RONA spars with Greenpeace over forestry issues
Following a report from environmental group Greenpeace condemning 35 major retailers — including RONA — for buying wood logged from upper Canada’s Boreal Forest, RONA issued a statement saying “sustainable development” has long been a priority of the Canadian home improvement retailer.
“The company has a responsible purchasing policy that applies to all of its products,” RONA said in a statement. “With respect to forest products, the company does not buy any product derived from endangered species and favors the purchase of products that bear Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) as well as ISO 14001 certifications.”
RONA said it has planned to release a “sustainable development plan” in October. The company also said it has been in talks with forest protection groups, including Greenpeace, while developing the plan.
Greenpeace named several other companies, including Toys”R”Us and Best Buy, as being customers of logging and pulp companies that the organization said contribute to “destructive logging” in Canada’s Boreal Forest. The forest is one of the largest intact forest ecosystems in the world.
The Greenpeace report also blames the government of Ontario for protecting less than 9 percent of the forest, and the government of Quebec for protecting less than 5 percent from industrial development.
RONA is one of Canada’s largest distributors and retailers of home improvement products, with 671 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores.
It seems like no one has a
It seems like no one has a sure idea of who's to blame for the logging problem. What I do know is that North America is no longer the powerhouse for home improvement products manufacturing that it use to be. Ontario needs to fix this issue in a timely matter so that North America does not fall further behind. www.sabineshome.com
Foreclosures surged 58 percent in the past six months
According to the real estate research firm RealtyTrac, the number of homes facing foreclosure rose 58 percent in the first six months of 2007 to 573,397 properties, compared with 363,672 properties in the same period last year.
California saw the highest number of foreclosure-related notices at 104,572 properties, more than 50 percent higher than one year ago and 80 percent higher than in the previous six months. Florida, Ohio and Texas followed with large double-digit increases in foreclosures.
In response to California’s growing foreclosure rate, a consumer group called the California Reinvestment Coalition has begun advocating for a moratorium on home foreclosures. The coalition is a group of nonprofit organizations that advocates on behalf of poor and minority residents.
Alan Fisher, executive director of the coalition, told the San Jose Mercury News that a six-month moratorium would give the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance committee time to figure out a way for people to keep their homes.
“The curve is really starting to go up. We’re seeing just the beginning of a problem,” Fisher told the newspaper.
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IKEA workers strike in B.C.
Workers at an IKEA store in Richmond, B.C., have gone on strike, following a failure by the Teamsters Local 213 and Swedish-based retailer to reach a five-year pay contract. Store manager Doug McCann opted to close the store while workers are picketing, according to news reports.
The Teamsters have asked the retailer to eliminate its two-tier wage schedule, which the Teamsters say gave the company the ability to charge lower wages to new employees. The company reportedly was willing to eliminate the two-tier system over six years. The company and Teamsters’ last three-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2006.
According to the Vancouver Sun, IKEA then offered a five-year deal that included raises of 2 percent in each of the first three years and 3 percent in the next two years. That deal was rejected in a 61 percent vote by workers.
The Teamsters also are requesting general improvements in wages and more full-time positions at the store.
None of IKEA’s 11 other stores in Canada are unionized.
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