Hopefully, everyone has already heard the good news: Wal-Mart has informed their suppliers that they will no longer accept cypress mulch harvested, bagged, or manufactured in the state of
Wal-Mart’s move is a great first step for securing the Gulf’s endangered cypress forests, but we’ve still got a hike ahead of us. First of all, Wal-Mart is only one of three major companies who are driving cypress destruction, and even Wal-Mart’s laudable action only covers a portion of the cypress forests that are being destroyed to make mulch. Second, Wal-Mart still can’t really be certain they’re not getting any mulch from
No longer selling cypress mulch from
Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart need to stop selling unsustainable cypress mulch, no matter where the logging occurs.
Wal-Mart’s move comes on the heels of actions by Home Depot and Lowe’s that recognize the concerns regarding cypress sustainability in
The biggest issue with these efforts by the retailers to limit logging activity in coastal
Before we began a public campaign on this issue, the Save Our Cypress Coalition presented evidence of the problems with cypress mulch to all three companies. Last September (2006), Home Depot and Lowe’s told us that they had assurances from their suppliers that no cypress mulch was coming from coastal
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The Save Our Cypress Coalition has seen what “trust us” really means. If any of these companies want to continue selling cypress mulch, it needs to be verified as sustainable by an independent, third-party certification system that enforces standards of sustainability that are based on sound science and forest management techniques.
Very much to their credit, Wal-Mart recognized the difficulty in verifying the true source of their products because there is no independent, third-party certification program, and they specifically referenced this fact when explaining their decision to discontinue mulch from the whole state. Granted, Wal-Mart will still have trouble being completely sure they’re not getting anything from
We hope that Home Depot and Lowe’s follow Wal-Mart’s lead, or better yet, we’d like to see them one-up their competitor. The bar will truly be set at the right place when one of the retailers decides to drop the product completely until the third-party certification system is established.
The Save Our Cypress Coalition will continue to pressure Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to stop selling unsustainable cypress mulch, no matter where it is logged.
All this being said, Wal-Mart’s decision to no longer sell cypress mulch from
The Gulf Restoration Network would like to thank many others who made this happen. First of all, thanks to all the scientists who participated in the Governor’s Science Working Group Report, especially Gary Shaffer, Jim Chambers, and Paul Kemp for getting it all together. We also appreciate the hours of intense negotiation and frustration by those advocating conservation on the Advisory Panel to the Governor on Coastal Wetland Forest Conservation and Use, namely Carleton Dufrechou of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Doug Daigle, Mark Ford from the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, and our very own Cyn Sarthou, Executive Director of the GRN.
Thanks to Councilwoman Shelly Midura for pushing a resolution in
The Waterkeeper Alliance placed two full-page ads in major national newspapers (NYTimes and USAToday), and Bobby Kennedy held a great press conference on the issue in
Thanks to all of the organizations and businesses (scroll down on this page to see the list) who have joined the Save Our Cypress Coalition, changed their landscaping habits, and have helped spread the word.
Experienced corporate campaigners at ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, and Dogwood Alliance have provided support and advice. Our work is built upon the foundation these groups have created. For example, Lowe's and Home Depot's corporate polices on wood sourcing and sustainability are very much thanks to them. Thanks for everything y'all do for the forests.
Our friends at Rock the Earth have been informing concert-goers all over the country about the dangers of cypress mulch, and they’ve gotten hundreds of postcards signed. What a great way to spread the word!
Thanks to Kristen, Tara, Paul, Janelle, and
John and Andy at Agit-Pop Communications made the amazing Corporate Low-Down Depot Mart cartoon that was wonderfully narrated by the one and only Harry Shearer. Now, we’re working on making a TV-friendly version to get on the air, which is going to be amazing. Thanks guys! If you’d like to help run the ad (it’s going to cost about $5,000), please contribute here.
None of this could be possible without the hard work of Barry Kohl of the Louisiana Audubon Council and Dean Wilson of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper who have been tireless in documenting the devastating effects of cypress mulch on our treasured wetlands.
Finally, thank you. Thanks to all of you who stopped using cypress mulch, sent emails to Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s, made calls to the CEO’s, joined in protests, delivered letters, distributed the Corporate Low-Down Depot Mart cartoon, donated money to these efforts, and care about the future of the Gulf.
Mark a win for the cypress.
Dan Favre is the Campaign Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network.