Radical Groups Threaten US Timber Industry

A practiced tactic of the left is for multiple organizations of varying degrees of radicalism to coordinate their attacks on a single industry or company, often to the benefit of one player in the industry and to detriment of American workers. This is happening right now in the timber industry. And the federal government is playing an active role.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) remains the sole vehicle of certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for green building recognition. LEED standards reign as most prominent in the field. Most federal contracts for new or renovated buildings require LEED certification and, therefore, the FSC good housekeeping seal of approval.

Unfortunately, the FSC certification regime favors foreign competitors over U.S. timber harvesters, which puts U.S. workers at a grave disadvantage when it comes to constructing buildings for their own government. Less than a quarter of all American forestry is FSC-certified, so there’s an immediate impact on American jobs. In addition, FSC has no clearly defined standard; it varies by region. Consider, for example, the fact that IKEA is FSC certified. IKEA was also the subject of a recent documentary about their clear cutting of old growth forests.

These are among some of the reasons why governors like Maine’s Paul LePage and Georgia’s Nathan Deal have reformed their building regulations to accept other certification programs when considering the construction of new government buildings. There are three other standards for forest certification in North America alone.

But FSC has its supporters - the aforementioned groups of varying degrees of radicalism – that are willing to agitate on its behalf.

Among them are groups like the Dogwood Alliance, which sits on the steering committee of the Environmental Paper Network, a prominent FSC backer. The Alliance itself has participated in FSC events and attempts to alienate office supply companies that are not FSC certified. This is the same group that brought the late Colonel Sanders back from the dead in a post-mortem campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken.

More troubling is the Alliance’s full-throated endorsement of Occupy Wall Street. “Like everyone else, we at Dogwood Alliance have been so excited to watch as tens of thousands of people have gathered in New York City and in solidarity actions around the world to occupy Wall Street in peaceful protest of corporate greed,” reads its website. The Alliance has mimicked Occupy tactics outside of a KFC location in North Carolina.

The FSC’s connections with out-of-touch radicals hardly stop there. Also sitting on the Environmental Paper Network’s steering committee is ForestEthics. This group has spearheaded a campaign against the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which ranks as one of FSC’s chief competitors in the timber certification realm.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is listed by the FSC as a non-governmental organization (NGO) marketing partner in its 2011 Global Markets Survey. Not even 7 months ago the WWF called for a complete, global ban of carbon emissions by the year 2050. The WWF also calls for worldwide poverty as a means to save the planet, or what they term as “inequality adjusted human development” in their ‘Living Planet Report.’

These are the groups that back FSC’s monopoly on the timber industry and appear to control the fate of U.S. timber jobs.

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