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Todd Paglia
When Todd Paglia joined ForestEthics in 1999, he had a vision of transforming the environmental impact of something so ubiquitous that it’s often forgotten – paper. He saw that major corporations in the office supply and catalog industries were purchasing and selling millions of tons of paper—with no accountability for, or even knowledge of, the environmental devastation caused by that paper.

As executive director of ForestEthics, Mr. Paglia can be credited with transforming the paper policies of multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 companies, including Staples, Office Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Dell, Victoria’s Secret, and many more. In terms of forest protection, the results have been inspiring. Under Mr. Paglia’s leadership, ForestEthics has saved more than 65 million acres of endangered forests. In addition, recycled pulp mills are operating at record-high capacity—and independent analysis has attributed the change directly to demand from companies that ForestEthics has transformed. 

Mr. Paglia’s work at ForestEthics has been recognized with his selection to the annual “Hot 20 Under 40” list published by 7x7 Magazine, San Francisco’s glamour and culture publication. Mr. Paglia was the only environmental leader selected, as the article noted, because “few activists have succeeded in the practical business of hitting earth abusers where it really hurts—their wallets.” Mr. Paglia was also chosen as one of Ethisphere magazine’s one hundred most influential people in business ethics.

Mr. Paglia has challenged some of the largest companies in the world to become environmental leaders on the Today Show, NPR’s Marketplace as well in stories in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Business Week, and many other publications. In March 2007, Mr. Paglia was a featured speaker at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, the nation’s oldest and largest public affairs forum.
Before joining ForestEthics in 1999, Mr. Paglia was an attorney for Ralph Nader focusing on consumer protection issues such as environmental purchasing by governmental agencies to spur alternative markets, enforcement of antitrust laws, corporate welfare issues and corporate accountability.
Mr. Paglia received his Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University, SUNY, his J.D. from the New England School of Law, and his LL.M. from George Washington University, National Law Center, in Environmental Law and Policy.

He lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife Shannon and two young sons, Nico and Luca.

Entries by Todd Paglia

Does the Paris Climate Agreement Mean the World is Saved or That Disaster is Upon Us? The Answer is Yes

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 6:24 PM


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." This quote comes to mind following every environmental announcement and the climate agreement that emerged from Paris last weekend has inspired even more divergent commentary than usual. Extremely knowledgeable people are...

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Did Your Favorite Soda Just Get Greener?

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 11:55 PM


Co-authored with Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

Coke or Pepsi? Millions of soda drinkers tend to prefer one or the other. Regardless of which carbonated container of sweetened water they guzzle, though, it just became a little bit greener. That's because Coca-Cola...

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What Do the Ferguson Movement, the Charleston Killings and Oil Trains Have in Common?

(1) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 12:33 PM

"Grab that one! Hurry. Hurry!"

I was 8 years old running through an orchard with my friends. It was fall, the sun was shining, the apples in the orchard glowed like neon red orbs, the branches strained under their weight seeming to...

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Pope Francis on the Way to Paris: Revoking King Coal & Big Oil's License to Pollute

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 12:31 PM

The coal and oil industry monopoly on power is crumbling before our eyes. The biggest change in 2015 is that these industries' carte blanche license to pollute -- and to disrupt climate solutions -- is looking increasingly precarious. In June alone Pope Francis, the G7, and Norway have all taken...

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Oil Trains Too Fast, New Safety Rules Too Slow

(5) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:43 PM

In the first three months of 2015 four oil train accidents sent emergency responders scrambling, crude oil spilling into drinking water supplies, and fireballs blasting into the sky. The string of accidents in February and March demonstrate the severe threat from Bakken crude and Alberta tar sands moving on mile-long...

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Top 10 Questions About Oil Trains: Industry Lobbies for Weak Rules While Derailment Fire Rages

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 2:59 PM

On Friday, March 6, while an oil train explosion in Illinois was still sending flames and black smoke into the air, railroad agents were in Washington, DC lobbying to weaken new train safety standards. Safer brakes are "extremely costly..." they told White House officials, and explained in great detail why...

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The Post-Ferguson World: Rules for White People

(907) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 5:41 PM

These words have never been more true in America than in the soul twisting days that followed the miscarriage of justice in Ferguson and Staten Island. Young black men in our nation are, and I use this word with purpose and the pain it entails, routinely gunned down by the...

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Taking the Tar Sands Challenge: Asking American Companies to Reject the World's Dirtiest Fuel

(14) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 12:13 PM

Last week the president challenged America to lead the world on climate solutions. Many American corporations are already on board, investing in high efficiency cars and trucks. Creating more fuel-efficient vehicles can have a huge impact on oil use and our climate. Everybody wins with increased efficiency. Companies save money....

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Our Commitment to Boreal Forest Protection: Stronger Than Resolute

(6) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 11:27 AM

This past Saturday, May 18, marked three years since I stood with 29 other environmental groups and logging companies and signed the world's largest conservation agreement, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA). I remember how I felt that day: elated, a little stunned; but, above all, optimistic about...

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If You Can't Beat Them, Try to Silence Them With Lawyers: Really, SFI?

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 1:06 PM

A phony logging industry "eco-certification" entity funded by Weyerhaeuser, Plum Creek, International Paper, Sierra Pacific and other US logging companies attempted last week to bully ForestEthics into silence.

Sorry, SFI (the so-called Sustainable Forestry Initiative), we're not going to stop talking about your greenwashing of clearcuts, chemical spraying, and...

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The Sacred Headwaters: Goliath Defeated by 1,000 Davids

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 1:24 PM

In 1879, John Muir traveled into far northern British Columbia to the Stikine River. He was in search of solitude and wilderness and he found both in shocking quantities. You would imagine that Muir, having spent so much time in some of the wildest country in the world, would be...

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What Does the Keystone Pipeline Have to Do With the Biggest Brands in the World?

(29) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 12:59 PM

Just a few months ago, few would have guessed that Big Oil would be licking its wounds in the wake of what can only be described as a devastating defeat on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Yes, President Obama punted, giving the Keystone pipeline a delay instead of a denial....

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Hanging The Logging Industry's Greenwash Out To Dry

(1) Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 1:34 PM

Last week some of the biggest players in the logging industry met in Burlington, Vermont. The occasion was the annual conference of the Sustainable Forest Industry (SFI,) a creation of Big Timber whose raison d'etre is to cover up all their unsightly and destructive clearcuts with a kinder, gentler "green"...

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Return to Sender: Credit Card Offers Are on the Rise

(2) Comments | Posted May 5, 2011 | 9:35 PM

Last week, the world's largest credit card companies descended on Miami for the 23rd annual Card Forum & Expo. On the agenda for American Express, Chase and other collectors and pushers of the world's debt were a bevy of credit card industry insider topics such as 'Prepaid and...

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I Am the Lorax, And So Are You: Five Reasons to Love Forests

(5) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 6:39 PM

During my decade-long career as the head of ForestEthics, I've become a hopeless tree geek. Dr. Seuss' Lorax come to life, my days are too often spent studying the sources of forest destruction: endless piles of catalogs and junk mail, mountains of copy paper...

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Is the Pacific Northwest's Future Playing Out in Oil-Slicked Michigan? [VIDEO]

(2) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 9:02 PM

A disaster in Michigan is a cautionary tale for residents of the Pacific Northwest, and anyone whose community is threatened by the self-interest of the fossil fuel industry:

Last July a pipeline owned and operated by Canadian oil company Enbridge burst and spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo river. Within days it was crowned the largest oil spill in Midwestern history.

As Enbridge switched into damage control mode -- they've had practice, having caused 610 leaks between 1999 and 2008 -- CEO Pat Daniels made solemn promises to the cameras (see the video above) and company reps even went door to door promising that Enbridge would pay damages.

Now that the media's moved on, Enbridge is dropping the act and bringing in the lawyers: Attorneys representing Enbridge are reportedly gearing up to fight claims made by victims of the spill, claiming that the perpetually leaky company was not responsible because it had followed all relevant laws and regulations.

You can imagine how this feels to residents of these communities: "So what if your water is ruined, your community is fouled, and it took us 18 hours to lift a finger to stop the leak? We're a law-abiding company!"

There's no silver lining here -- communities along the Kalamazoo are damaged, health concerns are real, and justice may not be served.

But Enbridge's Michigan disaster should serve as a cautionary tale for US and Canadian residents on the West Coast, site of Enbridge's next big proposed leaky project: the Northern Gateway pipeline, which will run crude from Alberta's tar sands oil developments through to the Great Bear Rainforest on British Columbia's coast -- which I hear isn't far from the U.S. west coast -- while carrying the world's dirtiest oil to the Asian marketplace.

It's not a question of if there will be spills, it's a question of when. Enbridge can't safely run a pipeline in suburban Michigan -- it would be a foolish surrender to the destructive power of oil interests and give them entry into one of the most fragile and remote wilderness areas on the planet.

ForestEthics is determined to stop allowing forests to be destroyed to feed a dead-end addiction to oil. Join us, and take action...

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative's Greenwash: Snake Oil for the 21st Century

(3) Comments | Posted November 18, 2010 | 8:36 PM

This week ForestEthics released "SFI: Certified Greenwash", a report that exposes the Sustainable Forestry Initiative's (SFI) industry-sponsored greenwash of wood and paper products.

If you were in Chicago at the 1893 World Fair you couldn't have missed the shrieks and groans at one of the fair's...

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Big Companies Do Something Right in Landmark Forest Deal

(1) Comments | Posted May 24, 2010 | 2:50 AM

Originally published at

My first job in the social change movement was working for Ralph Nader. I was a lawyer, one of Nader's Raiders. Not in the '70s when it was cool and people actually knew what that was, but in the '90s, when it was decidedly...

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Subsidizing Junk Mail in the Great Recession

(23) Comments | Posted January 29, 2010 | 12:56 PM

If you think receiving your daily dose of junk mail just kills trees, clogs landfills, exacerbates climate change, is an invitation to identity theft, and is incredibly annoying, well, it actually gets worse: you are also paying for the privilege of receiving it.

For example, in Seattle, the taxpayer...

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Pipelines are Forever: Why We Delivered the World's Dirtiest Oil to Secretary Clinton

(18) Comments | Posted June 26, 2009 | 12:53 AM

Seeing the future is hard enough--but can you smell it? If you are talking about green energy maybe you can... We conducted our own scientific research on this very question in Washington, D.C., where we unveiled the world's first-ever "Clean Energy Smell Test." If you thought the Coke and Pepsi...

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