When a company or industry spends more time marketing its green efforts than actually doing anything good for the environment, there’s a serious problem. One of the most misleading and phony environmental certifications on the market today is the “Sustainable Forestry Initiative,” or SFI. Created by the logging industry to take advantage of the booming environmentally-conscious market, the SFI is governed and financed by the very companies it claims to evaluate. Products with the SFI label confuse customers into thinking they are making a socially and environmentally-responsible purchase. That’s why LEED, the world's leading green building certification, does not recognize or support the SFI label for LEED buildings.
So far, 37 major US companies including 3M, Office Depot, and AT&T have stood up for healthy forests by distancing their brands from SFI and moving millions of dollars in buying power away from forest destruction.
Why is the SFI such a problem for communities and forests?
- Clearcuts - The average clearcut approved by SFI is the size of 90 football fields, which can have permanent impacts on watersheds, water quality and soil productivity.
- Violating Human Rights - SFI labels can be applied to products made from forests cut without proper consultation with Indigenous Peoples and in violation of legal and international human rights standards.
- Toxic Trespass - SFI allows excessive spraying of toxic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides that poison fresh water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.
- Converting Forests to Plantations - SFI allows turning natural forests into ecologically barren industrial tree farms, including farms that plant genetically modified trees.
The US government needs to protect consumers from misleading marketing claims like SFI’s greenwash eco-label. Stand.earth has filed legal complaints with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to shed light on SFI’s misleading practices. Over 8,000 people signed our petition demanding that the FTC take action legal action to stop SFI’s greenwash.
What can you do?
Support real forest protection! Limit your own consumption by reducing, reusing and recycling. When buying new paper products, use recycled materials and look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label which is independently verified.
See a list of companies that have moved away from SFI here.