Posted May 25, 2011

– By the end of 2011 all furniture, indoor and outdoor, and kitchen accessories released for sale in Coop will be manufactured with FSC or TFT certified wood. Moreover, by 2011, a significant proportion of notebooks sold in Coop will be FSC-certified and before 2012 all notebooks must be certified. Moreover, Coop’s objective is to use only recycled paper or FSC-paper in their offices and suppliers are invited to meet the same criteria in the selection of products. Indeed, in the coming years, Coop will gradually increase its paper-based products (such as handkerchiefs, toilet paper, stationery and school supplies) made from recycled paper or with a FSC certificate.

Saving the environment requires commitment. It is not something you can just do in your spare time. And Coop, of course, is dedicated to this commitment with its body and soul. Sometimes you may even have the impression that, besides its attempts to save the world, Coop is almost disgusted by selling sausages, hams and detergents, and that the distribution of food is an activity they do as the result of a kind of youthful error, the result of a wrong choice of the wrong job.

Then, if you look at the data revenue, you understand that, for Coop, selling products to people is not so disgusting.

Coop is the most important chain of supermarkets in Italy (12.9 billion euro in sales, 1,450 stores, over 100 cooperatives, 7.5 million members). And for Coop is extremely important to point out that it cooperates with Greenpeace, WWF and Legambiente. Would you bet that, given the figures of Coop, saving the environment together with the green enlightened people is a business that pays off? I will tell you, it does pay off.

And Coop, which has just launched the campaign “Friends of the Forest,” is also aware of that. Basically, the campaign consists in pushing the Italian consumers to buy goods (originally paper-based, but now even furniture) certified by FSC, in observance of environmental sustainability parameters. In particular, those who buy products certified by Coop should be sure they do not contribute to the deforestation of the planet and return home with the clear conscience of people who have done their duty of world citizens.

Not to spoil their faith, but things do not exactly work in these terms. With this campaign, Coop shows that the most important interests for them, rather than those of the environment, are the “dirty” commercial ones. Coop takes care of these interests through the protectionism against paper and wood products in developing countries, for which FSC, efficiently led by the politburo of WWF and Greenpeace, refuses the certification. FSC, in fact, is a system designed by and for producers and consumers living and working in developed countries. Of course, the expensive certification FSC is not widely adopted in developing countries: indeed, only 20% of the global certified forest products come from developing countries.

To use a metaphor, the FSC is a non declared cartel through which western “certified companies” obstruct market access of cheaper products from developing countries. It is a kind of revenge of the imperialist Western world, exerted on poor countries, on behalf of the environment. However, in fact, this effort actually harms the environment more than protecting it, because increasing poverty in countries which are already poor is contributing significantly to pollution and the destruction of forest area.

The FSC is also a source of growing concern in the world for its conflicts with the interests of its main sponsor, Greenpeace and WWF. The autonomy of the consortium, in the recent years, has been inversely proportional to the intensity of the linkages with the main groups of green activists.

WWF and Greenpeace lobby Western governments for the introduction of protectionist measures (as it was the case in the U.S.) to the detriment of developing countries, similar to a boycott of “non-aligned” Western products that are not covered by FSC.  Nowadays, this certification is the membership card of the “Circle of lovers of the Green “, and an administrative license to operate in the markets, after having paid the” protection money ” to loan sharks environmentalists, without being disturbed by them.

Coop understands very well this system, and takes advantage of it to make its profit. They do that without helping neither the forests, neither the fight against poverty (both in poor countries as in Italy, since Italian consumers pay a higher price for products which could be cheap).
Think about it, the next time you are told “The Coop, it’s you”. I would get angry.