Sep 23, 2012

Activists Crash #Sustainable Forestry Initiative conference - “Wisconsin Doesn’t Want SFI’s Greenwash”

“Wisconsin Doesn’t Want SFI’s Greenwash”

By Adam Gaya, Forest Ethics

Banner Drop by Forest Ethics in Wisconsin

Every September, the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) holds an annual conference. Every year for the last three years, ForestEthics and local activists have been there to confront one of the most misleading greenwashing schemes in North America. 2012 was no different.

On Monday, activists in Milwaukee crashed the phony “eco-label’s” 2012 annual conference to tell participants that Wisconsinites don’t want greenwashing in their state. Their goal: deliver a letter from “Wisconsin Coalition Against Greenwashing,” signed by organizations including The John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club, Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the Center for Media and Democracy. The intended recipient: SFI Executive Director Kathy Abusow.

Immediately upon entering the downtown Hilton Hotel, the small team was spotted by SFI private security detail. Talking into their radios, several men followed the activists towards the conference rooms. Before they could reach the SFI registration tables, the team was surrounded by six burly men with no sense of humor. A stand-off ensued. The activists respectfully stated their intention of delivering the letter, but were told to leave. To accomplish their objective, the team gave the letter to the chief of security, stating, “Wisconsin Doesn’t Want SFI’s Greenwash.”

The SFI and its participant companies are no strangers to protest. Similar protests against the organization’s non-existent standards and lack of oversight disrupted their annual conferences in 2010 and 2011 respectively. And delegates to Greenbuild, North America’s largest green building conference, are used to seeing full-page ads and creative protests calling out SFI Greenwashing. But it was still surprising to see this purported transparent, non-profit “environmental” organization hire an extensive security detail to “protect” delegates from having to speak to local environmentalists.

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