To Buy or Not To Buy? Spotlight on Home Depot

Purchasing wood for your home can be tricky when you’re concerned about the world’s rapidly disappearing forests.

| July/August 2003

The good news: Lumber sales giant Home Depot makes buying sustainably harvested wood easier with a website page dedicated to products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international group with strict logging standards. Home Depot’s site lists all FSC products available by region—from lumber and plywood to doors, shelving, and brooms. Since its 1999 pledge to be more environmentally responsible, the corporation has become the largest U.S. purchaser of certified wood. It has also reduced purchases of Indonesian lauan, a tropical hardwood used in doors, by 70 percent.

The bad news: As the world’s single largest lumber retailer, Home Depot has been targeted by global deforestation protesters. Despite the company’s reduction of lauan, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is concerned that it still buys wood from Indonesia, whose forests are among the world’s most endangered. “Home Depot continues to do business with the worst actors in the logging industry,” says Michael Brune, RAN’s campaign director. “It needs to show more leadership if it wants to call itself a green company.”

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