Kudos to ForestEthics for their work exposing the greenwash in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative's unsustainably harvested lumber.
For forest products to be truly sustainable, they should be certified by standards that reflect the best available science regarding how to reduce logging's impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. For example, the certification standards should minimize the size of clear-cuts, provide adequate buffers of unlogged habitat alongside streams, and avoid logging on steep slopes above streams.
SFI has always fallen far short of it's much greener counterpart, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), when it comes to these types of metrics.
For example, check out this compilation of reports comparing the two sets of standards. I always liked how plainly this UC Berkeley PowerPoint comparison conveyed their differences (I'd love to see an updated version of it).
Still, SFI is working hard to break into the green building marketplace.
The swirl of green claims can get confusing to businesses who are working hard to do well by doing good, but don't necessarily have the environmental background, themselves, to know how to separate the green from the greenwash.
I'm glad that organizations like ForestEthics are doing what they are doing to help ensure accountability in the green forest products and building marketplace.
Read the NY Times coverage of the battle between SFI and FSC>>