Everyday products like coffee and palm oil originate in tropical regions, and their production has an impact on the forests. Some of these goods can be sustainably produced, and others should be avoided altogether. As Californians and sustainable consumers, we should make an effort to learn where our foods and goods come from, and whether they were produced in a way that benefitted the rainforest, or, at a minimum, did not harm the forest.
The United States, through amendments to the Lacey Act, made it a crime to import illegally harvested timber from other countries, a move that fundamentally changed the global timber trade. However a portion of the wood coming into the US still comes from illicit sources, damaging ecosystems and harming local livelihoods in forested countries. US companies such as Lumber Liquidators and Gibson Guitars have come under scrutiny for their use of illegally sourced wood in their products. Companies should implement programs for ensuring the wood they can be traced back to responsible sources.
Discover programs for supporting responsible companies and products:
California’s Buying Green Program
California’s program for sustainable purchasing, which offers a set of standards for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing by state agencies and institutions.
Consumer Goods Forum
A consortium of 400 companies dedicated to helping achieve zero next global deforestation by the year 2020.
The Sustainability Consortium
A collaboration of NGOs, governments, universities and companies working to build the science behind smart purchasing decisions.
Rainforest Alliance’s Guide to Sustainable Goods
An online database products certified by the Rainforest Alliance for environmental, social, and economic sustainability.