Advocacy Group Launches Campaign to Stop Home Depot From Destroying Tropical Rainforests

[Atlanta, GA – May 16, 2022] In the runup to Home Depot’s May 19 shareholder meeting, the advocacy group Friends of the Chocó launches a campaign. The campaign goal is to highlight the company’s practice of carrying Sandeply plywood. It’s a Home Depot exclusive that comes from Ecuadorian manufacturer Endesa-Botrosa. The plywood is deforesting primary tropical rainforests in western Ecuador’s Chocó region. Just 3% of western Ecuador’s original forest remains intact.

The campaign includes a new film documenting the devastating impacts of Endesa-Botrosa’s old-growth logging operations. Extracting plywood-veneer wood in the Chocó, a full-page ad in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, mobile billboards in and around Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters that read “Learn how The Home Depot is destroying the rainforest,” and a detailed report about the impacts of Sandeply on the Chocó to Home Depot corporate leaders, board members, and investors.  The film and other documents can be viewed on www.homedepot-deforestation.org.

Plywood that Destroys Rainforests

“Destroying the rainforest to make plywood is like burning the Mona Lisa to cook your lunch,” says Friends of the Chocó founder Brian Rodgers in the opening sequence of the film. Moreover, Rodgers first discovered the Chocó rainforest was being logged to make veneer plywood for Home Depot on a birding trip in 2018. Therefore, he immediately alerted Home Depot to the problem and has since documented ongoing deforestation there. However, Home Depot continues to carry Sandeply.

“By selling Sandeply, Home Depot’s sourcing practice drives deforestation of one of the world’s most biodiverse rainforests, generating carbon emissions, decimating endangered wildlife habitat, and destroying the Indigenous Chachi community’s forest home,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution ad says. “Rodgers brought this to the attention of Home Depot’s CEO Craig Menear and VP of Sustainability Ron Jarvis four years ago. Since then, apparently, nothing has changed. Moreover, the deforestation is still underway, and you’ll still find Sandeply on Home Depot’s shelves.”

“Knowingly allowing deforestation into Home Depot’s supply chain isn’t just wrong or contrary to the goals of its sustainable sourcing policies; it’s strategic malpractice,” says the Friends of the Chocó report to Home Depot’s leaders. “Sourc[ing] Sandeply from Endesa-Botrosa…puts the company at high reputational and compliance risk.  It also puts it at a competitive disadvantage, since Lowe’s sourcing policies are more comprehensive and rules out deforesting areas like the Chocó, while Home Depot’s policies do not.”

The Report

The report urges Home Depot to stop carrying Sandeply and end its supply relationship with Endesa-Botrosa. However, if that is not possible, it calls for souring sustainable 100% plantation-grown alternatives.  Moreover. it calls on Home Depot to improve its sustainability policies and supply chain management. In addition, the goal is for Home Depot to no longer carry products that destroy primary tropical rainforests.

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