WASHINGTON - May 18 - Forest Ethics, Greenpeace Canada, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rainforest Action Network today launched an international campaign to heighten awareness of controversial and destructive forestry practices in the Boreal forest. The groups called on 600 corporations to halt purchases of lumber and pulp that contribute to the destruction of the largest remaining ancient forest in North America.
"The demand for green products is growing," said Tzeporah Berman, ForestEthics. "Will Canadian logging companies become known as eco-villains or world leaders in conservation and green products? The choice is theirs."
Through a letter, sent to major corporations in North America including IBM, Kodak, Hilton Corp., J Crew, LandsEnd, and Safeway, the groups outline the steps these companies should take to minimize their impact on the Boreal forest -- a threatened area that contains 25 per cent of the world's remaining intact forest, provides nesting grounds for billions of North American birds and protects against global warming.
"We should not let one of the world's greatest conservation opportunities be obliterated by unchecked and unsustainable logging," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, NRDC attorney.
A mere 8 percent of Canada's Boreal forest is protected and a little more than a fraction is logged in a sustainable manner. Clearcutting is the primary logging method in Canada, and the majority of companies operate in old growth forests. The Boreal forest is logged primarily to provide lumber, newsprint, toilet paper, magazines, copy paper and catalogs and other forest products to the North American markets. For example, 80 percent of Canada's forest product exports-from paper to lumber- goes to the United States.
"Making disposables products like toilet paper and catalogs out of Canada's ancient Boreal forest is simply reprehensible," said Richard Brooks, Greenpeace Canada. "We are going straight to customers with this message."
The letter asks corporations to join an international movement to support the conservation of ancient and endangered forests through new and improved environmental procurement policies. It specifically asks companies to support made-in-Canada solutions to Boreal conservation.
"Corporate America is realizing that it is just as morally wrong to destroy endangered forests as it to exploit child labor," said Brant Olson, Rainforest Action Network. "The era of predatory clearcutting of old-growth forests has entered its endgame in the North American marketplace. American businesses have an ethical obligation to stop purchasing from companies like Weyerhaeuser that refuse to adopt global forest protection policies."
Previous marketplace initiatives by these same groups have successfully helped trendsetting giants like Cascades, Norm Thompson Outfitters, Kinko's, Staples, Office Depot, Home Depot and Lowe's change their supply lines and provide customers with more recycled and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and paper products.
Spokespersons will make a brief statement and be available to take questions by Tele News Conference at 10 a.m. (PT)/1 p.m. (ET). Please phone in by dialing: United States and Canada 888- 276-0007. Please dial in five minutes before the hour and request to be connected with the "Boreal Forest Conservation Press Conference."
For more information or for a copy of the backgrounder please contact:
Richard Brooks, Greenpeace: 416-597-8408 ext. 3013 or 416-573- 7209 (cell) Web: http://www.greenpeace.ca/
Tzeporah Berman, ForestEthics: 250-935-0061 Web: http://www.forestethics.org/
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Natural Resources Defense Council: 202- 289-2366 Web: http://www.nrdc.org/
Brant Olson, Rainforest Action Network: 415-398-4404 Web: http://www.ran.org/
For background information, please see:
-- Letter: http://www.greenpeace.ca/e/borealforestletter.pdf
-- Through the Trees - The Truth Behind Logging in Canada Report: http://www.greenpeace.ca/e/campaign/boreal/documents/BorealReport.pdf
-- Boreal photo album: http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/boreal/intro.asp
-- Boreal backgrounder: http://www.greenpeace.ca/e/backgrounder.pdf