Dogwood Alliance mobilizes diverse voices to defend the unique forests and communities of the Southern US from destructive industrial forestry. In 1996, grassroots activists founded Dogwood Alliance in response to the devastating impacts that a major expansion of the US paper industry was having on Southern forests. As a direct result of Dogwood’s grassroots efforts, in 2000, federal agencies conducted the first-ever comprehensive analysis of forest sustainability in the South, which documented that the South is the largest paper-producing region in the world and confirmed the broad-scale ecological impacts of paper production on the region’s forests. Despite these findings, government, both at the federal and state level, failed to develop policies to protect the region’s forests. Determined to make a difference, Dogwood Alliance turned to the root of the problem – the consumption and production of paper – and, in 2000, initiated a strategy to green the US paper market.
Since then, through a combination of grassroots pressure, negotiation and strategic collaboration, we have transformed the practices of some of the largest consumers of paper in the world including Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, FedEx Office, United Stationers, Unisource, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Universal Music Group, Sony Home Entertainment, and, most recently, McDonald’s and KFC/YUM!Brands. We have convinced three of the top five paper producers (Domtar, Georgia-Pacific and Resolute) in the world’s largest paper producing region to change the way they do business in the woods, increasing protection for over 90 million acres of Southern forests. In 2007, working in partnership with Staples, we initiated the Carbon Canopy Project, an innovative collaborative of large consumers and producers of paper, forest landowners and conservation organizations working to expand forest conservation and FSC certification on private forestlands in the Southern US. In 2009, our work began to expand beyond addressing the impacts of paper production to address a new potential major threat — the burning of wood to produce energy as a replacement to fossil fuels.
Though Dogwood Alliance’s mission is focused on protecting forests of the South, our work transforming the practices of major US corporations also helps improve forest conservation across the nation and around the world. Along with the efforts of other allied organizations, our work has helped double the acreage of forests in North America certified as meeting the rigorous environmental standards of FSC certified lands in North America.
A list of some of the milestones throughout our organization’s history:
- 1996 — Dogwood Alliance created by Heartwood at a gathering of a regional network of organizations and activists, led by co-founders Cielo Sand and Denny Haldeman
- 1997-2000 — Dogwood wins a number of victories as towns across the South deny chip mill permits or create stricter permitting requirements.
- 1999 — Dogwood Alliance becomes an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit and adopts its signature market campaign strategy.
- 2000 — Dogwood Alliance moves headquarters to Asheville, North Carolina, and launches its first office supply sector campaign.
- 2002 —Dogwood Alliance and Staples, the world’s largest office supply superstore, announce the company’s new environmental paper procurement policy.
- 2004 — Office Depot announces a new environmental policy that matches Staples’ commitment.
- 2005 — Dogwood Alliance secures a commitment from AbitibiBowater, Inc., the country’s largest newspaper manufacturer, to cease converting hardwood forests to pine plantations.
- 2005 — Dogwood and partners form the Stop Genetically Engineered Trees coalition to prevent the introduction of non-native and invasive species into Southern forests.
- 2006 — OfficeMax and two other leading office supply retailers join Staples in the commitment to source and sell more sustainably produced paper products.
- 2007 — Dogwood Alliance expands its markets focus to packaging, include leading companies in the music and cosmetics industries.
- 2008 — Dogwood Alliance helps to create The Carbon Canopy.
- 2010 — Dogwood Alliance launches a new campaign targeted at the fast food industry.
- 2010 — Dogwood Alliance joins other partners in filing a lawsuit to stop the release of GE trees in the South.
- 2012 — Dogwood Alliance secures sustainable packaging policy from KFC/YUM! Brands.