Scorecard Reveals Environmental Santas and Scrooges

Catalogers are making strides toward greater environmental responsibility, but the industry’s progress is not enough for ForestEthics. The nonprofit environmental group on Nov. 28 released its 2007 Catalog Industry Environmental Scorecard, which hammered mailers such as School Specialty, Sharper Image, and Spiegel with lumps of coal for their less-than-green paper policies.

ForestEthics evaluated 21 catalogers according to four criteria: whether endangered forests are cut to produce the company’s catalogs; whether the company uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper; the amount of post-consumer recycled content in the merchant’s catalogs; and the extent of the company’s efforts to reduce overall paper consumption.

The “nice” list includes Victoria’s Secret, which “has been an angel and is setting a great example with its environmental leadership,” according to the Scorecard copy, and Dell, whose “model paper policy is one of the best in the industry.” Among the companies on the list ForestEthics is checking twice, PC Mall “has reduced paper use, but still doesn’t have a paper policy so it gets a fruitcake for the holidays.”

The “naughty” list includes Lands’ End, whose catalogs “come from an endangered caribou habitat,” the Scorecard notes. “ If the reindeer lose their homes, who will pull Santa’s sleigh?” But the group saved its harshest words for Lands’ End parent company Sears: “Sears just released its holiday Wish Book. We wish Sears would stop destroying endangered forests.”

ForestEthics, which in September announced that Sears/Lands’ End was its next target, is turning up the heat on the catalog/retail giant. The group on Nov. 19 disrupted Sears’ holiday celebration of its Wish Book catalog in New York’s Times Square to unveil its own Sears “Wish Crook cutalog.” The “Wish Crook,” according to a ForestEthics release, “unlike its deceptive cousin the Wish Book, highlights Sears’ remorseless destruction of Endangered Forests and threatened caribou habitat, as well as its contribution to global warming.”

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