Weekly Environmental News Round-Up

Greetings, Readers! Time for our weekly roundup of news from our environmental grantees. This week focuses on forests; or more specifically - seeing the trees to save the forests.

Last week, ForestEthics was slapped with a 'cease and desist' from a firm representing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) - an industry 'eco-label' ForestEthics has worked to discredit. Despite being funded almost exclusively by industry and never having withdrawn certification from any participant, it claims it is an independent verification system. This hasn't stopped companies like Hewlett Packard, Office Depot, and AT&T from withdrawing their membership, and pledging to use only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. No wonder SFI is resorting to aggressive tactics. You can read more about ForestEthics response on their blog.

Speaking of certification, check out this piece in the Huffington Post featuring the Rainforest Alliance! It looks at the myriad benefits of shade-grown coffee - from environmental benefits to improved taste - and how the Rainforest Alliance (RA) is working with farmers to increase the practice. It also details how the Alliance actively works with farmers to improve not only their farming techniques, but their quality of life, from wages to education. Since 2011, the Rainforest Alliance has seen a 45% increase in RA-certified coffee - and now represents 4.7% of the world's coffee production.

Still, all is not well in the world of coffee. Willy Foote, founder and CEO of Root Capital, recently blogged about the devastating impacts that coffee rust is having on both farmers and production, highlighting again the vulnerability on mono-crop economies.