Green Building Controversy: Is The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Another Example of Greenwashing?

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is the world’s largest forest certification standard and the fastest growing organization for chain of custody certifications. More than 181 million acres of land are certified by the nonprofit, which supposedly takes into account qualities like protection of biodiversity, wildlife habitat, sustainable harvest levels, and protection of water quality when awarding certification. But according to a recently released report from Forest Ethics, the whole thing is an industry-sponsored scam.

The report (PDF), entitled SFI: Certified Greenwash, offers up a number of troubling claims: Nearly all of SFI?s funding is from the paper and timber industries; the Fiber Sourcing Label (SFI’s most popular label) doesn’t require chain-of-custody tracking of a product?s origins or content; and perhaps most disturbingly, audits of 543 SFI-certified companies since 2004 failed to report any noncompliance issues related to soil erosion,water quality, clearcutting, and chemical usage.