Home Depot sells endangered Rainforest
and old-growth wood!
Home Depot has become the largest "lumber yard" in the United States, controlling over 30% of
the home improvement market, with annual sales of over $24 billion. It has expanded from
North America into Chile and Brazil. As a powerful leader in its industry, Home Depot should be
setting the standard for responsible business practices.
Home Depot is one of the largest single retailers of old growth rainforest wood and wood
products on Earth. With over 700 stores selling products from endangered forests, Home Depot
is also a major force in the destruction of the world's last old growth forests.
In 1992, in an effort to preserve its image, Home Depot pledged to phase out all unsustainably
harvested wood products ("We have aggressively pursued and are continuing to pursue
alternatives to rainforest and other endangered wood." Home Depot, 1992). Seven years later,
Home Depot continues to sell lumber and other products made from old growth and
Home Depot does not own logging operations, but it fuels the destruction of ancient forests by
selling products made from old growth wood. Not all Rainforests are in the Amazon—they
are also found in Alaska and Canada. In British Columbia, where Home Depot buys lumber,
only 68 out of an original 353 watersheds have escaped industrial logging, and nearly all of the
remaining 68 valleys is slated to be logged within the next ten years. One acre of forest in
British Columbia is clear-cut every 66 seconds.
In the Amazon, where Home Depot buys mahogany, an area of rainforest the size of Washington
State is destroyed each year. In Southeast Asia, where Home Depot buys lauan and ramin, the
demand for wood is so high that at current logging rates all of the region's old growth forests will
be destroyed by 2010.
Home Depot has evaded the issue by bragging about its sales of wood which is environmentally
certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Home Depot has not been environmentally
certified as a company, and the small volume of certified timber that they sell is dwarfed by their
sales of old growth wood and old growth wood products. Since Home Depot made its original
promise to change its practices:
32 watersheds in British Columbia's Rainforest were clear-cut,
the Amazon lost over 20 million acres of rainforest,
Southeast Asia lost nearly 2 million acres of rainforest.
About 40% of U.S. 2x4s and plywood come from Canada rainforests. 98% of logging in British
Columbia is clear-cutting of old growth forests.
Home Depot should be encouraged to expand its certified wood program, but selling
token amounts of certified wood while continuing to destroy old growth forests around
the world is unacceptable.
Rainforest logging has resulted in the deaths of thousands of native people, and the losses of
countless known medicines. Tropical rainforest hardwoods are imported into the U.S. as
plywood, veneers or paneling or lumber, or as finished items such as furniture, doors, mouldings,
picture frames and flooring. Temperate rainforests are being logged for interior paneling, toilet
seats, exterior siding, two-by-fours, plywood and hot tubs.
What Types of Rainforest Wood Does Home Depot Sell?
Lauan, a hardwood. Lauan trees are nearly extinct in the Phillipines. Most tropical plywood now
comes from the shrinking (and burning) rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. Plywood makes
up 80% of U.S. tropical hardwood imports.
Home Depot sells lauan plywood, interior hollow-core doors, lauan-faced softwood
plywood sheets, paneling, as handles on wheelbarrows (True Temper) and pre-hung front
Mahogany. The majority of mahogany on the market today is taken illegally from rainforests in
Brazil and Bolivia. The U.S. is the world's leading importer of mahogany. The Brazilian
Intelligence Agency has reported that 80% of logging in Brazil is illegal. In Brazilian rainforests,
mahogany is officially endangered. True American mahogany is commercially extinct from its
native areas in the Caribbean.
Home Depot sells pre-hung doors made from South American (bigleaf) mahogany.
Ramin. A hardwood native to swamp rainforests of the island of Borneo (Malaysia and
Indonesia). These forests have been clear-cut by loggers since the early 1980s and are nearing
extinction. Even though ramin is considered endangered, it is used extensively for furniture,
dowel, tool handles, and other small items like drying racks.
Home Depot sells ramin as dowels and as handles for tools manufactured in Southeast
Asia (usually Thailand or Taiwan). The handles in the Wall Covering Kit, the Barrel
Seam Roller and the Smoother Brush, all from Padco (Thailand) are ramin.
Redwood. Attaining a height of 280 feet, Redwoods have been logged to near oblivion in their
entire range. Only 3% of the original old-growth redwoods remain.
Home Depot sells redwood dimensional lumber as 2x4s and planking in a variety of
Douglas Fir. Old growth firs are still logged in the U.S. and Canada.
Home Depot sells Douglas Fir with observed old growth grain as exterior doors (Morgan
Northwoods Door) and 2x4s.
Our Environmental Claims Program helps consumers make a
smart choice. The Home Depot believes in empowering
customers to make product choices that benefit the environment.
This involves helping our customers avoid the confusion caused
by claims that are inaccurate, inconsistent or misleading by
guiding our vendors in the responsible use of environmental
marketing claims. We require any vendor making environmental
claims to work with Scientific Certification Systems, a neutral
scientific organization that reviews and certifies environmental
claims of achievement.
Before you Renovate, Investigate! Through a partnership with
the Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Home
Depot has launched a program for consumers about the proper
ways to renovate homes that may contain lead-based paint. For
more information on lead issues, call 1-800-424-LEAD.
Since 1990, The Home Depot's Environmental Greenprint Series
has guided consumers through simple choices they can make in
their homes from energy efficiency to indoor air quality. Our
sponsorship of Canada's Powersmart Program promotes efficient
energy use in homes.
Since 1995, The Home Depot has granted almost $2,000,000 to
support the important work of non-profits around the globe to
further environmental research and education. We focus our
efforts on forestry, green building and recycling. Examples
include seed money for the Forest Products Buyers Group,
creation of continuing education for home builders on sustainable
building and sponsorship of America Recycles Day each year.
We also mobilize our employee volunteers through our Team
Depot program and volunteer for conservation programs,
beautification efforts and clean up initiatives in local
As a home improvement retailer, we have worked diligently to
educate ourselves and our suppliers about forestry issues. In
fact, The Home Depot was the first home improvement retailer
to pioneer the U.S. market for wood products certified under the
principles of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and we are
seeing this market grow.
We are members of the FSC and helped lay the foundations for
the Certified Forest Products Council, an organization that
facilitates the increased purchase, use and sale of third-party,
independent, certified forest products. Over the last six years,
we have introduced new FSC certified products and other
alternatives to our customers. Examples include: Royal
Mahogany Doors from a certified forest in Costa Rica.
Premwood Doors which created an alternative to lauan interior
doors. FSC certified dimensional lumber from one of our largest
Canadian suppliers. Flooring underlayment made from recycled
newspapers and gypsum sold as replacement to lauan flooring
underlayment. We look forward to offering more in the future!
The Home Depot Environmental Principles
We are committed to improving the environment by selling
products that are manufactured, packaged and labeled in a
responsible manner, that takes the environment into
consideration, and that provide greater value to our
We will support efforts to provide accurate, informative
product labeling of environmental claims and impacts.
We will strive to eliminate unnecessary packaging.
We will recycle and encourage the use of materials and
products with recycled content.
We will conserve natural resources by using energy and
water wisely and seek further opportunities to improve the
resource efficiency of our stores.
We will comply with all environmental laws and will maintain
programs and procedures to ensure compliance.
We are committed to minimizing environmental health and
safety risk for our employees and our customers.
We will train our employees to enhance understanding of
environmental issues and policies and to promote excellence
in job performance and all environmental matters.
We will encourage our customers to become environmentally
The Home Depot: Environmental Information
After the decision to have children, the choices we make about
our homes have the second largest impact on the planet. From
the basic materials with which we decide to create our shelter, to
the energy resources we use for heating and cooling, and the
home improvement products we select to maintain and enhance
our lifestyles, the home has a powerful effect on the
Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to choose products
for our homes that minimize environmental burdens. We can
make a difference.
The Home Depot is continually working to bring you more
environmental product alternatives and information to help you
confidently make these choices. However, you don't have to
search far and wide for so-called "green" products.
Opportunities to choose products with positive environmental
features and benefits are all around us. As your "environmental
store", we'll teach you how!
HD promises to provide
its customers with
information. But when
they conveniently fail,
they threaten arrest
against protesters who try
to provide other
customers with this same
HD brags about its work in
forestry and conservation,
despite financing MASSIVE
plundering of rainforests
and old growth stands in
Canada, South America,
Indonesia, and elsewhere.
HD sells some certified
wood, but is not certified as
a company. HD's policy is to
publicize wood that
qualifies, and to keep quiet
about its wood that is
This means that they brag
when they're doing right,
but keep silent when
they're wrong instead of
educating you, the
consumer, about the
product you're buying.
"Your environmental store"
did everything it could to
silence critics who point out
practices. What does that
HD management followed
customers with trash cans to
collect literature that would
have permitted those
customers to understand the
environmental impacts of
their purchasing decisions.
At HD protests in OKC, it was
employees, not customers,
who jeered and mocked.
The government of Brazil
admits that 80% of its
mahogany is felled illegally,
and half is imported to the
...Why did HD sell plywood
made of Redwoods? Or
luan, or ramin?
...Why have some managers
threatened arrest against
consumers who try to help
fulfill this goal by distributing
When HD sells wood from
rainforests and endangers
forests, they refuse to
label it as such.
HOME DEPOT'S ENVIRONMENTAL PROMISES
(IN THEIR OWN WORDS!)