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Stash Tea leaves SFI in green controversy

Portland-based Stash Tea is the most recent company to reject the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, from its label, joining 25 brands including AT&T and Allstate.

“ForestEthics congratulates Stash Tea for recognizing that the misleading SFI label is not good for forests, or Stash Tea’s brand,” says Jim Ace, senior campaigner at ForestEthics, a Canadian nonprofit devoted to environmental forest responsibility. “SFI is a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse, and that type of greenwash is not in line with Stash’s promise of environmental responsibility.”

SFI was created and is still funded by timber companies as a greenwashing technique with lower environmental standards, according to critics. They say SFI sets standards that aren’t beyond requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. SFI allows clear-cutting and herbicides, unlike The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which limits clear-cutting, restricts pesticides and is endorsed by Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, environmental nonprofits who both act within the U.S. and Canada.

“SFI misleads consumers and hurts forests and wildlife," says Brian Pasko, director of the Oregon Sierra Club. “We appreciate Stash Tea for rejecting the SFI program—and look forward to seeing Stash Tea boxes without the SFI logo.”

In 2009 and again in 2013, ForestEthics filed complaints against SFI with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, saying SFI doesn’t comply with FTC Green Guides guidelines. SFI says ForestEthics’ complaint is “based on a clear mischaracterization of SFI’s independence, structure and funding.” According to SFI, they approved 6,000 labels in 2012, and ForestEthics promotes “negative hype” about the 24 companies that have left the SFI label over two years.

ForestEthics says SFI is greenwashing, promoting products that are not excessively eco-friendly. SFI says their label is a “standard used widely across North America, and has strong acceptance in the global marketplace so we can deliver a steady supply of wood and paper products from legal and responsible sources.”

According to SFI, “ForestEthics never mentions in its campaigns that it receives money to promote FSC and receives money to undermine SFI.” SFI says they comply with Oregon laws and bring imports from other states up to Oregon standards. They have a page dedicated to defending their sustainability: www.sfiprogram.org/setting-the-record-straight/

For the full controversy, visit:

portlandtribune.com/sl/158971-pulp-fiction-

Julia Rogers can be reached at 503-546-5137 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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