This is not making headline news, but it should be. The National Wildlife Federation announced this week that it accept the sponsorship of Scotts Miracle Grow company, the worlds largest producer of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The NWF is an organization tasked with he responsibility of protect our wildlife and the environment they live in from companies like Scotts. I emailed the NWF when I heard of their bonehead decision and this is the response that I received.
Dear Mr. Emert,
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the announcement of National Wildlife Federation’s relationship with Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company.
Our leadership team spent more than a year deliberating on this partnership and participating in dozens of meetings with Scott’s representatives, we became confident that it would be a productive relationship for wildlife, habitat gardening, and environmental education for a number of reasons, including:
· Common Ground. Scotts is just as committed as the National Wildlife Federation to getting families outdoors and reversing the alarming decline in songbird populations. We don't see eye-to-eye on every issue, but we can agree to collaborate on these important objectives by encouraging outdoor play and backyard birding.
· Track Record. We've worked with Scotts since 2009 on successful programs to combat global warming and restore habitat following the Gulf oil disaster. Those accomplishments provide a foundation of trust for future joint activities.
· Demonstrated Progress. We aren't interested in green washing and neither is Scotts. So we took a close look at Scotts' business practices and found a company making strides to develop alternatives to harmful chemicals and investing in cleaner, more organically based products.
· Commitment to Sustainability. We will work with Scotts directly to advance important sustainability and conservation issues and promote ways to help reduce the impact of lawn and garden products on wildlife and wild places such as ponds, lakes, and streams.
· New Audiences. Scotts is one of America's largest lawn-care and birdseed companies with more than 30 million households across the United States. This partnership expands our reach significantly allowing us to educate and influence millions of new potential conservationists.
The worst part about the response it that it came on a day when Scotts pleaded guilty in federal court to knowingly selling birdseed tainted with pesticides that are toxic to birds and wildlife. Here is an excerpt from The Columbus Dispatch article published today. (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2012/01/27/scotts-to-pay-4-5m-in-fines.html)
Court documents state that, from November 2005 to March 2008, Scotts distributed 73 million units of birdseed coated with insecticides called Storcide II and Actellic 5E. This was done to keep insects from eating the seeds during storage.
Storcide’s label says the pesticide is “extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Documents state that Scotts continued to sell the products despite warnings in the summer and fall of 2007 from a pesticide chemist and an ornithologist, both of whom worked for the company.
In my opinion, sponsoring the NWF was clearly an attempt by Scotts to draw attention away from the pending guilty plea. I don't see a "foundation of trust" when a company knowingly poisons wildlife and then falsifies the documents. I don't see "demonstrated progress." The only reason Scotts is taking the time to develop any new products is because they are afraid of loosing market share to companies producing natural alternatives. I see no "Commitment to Sustainability." As long as Scotts is still selling poison like Weed and Feed it proves that they are only committed to the bottom line. And the "new audiences" just shrunk by the thousands, as people committed to the environment are pulling their support of the NWF.
I hope that I am wrong, and that the NWF can help Scotts change. But in order to solve a problem you must first admit that there is a problem and I don't think that Scotts will ever do that.
Please watch what you purchase. Do not purchase bird seed or other products from Scotts (Songbird Selections). Other brands owned by Scotts that produce bird seed include Country Pride, Morning Song. Other Scotts brands that produce mulch and potting soil include Hyponex, Earthgro, Black magic, and Bovung.
Please contact the NWF and let your opinion be known. Let them know that there are people that are concerned about their decisions and how they will effect our future. Make them think about what they are doing and let them know that we care about the future of our environment.