Now that the forest-certification movement is running out of steam, two groups involved in promoting sustainable forestry have responded by declaring war on each other.
ForestEthics fired the first shots a few days ago, filing complaints of both tax fraud and greenwashing against the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. It sent letters last week asking the IRS
to revoke SFI's tax-exempt status and requesting that the Federal Trade Commission
investigate SFI's "unfair and deceptive" marketing practices. ForestEthics claims that SFI's forestry-certification program is inferior to Forest Stewardship Council certification.
SFI responded today by calling the ForestEthics complaints "an affront to the tremendous efforts by foresters, businesses, governments, consumers, SFI and other standards groups to preserve and protect our forests for future generations."
“We should all be focusing our resources and efforts on supporting responsible forest management and fighting deforestation and illegal logging, not wasting energy on bickering among ourselves," SFI added. A United Nations report recently concluded that the once-rapid growth of forest-certification efforts has stagnated during the past three years, Dead Tree Edition reported last month.
I'm skeptical whether FSC, which has had its own credibility issues in places like Indonesia, is significantly superior to SFI, but I welcome comment on the subject. I think the most useful service Dead Tree Edition can offer at this point is extensive excerpts from the complaints and SFI's response. Note: The rest of this article consists entirely of statements from ForestEthics and SFI that do not necessarily represent the views of Dead Tree Edition: