33,000 petitions to The Home Depot ask for action on forests

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DENVER – Environment America and Environmental Action sent more than 33,000 petitions on Thursday to The Home Depot CEO Ted Decker, asking the retail giant to act to protect the world’s forests. In May 2022, Home Depot shareholders supported a proposal to increase the company’s efforts to eliminate deforestation and the degradation of primary forests in its supply chains. As of early January 2024, the company has not released a report as expected following the shareholder vote. 

“Our wildlife are in crisis. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified 21 species that are now extinct; they have completely disappeared,” said Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery. “When we have an ecosystem like the boreal forest that supports such diversity of species, we should be doing everything we can to preserve it. Instead we’re fragmenting it, making it harder for wildlife to survive.”

The North American boreal forest is the largest intact ecosystem left on the planet. It is an invaluable habitat for many North American species, such as Canada lynx, grizzly bears and wolverines. Disturbances in the boreal forest have endangered more than half of the iconic woodland caribou herds. Furthermore, the boreal forest is a breeding ground for nearly half of all bird species in Canada and the United States.

“We’ve broken another record. 2023 was the hottest year yet,” said Montgomery. “We cannot talk about climate solutions and continue to chop down the trees that absorb and store carbon. We need every climate solution available to us, particularly our forests.”

The trees and soil of the North American boreal forest hold as much as 300 billion tons of carbon – nearly twice as much as the world’s recoverable oil reserves contain. Each year, the forest removes enough carbon from the atmosphere to offset the emissions of 24 million cars. However, the loggers level the forest at a rate of 1.5 football fields every minute. As reported by the New York Times, a new study shows that logging in Canada’s boreal forest is causing severe damage, harming wildlife and compromising the forest’s ability to absorb and store carbon, which is critical for fighting climate change. 

“As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot has a responsibility to lead on sustainably sourcing lumber and committing to curbing its impact on deforestation,” said Montgomery. “When big companies such as The Home Depot commit to environmentally conscious policies, it shows that we can all work toward lasting change for our wildlife, our forests and our planet.”