Wal-Mart to Stop Selling Cypress Mulch From Louisiana

 

For immediate release: Contact:
September 5, 2007

Dan Favre, 504-525-1528 ext. 209 or 401-965-7908
Dean Wilson, 225-692-4114

 

Wal-Mart to Stop Selling Cypress Mulch From Louisiana
Important Step Towards Preserving Endangered Cypress Swamps


New Orleans, LA- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has informed its suppliers that, effective January 1, 2008, the
company will no longer buy and sell cypress mulch that is harvested, bagged, or manufactured in the state
of Louisiana. The Save Our Cypress Coalition, a group of environmental organizations, has been publicly
pressuring the major retailers Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to stop selling cypress mulch since
November 2006.


“It’s a tremendous step that Wal-Mart has recognized that cypress sustainability is a serious concern.”
said Mark Ford, Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, “The Save Our Cypress
Coalition sincerely thanks Wal-Mart for the action they’ve taken in Louisiana, and we will continue to
work to completely end the sale of unsustainable cypress mulch.”
The decision comes on the heels of another recent action by a home retailer that acknowledges the
concerns of the Save Our Cypress coalition, while failing to implement practical solutions to address
those concerns. Lowe’s has stated it has implemented a moratorium on mulch from cypress harvested
south of I-10/I-12 in Louisiana, excluding the Pearl River Basin. But there is no enforceable mechanism
for ensuring that the moratorium is actually being upheld by suppliers. Home Depot and Lowe’s have
claimed in the past that their suppliers do not source from coastal Louisiana, but the Atchafalaya
Basinkeeper has gathered evidence proving this assertion to be false. The evidence is available at
www.saveourcypress.org.


“Suppliers of cypress mulch have proven willing to hide the source of their product in the past,” said
Dean Wilson, from the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. “Wal-Mart recognizes the difficulties with verification
and is acting accordingly by identifying the whole state as an unacceptable source.”
A new interactive cypress map, at www.lmrk.org/cypressmap.html, demonstrates chain-of-custody
concerns through documented examples of clear-cutting and cypress mulch production in Louisiana. As
the map information shows, many of the brands of mulch produced in Louisiana are already labeled with
addresses in Florida, Texas, and Arkansas.


“We’re happy to hear that some cypress forests will be saved from the mulch machine, but how can Wal-
Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s ignore Florida’s wetlands?” asked Joe Murphy, Florida Programs
Coordinator for the Gulf Restoration Network. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension,
cypress trees in Florida are being cut out of the wetlands at a rate faster than they can regenerate, and
almost half of the cypress cut is used for mulch.


The Save Our Cypress Coalition continues to call on Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to stop selling
cypress mulch that is not certified as sustainable, no matter where the logging occurs. While cautiously
celebrating Wal-Mart’s move in Louisiana, the coalition submitted formal letters signed by over 160
organizations, from across the US and around the world, to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s asking
the companies to stop selling cypress mulch. Supporters include conservation groups, garden clubs,
anglers, eco-tourism operators, and members of the faith-based community.


Cypress forests are heralded by scientists to be some of the Gulf’s best natural storm and flooding
protection. The swamps also support a wide array of wildlife including fish and crustaceans, migratory
birds, and threatened and endangered species like the bald eagle and Florida panther. The swamps are of
national importance to protect the economy, the unique environment of the Gulf Coast, and people.

#####
The Save Our Cypress Coalition is comprised of organizations and businesses that are dedicated to
preserving cypress ecosystems and the ecological benefits, flood protection, and economic opportunities
they provide. Leaders of the efforts in Louisiana include the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Coalition to
Restore Coastal Louisiana, Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Lake
Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Louisiana Audubon Council, Louisiana Environment Action Network,
and the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. For more information please visit, www.saveourcypress.org.

pdf wal-mart to stop selling cypress mulch from louisiana