It's not often that a big forest products company gets cheers from environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), American Lands Alliance, and the National Forest Protection Alliance. But Boise is getting the red carpet treatment for its recent policy changes.

The company has adopted a progressive environmental statement that RAN says "marks significant progress in helping to protect endangered forest areas throughout the world and old-growth forests in the United States. Boise is the first major U.S. forest products company to adopt a comprehensive environmental statement for its operations."

Part of what gives the statement teeth is that it extends to the company's supply chain. For example, it offers purchasing preference to suppliers who opt out of using wood from endangered areas and instead purchase wood from certified, well-managed forests.

The statement also includes Boise's assurance that when it purchases wood pulp, logs, and chips, it will use care to avoid products obtained through illegal logging.

"This statement formalizes Boise's commitment to environmental stewardship," says company chairman and CEO George Harad, "by linking the company's broad and varied environmental activities into a unified statement."

Randi Spivak, with the American Lands Alliance, describes the action as "new hope for the world's endangered forests." Spivak and others believe Boise's action may encourage other U.S. forest product companies to adopt similar measures.

"With such strong leadership from Boise and its customers," says Jennifer Krill, with RAN, we expect it's only a matter of time before the rest of the industry follows suit."