Students tell Home Depot to put forests first

Across the nation, college students are calling on The Home Depot to protect forests in its supply chain.

Forests

Sammy Herdman | TPIN

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From San Francisco, California to Boston, Massachusetts, students across the nation are calling on The Home Depot to put forests first, especially the North American boreal forest.

The North American boreal forest covers one billion acres in Canada—supporting threatened caribou herds, grizzly bears and billions of birds. It provides fresh drinking water to millions of people and absorbs enough carbon dioxide to offset the emissions of 24 million passenger vehicles. It is one of our greatest naturally-occurring climate solutions.

Unfortunately, one million acres of the boreal forest are cut down each year—the equivalent of one and a half football fields every minute. Much of that wood is exported to the US as lumber.

College students tell The Home Depot to put forests first

Responsible forestry practices take into account the long-term sustainability and health of forests and their ecosystems. Right now, much of the boreal forest is being logged quickly and indiscriminately in order to maximize short term profits. Home improvement retailers, such as The Home Depot, can reduce pressure on forests by committing to only source responsibly harvested lumber.

One way to ensure that lumber has been sourced responsibly is by purchasing wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Wood products with an FSC logo are harvested following the certification’s 10 guiding principles, which include the conservation of the forest’s ecosystem, protecting rare and threatened species, their habitats and overall biological diversity and maintaining the wellbeing of local communities. The principles also require that companies can only develop Indigenous territory if given the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities— a stipulation that ensures that the people most likely to be directly affected by logging activity are involved in making decisions about what happens to their land.

The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer with over 2,300 stores in North America. Because The Home Depot wood sourcing practices lack transparency, its impact on our forests is uncertain. The Home Depot’s competitor, Lowe’s, on the other hand, tracks and discloses much of its wood sourcing, and has goals for increasing the amount of FSC certified lumber it sources.

The Home Depot has the potential to protect our forests by committing to sourcing responsibly harvested lumber. That’s why college students across the US are urging The Home Depot to put forests first.

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Authors

Sammy Herdman

Save The Boreal Forest Campaign, Associate, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Sammy runs the Save the Boreal Forest campaign for Environment America, calling on American corporations to stop degrading forests that are critical for the climate, biodiversity and people. Sammy grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but now lives in Denver. She enjoys snowboarding, camping and reading.

Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.

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