Pacific Lumber Company for years pioneered the development of sustainable logging practices on its substantial holdings of ancient redwood timber stands in California. It also provided generous benefits to its employees, fully funded its pension fund, and maintained a no layoffs policy during downturns in the timber market. This made it a good citizen. It also made it a prime takeover target. Corporate raider Charles Hurwitz gained control in a hostile takeover. He immediately doubled the cutting rate of the company's holding of thousand-year-old trees, reaming a mile and a half corridor into the middle of the forest that he jeeringly named "Our wildlife-biologist study trail." He then drained $55 million from the company's $93 million pension fund and invested the remaining $38 million in annuities of the Executive Life Insurance Company_which had financed the junk bonds used to make the purchase and subsequently failed. This stand of redwoods is now the subject of a last- ditch effort by environmentalists to save it from clear cutting.
Many leading U.S. corporations including 3M, Kinko's, IBM, Nike and Levi-Strauss are going old growth free. Europe's largest home improvement retailer, B&Q, is now in the process of phasing out old growth wood sales altogether.