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As You Sow Planting Seeds For Social Change

Home Depot

As You Sow led a group of socially responsible investors in asking Home Depot, the world's largest retailer of old-growth lumber, to consider phasing out sales of old growth wood.

A shareholder resolution initiative managed by As You Sow received the support of 11.8% of all shareholders (113 million shares) at the company's annual meeting in May 1999. We personally contacted 150 of the top institutional investors of Home Depot stock with the message that it was possible for the company to protect the world's dwindling endangered forest areas and to preserve its good name and long-term earnings at the same time.

This result was more than double the average support that such resolutions routinely receive at annual meetings of publicly traded companies. A coalition of environmental activists (including Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Forest Ethics and others) was also pressuring the company to phase out sales of old-growth wood.

Three months later Home Depot announced it would indeed phase out sales of wood products from endangered forest areas by the end of 2002.

As part of a new timber purchasing policy the company also agreed to:

  • Give preference to the sale of timber certified as well managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wherever possible.

  • Find and promote ways to use wood more efficiently.

  • Promote and support alternatives to wood products.

  • Ensure that timber suppliers are in compliance with existing laws and regulations

We support this comprehensive approach that seeks to make up for the loss of old-growth sales by promoting alternatives to virgin wood products and to find ways to use wood more efficiently.

The size and scope of this commitment by Home Depot demonstrates the potential of focused efforts by proponents of corporate social responsibility to help stimulate positive changes in policies and practices at publicly held companies.

Click here to learn about our current work on waste in consumer packaging>>



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