our lives to conservation” and “would not be on the SFI Board if we did not believe it is a credible forest certification program, which we are able to advise and guide through our combined and diverse conservation expertise.”

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