Forest Ethics | Forests for the Trees

logo courtesy ForestEthics

Over the past few years ForestEthics has made huge environmental progress, including protecting the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s Boreal Forest, and shifting the practices of the paper industry. They are now in the process of stopping Canada’s Tar Sands by encouraging companies from all over the US to commit to not using fuel from Tar Sands refineries. Six companies have joined them, including Walgreens, Avon, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Chiquita.

The Tar Sands is a particularly important achievement. We’re in a time when fuel demand is high. People also need work. The Tar Sands refinery seems to offer both, while in fact its danger to the environment and to people living in areas near the refinery (particularly the aging and the poor, who will be most effected by the project) is greater than any advantage that it may give us. There are still key companies, such as Wal-Mart and Safeway that ForestEthics has yet to enlighten regarding the affect of Tar Sands development.

Overall the list of companies that have committed to changing how they develop and produce items, especially paper and wood, and who support the work of ForestEthics reads like a who’s who of the Fortune 500. Some of those companies have included Dell, Staples, Office Depot, Victoria’s Secret, and Williams-Sonoma. In fact their approach to waking companies up, as Executive Director Todd Paglia often says, has worked for them so well, that for a long time the executive from Victoria’s Secret was flying all around the US and Canada to help further their cause.

One of the key things that makes ForestEthics successful in their approach is their commitment to integrity in the work that they do, which includes how they work in office with one another as well as their standards for working with those organizations which are harming the environment. They go in with the perspective that the folks at Staples, Victoria’s Secret, and Home Depot have no idea about the impact they’re having.  So they come in to educate and try to remember that the folks sitting across from them are not the enemy, they’re just folks, just human beings needing some guidance.  When they do finally get the chance for a company to listen, they point out what doesn’t working for the environment and offer things such as marketing solutions–because just asking companies to stop isn’t enough. They also have to know how to go forward from this new perspective.

Over the years through sitting down with folks in companies such as those, ForestEthics has been able to “secure the protection of more than 65 million acres of forest.” Proving that change can happen even in the most unlikely places.

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