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The Home Depot's, Lowe's' and Menards' Continuing Sales of Old Growth Rainforest Destruction

Tim Keating

D R A F T

No. 9 in the Rainforest Relief Reports Series of Occasional Papers October 2004

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S p a r i n g t h e W o r l d ' s R a i n f o r e s t s f r o m C o n s u m p t i o n New York City: phone: 212/243-2394 Portland, OR 503/236-3031 i n f o @ ra i n f o r e s t r e l i e f . o r g w w w .ra infore s tre lie f.org 1 2 2 W . 2 7 t h S t r e e t , 1 0 t h F l o o r · N e w Y or k , N Y 1 0 0 0 1

In 1996, Rainforest Relief reported on the numerous and high-volume products sold by The Home Depot that were known to be coming from endangered tropical forests and temperate rainforests (Stealing Home: The OldGrowth Rainforests of The Home Depot, www.rainforestrelief.org/Reports_and_Publications/Stealing_Home). The report was used by dozens of groups and organizations participating in the campaign coordinated by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), targeting The Home Depot, the world's largest retailer of wood from endangered forests. By 1998, a single day of action called by RAN involved over a hundred protests across North America. In August of 1999, after two years of the campaign and just before a day of action that would have seen over 200 protests on a single day, The Home Depot announced a new environmental policy regarding wood sales (Addendum 1, www.rainforestrelief.org/......). With the announcement by The Home Depot, the campaign shifted to targeting Lowe's Within a few months, Lowe's announced a policy to phase out the sales of wood from endangered forests and additionally wood logged from U.S. national forests. Policies from three more of the top ten home improvement retail chains ensued within a year. Since these policies have been announced, both The Home Depot and Lowe's have made significant changes to the mix of products that made up their sales of wood from endangered forests, specifically endangered tropical forests. Historical information about Menards sales of old growth and tropical woods is unavailable since there were no surveys of Menards done until recently.

Ramin

Lowe's was the first to eliminate a major problematic tropical product: ramin dowels. They were replaced with dowels made from poplar, a domestic species. Ramin dowels were one of the main tropical hardwood products the sales of which rose significantly with the rise of big DIY chains. Ramin, an endangered species of tree being heavily targeted by loggers in Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo, has been considered endangered and overharvested for some time. For years, environmentalists had been calling for the listing of ramin on Appendix II of the CITES convention.** We first observed ramin dowels in a Home Depot store in 1991. Since then, ramin dowels were seen in almost every hardware store in the country as well as showing up as the majority of broom, mop, rake, squeegee, plunger and paint brush handles across the U.S. By 1996 we had surmised that the buying power of The Home Depot, during it's meteoric rise in the late '80s and early '90s, had enabled the large-scale importation of a dowel that was cheaper than domestic or temperate hardwood dowels. Many Indonesian sawmills had focused on producing ramin dowels for the export market. Thanks to the focus on ramin dowels and tool handles generated by Rainforest Relief during the Home Depot campaign, in their 1999 statement The Home Depot specifically mentioned "tool handles" as being problematic.

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Lauan

Lauan is sold as plywood sheets in various thicknesses as well as dimensions, and as the skins for interior (hollow core and solid core) doors, including folding doors. The term "lauan" pertains to tropical hardwood plywood. Lauan plywood was originally logged from the Philippines where Japanese loggers targeted the largest trees in the forest for slicing into plywood. These were red lauan and white lauan, both of which are in the Shorea genus of the Dipterocarpacea family. In the 1930s the Japanese companies developed a method, called rotary cutting, of laterally slicing continuous veneer sheets from logs.** This enabled the use of smaller trees and so suddenly, all the Dipterocarps became targets for loggers. About 80% of southeast Asian rainforest trees are Dipterocarps. But the name "lauan" had been applied in the new U.S. post-war market and it stuck, becoming generic to tropical plywood from the Philippines.** By the 1970s, massive overlogging in the Philippines had depleted forests there by about 70% and by 1989, large-scale flooding and drought brought on by deforestation prompted the Philippine king to call for a complete ban on logging.** By the late 1970s, as exports from Philippines were dwindling, Malaysia had ramped up production and by 1985 had become the largest exporter of tropical plywood (as well as the largest exporter of tropical logs).** The species originally targeted in Malaysian Borneo was meranti (_______) and the exports of rotary cut plywood, utilizing dozens of species of Dipterocarps, was generically called meranti. However, in the U.S, `meranti' was still most often called lauan. By 1990, given depletion of forests in Sabah and Sarawak, the two states of Malaysian Borneo that were being heavily logged by Japanese and Malaysian companies, Indonesia had eclipsed Malaysia as the largest exporter of tropical plywood and has since maintained that position.** Indonesia is currently responsible for about 90% of the world's internationally traded tropical plywood.** During the Home Depot campaign, Rainforest Relief, along with Action Resource Center (ARC), developed a campaign method that became known as "Dead Rainforest Tours". This method involved giving tours to customers through the isles of Home Depot stores. The first `Dead Rainforest Tour' occurred when the author brought the ARC activists through their local Home Depot isle by isle, pointing out all the old growth rainforest wood, product by product. This tour became the Stealing Home report. Additionally, someone suggested that we should train activists across the continent, using the report and a kit for recognizing rainforest woods, to give customers in their locale tours of Home Depot stores. This method was utilized form Boston to British Columbia by demonstrators. In British Columbia activists were able to show that it wasn't just old growth BC forests that The Home Depot was destroying. It was after a Dead Rainforest Tour with a reporter in Queens, NY that the reporter was able to question The Home Depot's spokesperson, Suzanne Apple, about old growth woods. Up until that time, The Home Deport had been denying that they were selling any old growth woods. However, armed with our specific information, the reporter asked about lauan (which is logged entirely from old growth forests). Ms. Apple responded that yes, lauan is old growth, but it's an "industry standard". This was the beginning of the unraveling of The Home Depot's stalling tactic that had lasted a year into the campaign. Lauan is the only wood that The Home Depot specifically mentioned in their 1999 statement.

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Mahogany

In 1997 Rainforest Relief identified two companies from which The Home Depot was buying mahogany exterior entry doors. One company was supplied by Portico, a Costa Rican company that had been independently certified by the Rainforest Alliance. However, the label on the door stated that "at least 50%" of the door was from certified mahogany. The other company selling The Home Depot mahogany doors was Main Door Corp., based in southern California. Main Door, we later ascertained, was importing doors from Guatemala. None of Main Door's doors were certified at all. There was also some question as to whether they were actual mahogany or another rainforest wood, cedro (Spanish cedar).

Redwood

In 1997, Rainforest Action Network went after The Home Depot for selling redwood lumber and hot tubs made with some redwood. At the time, The Home Depot was proud to proclaim that their redwood was "clear", meaning free of knots or wide grain -- that is, old growth.

Western Red Cedar

Paneling The Home Depot and Lowe's were selling western red cedar (WRC) paneling, cedar shakes (shingles) and other WRC products. The Home Depot's cedar paneling was purchased from MacMillan-Bloedel, then Canada's largest forest products company and the main company doing controversial logging in the Clayoquot Sound area of Vancouver Island, British Columbia (MacBlo has since been purchased by Weyerhauser). Shelving In 1998, Rainforest Relief challenged the claims by The Home Depot that it was not selling old growth woods by purchasing a 10" piece of western red cedar shelving. The board had to be taken home to fully count the rings, since they were so close together that a magnifying class was needed to distinguish them. It was found that the single 10"-wide piece of shelving represented 310 years of growth.** Given the closeness of the rings, one could surmise the relative position in the tree from which the lumber was cut. Thus, one was able to deduce the width of the tree. Given this probable width and the probable position of the board in relation to the center of the tree, it was deduced that the tree was 1,200 to 2,000 years old when it was cut. Western red cedar trees this age were not uncommon in the past. However, at this point they are limited mostly to British Columbia, where MacMillan-Bloedel was doing much of its logging at the time. It was also known the WRC was the only product which was profitable for MacBlo.** In essence, in the government-granted concessions to public lands, MacBlo was logging out the extremely-high-value WRC and then logging the rest of the trees as `gravy'. Showing this piece of wood to journalists was an effective means of countering HD's claims.

The Home Depot's statement called for a phase-out within three years (by "the end of 2002") of sales of "all wood from endangered forests" (emphasis added) and specifically mentioned lauan plywood and tool handles (many of which were made of ramin), two of the main items that were the focus of the Stealing Home report and Rainforest Relief's campaign actions and outreach.

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... It's important to note the difference between The Home Depot's press release of August of 2000 and the specific language of the current Wood Purchasing Policy (WPP). While the press release uses the term "endangered forests", the WPP now mentions "'endangered regions' of forestry", a vague term that could mean quite a few different things. What exactly is `endangered forestry'? Similarly, the press release called for a preference to wood from well-managed sources. The current WPP uses the term "forests managed in a responsible way" which opens the door for a much broader range of management and could include something as basic as not breaking the law. In fact, HD has begun working with companies certified as SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative of the AFPA). This certification is nothing more than conventional logging as usual in North America -- the type of logging that has led to the elimination of almost all old growth forests in the lower 48 states and which includes large clearcutting. This certification does not include a chain-of-custody component which is essential to assure that the wood being purchased actually came from the certified operation. Without chain-of-custody, there's no way to know where the wood on the shelf actually came from. HD states: Wood is considered "certified" if it has been managed and harvested under strict guidelines and monitored by a third party to ensure sustainable practices are followed. In short, some certified timber can be tracked through its entire journey from stump to shelf. The reality is that the entire razon d'etre for certification was to track wood from forest to shelf. The idea of certification of wood was born around 1987 from discussions in London with Greenpeace London and others. Certification would be a way for those practicing environmentally sound logging in the tropics to avoid being targeted along with everyone else as part of the all-out boycott of tropical hardwood that was then raging around the globe. Ecological Enterprises picked up the idea and spent two years trying to bring wood from an operation in the Amazon to the store shelf in England. The tracking of the wood through the various sawmills, the brokers, the truckers, the exporters, the shippers and the kiln driers, and finally to the wholesalers, distributors and retailers, was, to say the least, a challenge. What it necessitated was a shortening of the chain-of-custody as well as monitoring of the separation of the wood throughout the chain. For The Home Depot (and SFI) to "some certified timber can be tracked through it's entire journey" (emphasis added), without stating actual percentages or goals, renders the statement nearly meaningless and contradicts the spirit of their original statement. This serves to dilute the original statement as well as allow for the sales of SFI certified products, since the "some" of which the statement refers are the FSC certified products. Only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited certifications include the chain-of-custody necessary to ensure that the wood purchased is the same wood that has come from the certified operation. But FSC-certified products are not as readily available as those that carry SFI certification. Companies having achieved SFI include large US multinational forest products companies such as Weyerhauser and others.

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In the current WPP, HD also touts that "less than 0.15% of our total wood comes from areas around the Brazilian Amazon Basin". However, HD rarely purchased rainforest wood from this area. The vast majority of HD's old growth tropical rainforest woods were from southeast Asia, mostly Indonesia (incidentally, HD is now purchasing some tool handles that are made in Brazil, something they didn't do before). In 1997, we did ascertain that HD was selling some "lauan" from Brazil. Recently, with supplies of lauan starting to dwindle from Indonesia (as the forests disappear), Brazil is increasing the sales of tropical plywood to fill the gap. As yet, this accounts for less than 5% of US tropical plywood imports. However, according to the author's observations, HD was a major player in selling this plywood from Brazil.

Today Lowe's and The Home Depot have a quite different set of old growth rainforest woods for sale. Some of the more egregious woods have been reduced or eliminated, while some new ones have been added. Still others have seen little change. Menards, on the other hand, has apparently done nothing to reduce the sales of old growth and tropical woods.

One Step Up REDUCING THE SALES OF OLD GROWTH AND RAINFOREST WOODS

Lauan

Doorskins The Home Depot At the Home Depot store in Hazlet, New Jersey, all of the hollow-core doors are now FSC certified, faced with "Premwood", a manmade veneer over Masonite brand of hardboard.

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Hollow-core interior doors FSC certified and faced with a man-made surface called "Premwood", made by Masonite International, formerly Premdor.

This is one of the great successes of the Home Depot campaign. Premdor, based in Canada, is the world's largest door manufacturer. They were the main supplier of interior doors to both The Home Depot and Lowe's. It was the interior doors that were the main product of focus for Rainforest Relief and other groups during the campaign. At the first direct action in a Home Depot store (at the Rosedale store in California), activists locked themselves to the shelving in which lauan interior doors were displayed. In Brooklyn, two "lock down" actions focused on interior doors faced with lauan. In 1991, after being targeted by Rainforest Action Network regarding lauan, The Home Depot sold some Premwood-faced doors in one region of the country. The report from The Home Depot environmental spokesperson shortly thereafter was that contractors didn't like the doors. However, as of this writing, at least in the Northeast, The Home Depot (and Premdor) has finally made the switch.

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The exposure from the campaign related to lauan doors and the ensuing pressure from The Home Depot eventually prompted Premdor to purchase Masonite, a US company manufacturing hardboard. With the purchase, Premdor changed the name of the entire company to Masonite International, with the manufacture of doors being one component. This is an example of the kinds of ripple effects that can ensue from a well-thought-out markets campaign.

Mahogany

Levels

Entry Doors Soon after their statement, The Home Depot notified Main Door that they would only buy from them if they were able to get certified wood**. We do not know specifics of what transpired between the companies but to our knowledge, HD no longer carries doors from Main Door in any of their stores. Currently, both The Home Depot and Lowe's can special order mahogany doors from Royal Mahogany, a company owned by Masonite International (formerly Premdor -- see above). Royal Mahogany claims their doors to be FSC certified. According to FSC, this means that 70% of the material must be from certified operations. Royal Mahogany claims that _________________.

WEST COAST STORES STILL HAVE MAIN DOORS

Ramin

Both Lowe's and The Home Depot have eliminated the sales of hardwood dowels made of ramin. This is an extremely important step for which both companies should be lauded. This move has helped to reduce ramin dowel imports into the US by also recreating a market for temperate hardwood dowels.

Dowels Lowe's Lowe's was the first to switch to an alternative wood for their formerly ramin hardwood dowels. Lowe's now carries hardwood dowels made of poplar, a domestic species. On each dowel is a sticker claiming that this product saves rainforests. The dowels are made by

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The Home Depot

FSC certified eucalyptus hardwood dowels in The Home Depot.

The Home Depot has also phased out ramin dowels and is instead selling dowels made from eucalyptus. Most eucalyptus imported into the US is coming from plantations. While these plantations can still be quite problematic, especially those managed for paper, this is certainly a far better option than endangered ramin from the endangered rainforests of Indonesia.

Tool Handles The Home Depot Some of the tool handles that were formerly made of ramin are now made of rubberwood. Rubberwood is from spent rubber trees from plantations in southeast Asia. While demand for rubberwood has increased dramatically in the last 10 years, rubberwood remains an excellent alternative to ramin and other Southeast Asian rainforest wood species. Some of the items made of rubberwood include garden implements such as the Corona Hedgeshear (HS 3911), Corona Clipper, 1540 E Sixth Street, Corona, CA 92879; 800/847-7863, A Belotta Company) and the Homegardener Hand Trowel, Cultivator and Digger. However, the Fixed Handle Bulb Planter (869-208) has a handle of an unknown hardwood).

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Rubberwood handles in The Home Depot, a welcome departure from ramin. Pictured are the Homegardeneer Hand Trowel and the Corona Hedge Shear.

Also of rubberwood is the Workforce Rubber Mallet (440-780), made in China. In addition to toolhandles, HD also sells other items made of rubberwood, such as a Kitchen Cart, made by Host Brought Kitchen Cabs.

Western Red Cedar

The Home Depot Due to the heavy focus on British Columbia's temperate rainforests by RAN and other large organizations, The Home Depot pulled MacBlo western red cedar (WRC) lumber, planking and exterior shingles from their shelves even before they made their announcement in 2000. This was a major step in reducing old growth WRC imports into the US. To our knowledge, The Home Depot no longer sells WRC lumber, planking or exterior shingles. Lowe's To our knowledge, no WRC lumber, planking or shingles are currently being sold by Lowe's.

Redwood

The Home Depot Since the sales of redwood had been a major initial focus of the RAN campaign, The Home Depot phased out the sales of redwood even before they made their announcement.

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As far as we have observed, redwood has been completely eliminated from Lowe's and The Home Depot. Lowe's We are unaware of whether Lowe's was ever selling redwood lumber. To our knowledge, no redwood lumber is currently being sold by Lowe's.

Miscellaneous

Grills The Home Depot In our first report we mentioned that HD was selling outdoor grills with handles made with unknown tropical hardwoods. During research for this report, no hardwood handles were found on any grills sold by The Home Depot. Lowe's

Standing Still STILL SELLING WOOD FROM ENDANGERED FORESTS

Lauan

Plywood Sheets The Home Depot Today, The Home Depot claims to have eliminated the sales of 70% of the lauan plywood they were selling prior to making their 1999 statement.

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as

Sheets of lauan plywood still for sale in The Home Depot

Yet lauan is still being sold in full 4x8 sheets and as sheets of smaller dimensions in every store surveyed. This being the case, it would be hard to imagine that the company has reduced lauan purchases by 70%. This would assume that 70% of lauan sales were for interior doors. This is not very likely. Further, one has to question what measure The Home Depot is using to arrive at this figure. The lauan face on an interior door on average measures approximately 30" x 80" x 1/8", or 300 cubic inches. The two faces account for 600 cubic inches of wood. An average sheet of lauan plywood measures 4' x 8' and 3/8" thick, or 1728 cubic inches. A door accounts for approximately 35% or 1/3 the amount of wood in a plywood sheet. In order for The Home Depot to have reduced their sales of lauan by 70%, they would have to have been selling 7 doors for every sheet of plywood. Not very likely, given the sales of plywood.

Lowe's Lowe's claims... Lowe's is selling full sheets and smaller sheets of lauan plywood. These are in varying thicknesses from 1/8" to 3/8".

Paneling The Home Depot When The Home Depot was originally targeted by the Rainforest Action Network in 1991 for their sales of lauan plywood, Georgia-Pacific (GP) was then the largest importer of lauan, much of which was used to back decorative interior paneling.

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Today, GP seems to have substantially reduced its imports of lauan. This has been claimed by numerous representatives in conversations with various organizations. While on contract with Greenpeace, the author spoke with a public relations spokesperson at GP, who claimed that GP were completely phasing out of tropical hardwoods. However, while our investigations seemed to show that GP has reduced the use of lauan, they have shown that they are still using it for some paneling. Recent research of lauan imports shows GP still importing lauan, as of March 2004. As well, The Home Depot still sells some paneling backed with lauan plywood manufactured by Georgia-Pacific.

Georgia Pacific wall paneling being sold in Home Depot still backed with lauan.

Lowe's In the Lowe's Hazlet store in January, 2004, the entire line of G-P decorative paneling was backed with hardboard or other sawdust-based panels materials, not lauan. But, unfortunately, right alongside the G-P paneling was a stack of decorative paneling backed with lauan, made by Chesapeake Forest Products (Chesapeake Forest Products, Inc., __________________) a company that we believe to now be the largest importer of lauan plywood into the U.S. So, in effect, Lowe's has simply replaced G-P lauan-backed paneling with lauan-backed paneling made by Chesapeake. Menards The Menards store surveyed had more lauan-backed paneling then either HD or Lowe's. The entire line of Georgia-Pacific paneling was backed with hardboard but about half of the paneling was lauan-backed, from Chesapeake and another company, American Pacific.

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Interior wall paneling manufactured by Chesapeake Forest Products and American Pacific, backed with lauan plywood, being sold in Menards

Wall paneling made entirely of lauan (face and back), manufactured by Chesapeake Forest Products, being sold in Menards

Furniture Lowe's

Menards Menards continues to sell furniture backed with lauan plywood -- in this case, vanities made by Omega Cabinetry (Omega Cabinets, Waterloo, IO: 24" vanity, "Lancaster Oak" and "Delray Oak", 605-3404; 30"

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vanity, "Heritage Cherry", 605-3284). Lauan was also found within the vanities, used as either drawers or bracing pieces or both.

Omega Cabintry vanities, backed with lauan plywood, sold at Menards.

Other vanities sold at Menards (Pace, manufactured in Canada) could have used lauan in these applications but used only hardboard and birch plywood. When these alternatives are available enough that some companies already use them, clearly, a simple statement from Menards to their suppliers could facilitate a quick shift away from the more destructive materials. Doorskins Menards While The Home Depot and Lowe's have phased out interior doors faced with lauan, Menards continues to sell them.

Ramin

Dowels Menards

Tool Handles Ramin or other southeast Asian tropical hardwoods logged from rainforests can still be found in many of the same tool handles that were identified in 1997. While both The Home Depot and Lowe's have made great strides to eliminate ramin from toolhandles, many of the handles that were formerly ramin are now made of various other species of rainforest woods. Many of these

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tools are manufactured in China. China was a large importer of ramin dowels for tool handles. The work by EIA, Telepak and other organizations to list ramin on CITES has reduced exports of this particular wood dramatically, however, this hasn't stopped the problem of illegal or unsustainable logging in these regions. In recent years China has risen to become the second largest importer of forest products in the world, since drastically reducing logging due to large-scale flooding on the Yangtse. The wood now feeding Chinese mills and factories is coming from Burma, Indonesia, Russia, British Columbia and other regions. It seems from our investigation that some of these factories are indiscriminately using hardwood dowels from around the globe for tool handles. US companies such as Ames True Temper are complicit in the resultant forest destruction when they import these tools, as are the retailers, such as The Home Depot. Among the tool handles at The Home Depot was one handle made in Honduras, claiming to be "Eco Friendly". However, there was no indication as to whether the wood was from even an FSC certified operation.

Wood handle from Honduras for sale at The Home Depot.

Still other tool handles are now being made in Brazil. For over a decade, it's been known that at least 80% of logging in the Brazilian Amazon has been done illegally. By 1996, Eduardo Martins, then-president of IBAMA had confirmed these figures, and again in 1997 when a sting operation by the Brazilian intelligence agency, the SAE, showed that concessionaires were laundering five times the amount of illegal wood by falsifying their export certificates. The blond wood in tool handles may be virola, one of the most in-demand woods in the Brazilian Amazon. The demand for high-value woods such as virola is driving illegal logging. Either way, if these handles are made from wood logged in the Brazilian Amazon, the shift from ramin from Indonesia in this case has been a shift

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from an endangered wood logged from endangered forests to a soon-to-be endangered wood logged from other endangered forests.

The Home Depot

Ames True Temper "Bronco" rakes (1932153) with old growth rainforest wood handles being sold by The Home Depot.

RAKES Various rainforest woods were found in Ames True Temper (Camp Hill, PA) "Bronco" rakes in The Home Depot in New Jersey.

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Quickie handles (48" Wood Handle, 54101; 60" Hardwood Handle with Metal Ferrule, 54102; 60" Hardwood Handle with Tapered End, 54103) made of various rainforest woods.

BROOMS, MOPS, HANDLES What may be ramin or virola and other rainforest woods were found in Quickie (Quickie Manufacturing Corp., P.O. Box 156, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077; 800/257-5751) brooms, mops and replacement handles. The labels on the replacement handles state that they are made in Brazil.

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Lowe's RAKES Various rainforest woods were found in Ames True Temper (Camp Hill, PA) "Bronco" rakes (Ames 1905552; Lowe's 99802) in Lowe's in New Jersey.

OTHER POLES The Home Depot continues to sell curtain rods made of ramin, marketed by Levolor (4110 Premier Drive, High Point, NC 27265; 800/342-4126; a division of Newell Rubbermaid), the poles are made in Thailand, with rubberwood finials.

Levolor 1 3/8" reeded poles made of ramin, still sold in The Home Depot.

Also often made of ramin and various other Southeast Asian rainforest hardwoods are the wooden slats in the ends of the roller shades made by Levolor.

FLAGPOLES Ramin flagpoles have been sold in The Home Depot since 1997 since the original report. These poles are still being sold. Marketed by Valley Forge Flag Company Inc. (1700 Conrad Weiser Parkway, Womelsdorf, PA 19567; valleyforgeflag.com), the poles are made in Indonesia. While the finials of the poles are rubberwood (hevea) from plantations, the poles are ramin.

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Ramin flagpoles for sale at The Home Depot

Ironically, these flagpoles are used to wave the American flag and are sold next to American flags, giving the impression they are made in America.

Western Red Cedar

In 1997, among many other western red cedar (WRC) products, The Home Depot was carrying garden fencing and other items for the garden made of WRC. The Home Depot still sells western red cedar picket garden fencing and garden borders.

Western red cedar picket garden fencing at The Home Depot.

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Lowe's At the Lowe's Hazlet store, most of the outdoor furniture is made from oak, plastic and iron. However, one line is of western red cedar, The "Great American Woodies" line made by Richey Industries (910 Lake Road, Medina, OH 44256, 800/888-7946). We have yet to ascertain the source of the WRC going into Richey Industries, however the company makes no claim of certification on the box or labeling. [call Richey]

Redwood

The Home Depot continues to sell planters and window boxes made of redwood, sold by Matthews Four Seasons. Matthews claims to be an "SFI Participating Manufacturer". While these planters appear to be made from second growth trees, there is no way to confirm this without independent certification. The fact that Matthews participates in SFI certification does not in any way enable the buyer to know that the wood comes from a well-managed operation.

Redwood Shallow Barrel Tub and Window Box (PRO-606HD; A331-639) for sale at The Home Depot.

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Two Steps Back ­ Home Depot and Lowe's New Endangered Forests

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Okoume

Doorskins At the Lowe's store in Hazlet, New Jersey, many of the hollow-core doors are now FSC certified. However, this may not be the step in the right direction that it first seems. The certification claim is that at least 70% of the volume of the wood in the door comes from certified sources. This leaves 30% to apparently be from any forest operation in the world, whether it is an egregiously unsustainable operation or whether the wood is from endangered forests. In this case, the certification number has been awarded by Scientific Certification Systems, a California-based company. But SCS has only certified the finished door. The face comes from an operator who has been certified by SGS Sylviconsult, a UK-based non-profit organization. SGS has certified that the material in the face is at least 70% from a certified operation. In this case, the skin is composed of Masonite with a face veneer of okoume. Okoume is logged from old growth and endangered rainforests of West Africa, particularly in Gabon and Cameroon.

FOLLOW UP WITH SGS ON OKOUME

It sets a dangerous precedent when a wood from endangered forests can end up in a `certified' product and calls into question the veracity of independent certification. There are a number of potential flaws in the certification process. This is one of them.

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Kapur

Wheelbarrow handles

Wheelbarrow handles made of kapur, a wood logged from the endangered forests of Malaysia, being sold in The Home Depot.

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Late in 1998, during the second "Dead Rainforest Tour", we observed wheelbarrow handles being sold in some stores that were made of a brick-colored tropical rainforest hardwood. These were clearly marked "Made In Malaysia". The wood has since been identified as kapur (____________). TrueTemper/Ames manufactures the kapur-handled wheelbarrows (and presumably imports the handles). Since they were first observed in 1997, they have become ubiquitous for all HD's and Lowe's wheelbarrows. Some of the handles are painted, presumably for a smoother surface but possibly to hide their origins, since the handles were highlighted in the original Stealing Home report.

Kempas, Merbau, Bandkirai

Flooring At the Lowe's Hazlet store, hardwood flooring made of kempas and other tropical forest woods is being sold. The company supplying the flooring is Bruce Hardwood Floors (Bruce Hardwood Flooring LLC), an Armstrong company (16803 Dallas Parkway, Addison TX 75001). In the Bruce catalog sheet available at the store, flooring from a number of woods logged from endangered forests is available, including kempas but also Merbau, mindi and bangkirai. By the way, the company has labeled hevea (rubberwood) as "plantation beech". This wood isn't at all related to beech but is from old rubber trees from plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. The demand for rubberwood -- at first a great thing, since it displaced demand for ramin -- may now, according to an article in the Malaysian Timber Council newsletter, be leading to increased planting of rubber plantations, one of the primary causes of rainforest destruction in the region. Kempas, [scientific name, conservation status] Merbau, [scientific name, conservation status] Bangkirai, [scientific name, conservation status]

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Merbau flooring blocks at The Home Depot

Also for sale at The Home Depot are flooring blocks and mouldings made of merbau, made in Spain; quarter round (233-863) and block (168-415).

Rosewood

Flooring The Home Depot The Home Depot now carries flooring made of solid rosewood sold by DBM.

Rosewood flooring (RW 3820) for sale at The Home Depor

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Teak

Flooring The Home Depot The Home Depot now carries flooring made of teak (Trafficmaster Champion Laminate Teak, 00204).

Teak flooring now available at The Home Depot

Shortly after the Home Depot and Lowe's announcements, Indonesia listed its population of ramin on Appendix III of CITES, with a zero export quota. With this action, Malaysia became the only country able to export ramin logged from the forests within the country. While this action was effective at reducing ramin exports, it also created the opportunity for a large ramin smuggling business in Malaysia. Ramin cut in Indonesia s smuggled into Malaysia and then exported as Malaysian. Currently, US Customs, with the help of Environmental Investigation Agency, is cracking down on some illegal ramin imports. Meanwhile, there is a renewed effort to get ramin listed on Appendix II of CITES this year.

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Appendix I

WOOD PURCHASING POLICY As the world's largest home improvement retailer and an industry leader on the environment, we have the ability to effect change by doing the right thing. To help protect endangered forests and to ensure that there will be timber for future generations, The Home Depot first issued its Wood Purchasing Policy in 1999. We pledged to give preference to wood that has come from forests managed in a responsible way and to eliminate wood purchases from endangered regions of the world by the end of 2002. Today there is limited scientific consensus on "endangered regions" of forestry. We have broadened our focus to understand the impact of our wood purchases in all regions and embrace the many social and economic issues that must be considered in recognizing "endangered regions" of forests. To fulfill the pledge, it was necessary to trace the origin of each and every wood product on our shelves. After years of research, we now know item by item -- from lumber to broom handles, doors to molding and paneling to plywood -- where our wood products are harvested. It has been a daunting task, but we are proud of our accomplishments. To further show the company's leadership commitment to the environment and to promote certification in the industry we felt compelled to share our findings. Building on the Journey We sell less than 1% of all the wood cut worldwide with 94% coming from North America. The forest land coverage in North America has grown by 1.5% over the past decade. Purchases from the rainforests have always been small and continue to decrease. In fact, less than 0.15% of our total wood comes from areas around the Brazilian Amazon Basin. In regions like these, we have partnered with environmental groups, governments and industry to educate and motivate the local communities to promote sustainable timber harvest. Our research taught us much about the world's forest coverage by country. This information came from many highly regarded organizations, including, but not

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limited to, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), USDA Service, the U.S. State Department, the Food and Agriculture Organization United Nations, the Global Forest and Trade Network, the Tropical Foundation, the Tropical Forest Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Fund. Environmental Seal of Approval

Forest of the Forest World

Wood is considered "certified" if it has been managed and harvested under strict guidelines and monitored by a third party to ensure sustainable practices are followed. In short, some certified timber can be tracked through its entire journey from stump to shelf. One of the certification standards is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent organization based in Bonn, Germany. We sell more FSC certified wood than any retailer in America and at the same time we have transitioned more vendors to FSC certified wood than any other retailer in America. We began to give preferential treatment to certified products in 1999. In addition, we have shifted buying wood from questionable sources to companies that practice responsible forestry. Implementing the policy meant making minor changes to our wood supply chain and rewarding companies that practice responsible forestry. In the spirit of the Wood Purchasing Policy, we have: · Stopped buying ramin dowels and shifted to FSC certified eucalyptus dowels · Replaced carpenter pencils with FSC certified pencils · Worked with our vendors to shift more than 80% of our lauan wood used in the production of doors to wood from more sustainable sources · Replaced mahogany levels with domestically engineered wood · Reduced our purchases of Indonesian lauan by more than 70%. The minimal amount of lauan purchases that remain in Indonesia are strategically placed with vendors that are aggressively pursuing certification, and have been engaged in third-party audits · Moved more than 90% of our cedar purchases to second- and third-growth forests in the United States. The remaining cedar purchases are sourced from coastal British Columbia and have been through the local community stakeholder review. In addition, our vendors are participating in the Joint Solutions Process negotiations · Significantly increased our FSC certified redwood. Our two primary suppliers of redwood both give a strong purchasing preference for FSC certified wood and we will continue to exercise a preference for certified redwood

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· Introduced a line of building materials manufactured from wheat straw, including shelving, panel products and underlayment; many of these products are used as substitutes for tropical hardwoods · Committed not to purchase uncertified wood products sourced from the 10 most vulnerable forest ecoregions as identified by the World Wildlife Fund in February 2001. These forest ecoregions include 1. Southern Pacific Islands forests 2. Naga-Manapuri-Chin Hills moist forests 3. Solomons-Vanuatu-Bismarck moist forests 4. Cameroon Highlands forests 5. Gulf of Guinea mangroves 6. Madagascar mangroves 7. Palawan moist forests 8. Philippines moist forests 9. Mexican dry forests 10. East African mangroves · Committed not to accept wood products made from the 40 suspect tree species listed by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre as potentially endangered species, unless the supplier provides the export permit. These species include: Afzelia bipindensis Amburana cearensis Aniba rosaeodora Aquilaria malaccensis Araucaria angustifolia Araucaria cunninghamii Aspidosperma polyneuron Baikiaea plurijuga Baillonella toxisperma Bertholletia excelsa Bombacopsis quinata Caesalpinia echinata Caryocar costaricense Cedrela fissilis Cedrela odorata Dalbergia cochinchinense Dalbergia davidii Dalbergia latifolia Dalbergis purpurascens

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Dialium cochinense Dyera costulata Erythrophleum fordii Eusidoroxylon zwageri Flindersia ifflaiana Guibourtia ehie Intsia bijuga Juglans neotropica Lovoa swynnertonni Microberlinia bisulcata Microberlinia brazzavillensis Milicia excelsa Nauclea diderrichii Neobalanocarpus heimii Pericopsis mooniana Pinus tecunumanii Pterocarpus angolensis Pterocarpus indidicus Santalum album Taxus wallichiana Vitex parviflora · Implemented many more positive changes Changes Made In Wood Products All or part of the following product lines have either been changed to a more sustainable wood species or have been certified: · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Blinds Boards Broom handles Cabinets Carpenter pencils Dimensional Lumber Doors Dowels Fencing Levels Molding Outdoor grills Paintbrushes Paint stirrers

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· · · · · · ·

Paneling Plywood Shelving Studs Tool handles Underlayment Yardsticks

Promoting sustainable forestry practices ensure that today's needs are met without compromising the forests for future generations. Wood Purchasing Policy 1. The Home Depot will give preference to the purchase of wood and wood products originating from certified well managed forests wherever feasible. 2. The Home Depot will eliminate the purchase of wood and wood products from endangered regions around the world. 3. The Home Depot will practice and promote the efficient and responsible use of wood and wood products. 4. The Home Depot will promote and support the development and use of alternative environmental products. 5. The Home Depot expects its vendors and their suppliers of wood and wood products to maintain compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to their operations and the products they manufacture.

http://www.homedepot.com/HDUS/EN_US/corporate/corp_respon/wood_purchasing_policy.shtml

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Appendix II

Lowe's Policy on the Wood Contained in its Products

The world's forests support the ecological and climate processes upon which biodiversity and human life depend. Lowe's is concerned about the protection of these critical resources and recognizes that, through the products we sell, our company can play an important role in determining whether these forests will remain for future generations. Lowe's long-term goal is to ensure that all wood products sold in our stores originate from well-managed, non-endangered forests. In order to meet this goal, Lowe's will: · Aggressively phase out the purchase of wood products from endangered forests as these areas are identified and mapped. This includes an immediate ban on wood coming from the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. · Work with vendors to encourage the maintenance of natural forests and environmentally responsible forest practices. · Give preference to the procurement of wood products from independently certified, well-managed forests. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is recognized as having the highest certification standards available today and will be given preference over other certification systems. · Work with our customers to increase the efficiency of wood use, including the promotion of wood reuse, recycling, and advanced framing techniques · Work with our suppliers to increase the procurement of quality recycled, engineered and alternative products, when their environmental benefits are clearly demonstrated, including alternative fiber and tree-free paper products used for printing and packaging In order to accomplish our goal, we will support the work of the World Resources Institute, the Certified Forest Products Council, and other organizations that help to improve forest management practices worldwide. We will also ask our suppliers to help us to increase the supply of certified wood products that we can make available to our customers. Notes: Maps that designate "endangered forests" have been created in various levels of detail by organizations such as the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Global Forest Watch Program. As these designations are further developed, Lowe's will work with its suppliers to change their supply areas.

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Endangered forests (or high conservation value forests) include intact (primary and old growth) forests. They also include the most nearly intact tracts of all threatened forests and forests of special importance to the conservation of global biodiversity, where little or no primary and old-growth vegetation occurs today. In rare circumstances, wood from endangered forests may be accepted if it is certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or equivalent system.

http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=pg&p=PressReleases/wood_policy.html

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