Most Americans are unfamiliar with the environmental activist group ForestEthics. But its recent activities reaffirm that something you don’t know can hurt you.
More specifically, ForestEthics has commenced a sabotage campaign against something called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). SFI, which was established back in 1994, essentially certifies that forest products are environmentally sustainable. ForestEthics, however, alleges that SFI is some sort of corporate ruse, and has undertaken a sustained effort to pressure private companies not to use SFI’s green certification program or apply its labels on products. As detailed by a letter from eight members of Congress, such efforts can result in punishing American industry. Specifically, products from such countries as Brazil, China and Russia would be certified, but enormous amounts of U.S. areas certified by SFI would be eliminated. Moreover, it can have such perverse effects as harvesting 600-year-old Russian trees.
While we don’t necessarily take sides in this sort of intra-environmentalist debate, ForestEthics illustrates once again the recurring and inherent contradictions of environmental activism. In this case, the price paid in terms of American jobs and old-growth forests in the name of ForestEthics dogma.