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U.S. Company Leads Trend Toward Ecologically Certified Wood

World's Largest Window Company Acts to Save Chile's Endangered Forests and Indigenous Communities

14 March, 2003

San Francisco, CA- Andersen Corporation, the world's leading wood window manufacturer, announced today that it will no longer buy Chilean wood products unless they are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
U.S. environmental organization ForestEthics released Andersen's written declaration as part of an international campaign to protect Chile's endangered native forests and indigenous communities. The campaign-supported by Chile's leading ecology groups-directly links US consumption of wood products to the destruction of Chile's native forests. The U.S. is the largest purchaser of Chilean wood, and wood is the third largest sector of the Chilean economy.

"Andersen's decision sends a powerful message to Chile's government and wood products industry: U.S. companies will no longer participate in the destruction of Chile's native forests and native peoples," said Aaron Sanger, Director of the ForestEthics campaign. "When the leader of an industry changes, competitors follow right behind. Chile's wood industry must change its practices, and the government must change its policies, to continue doing business in the U.S."

Andersen was not the first large company to express its concern about Chilean wood products. Last year, Alexandria Moulding and Golden State Lumber both made public commitments to phase out of Chilean radiata pine products unless they were certified by the FSC.

Window manufacturers such as Andersen, and moulding manufacturers such as Alexandria, are among the leading consumers of Chilean radiata pine, a type of wood that is produced on tree farms that have taken the place of native forests in Chile. Based on government data, over the next 10-15 years more than 2.5 million acres of Chile's native forests are threatened with destruction to make way for tree farms.

Tree farms in Chile have caused chronic water shortages and chemical contamination among indigenous communities, where conflicts between wood products companies and the Mapuche-Chile's largest indigenous group-have been violent. Last year, a Mapuche youth died of gunshot wounds inflicted by police during a protest against the Chilean wood products company Mininco.

For more information, please visit www.forestethics.org.

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