Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dogwood Alliance Responds

Lindsey Simerly of Dogwood Alliance was quick to respond to today's article, Condoms to the Rescue, and 5 Other Novel Ideas for Saving the Forests, in which I questioned her organization's "Kentucky Fried Forest" campaign: 

I am the campaign organizer for Dogwood Alliance and I am happy to answer your questions about our Kentucky Fried Forests campaign. Our main goals are protection of Southern forests, but we are not advocating for Styrofoam or other non-biodegradable as an alternative. What are asking for immediate and substantive steps towards a credible sustainable packaging policy, including:

•Reducing the overall packaging for your products
•Increasing the use of post-consumer recycled paper in your packaging
•Where recycled paper is not available, making sure your paper originates from well-managed forests as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

You are absolutely right that IP no longer owns much land in the South. However, we believe in holding IP accountable for the supply chain impacts of its business operations. The fact that IP doesn't own land is irrelevant in the 21st Century as more and more consumers (corporate and individual) want to know where their products come from and what the impacts are. Whether it's customers wanting to ensure that the clothing they buy isn't coming from sweat shops employing kids in China, that their energy isn;t coming from mountaintop removal or their paper coming from destroyed forests, corporations around the world are now being held accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of their business decisions. Not owning the factory or the coal fields or the forest is no longer any justification for serious negative impacts.

IP is by far the largest paper producer in the Southern US and world. As such a huge economic driver in the region, it has a responsibility to ensure that the profits it makes do not come at the expense of our environment and local communities. Other paper companies such as AbitibiBowater and Domtar are doing their part to improve forestry practices on private lands where they source fiber for their products and IP can do the same.

Also, currently landowners don't receive adequate value for maintaining forests. We believe the solution is to increase the value of keeping ecosystems intact. See our new Carbon Canopy initiative for more information. Landowners should get paid more to log less and protect their forests. We're not there yet, but it is the wave of the future.

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