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Printers at the Forefront of Forest Conservation and Eco-Paper Development
Printers are gatekeepers of the printed world. They have the ability to improve the environmental performance of thousands of large corporate customers and have significant influence with paper producers and forestry companies.
A growing number of North American printers are taking steps to reduce their impact on forests while improving their environmental footprint and that of their clients. With paper accounting for anywhere between 48 and 90% of a printed product’s environmental footprint, an eco-paper procurement policy is clearly a foundational element of any meaningful environmental action a printer undertakes.
Leading paper policies go far beyond simply obtaining Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or triple certification (FSC, SFI and PEFC). Printers who are currently environmental leaders of the North American industry have undertaken the following initiatives:
• Developed environmental paper policies with leading ENGOs, such as Canopy;
• Developed a line of branded papers with 100% post-consumer recycled content, Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) bleaching, and FSC certification, and offer these papers at price parity to virgin alternatives. These papers can be promoted as Ancient Forest Friendly(TM) house sheets;
• Closed the loop by making sure all their plant scraps are recycled and kept in North America to bolster North America’s paper-recycling infrastructure (e.g. Webcom’s work with Metro Waste and Cascades);
• Set continual eco-improvement targets across all sectors of their business and reported annual recycled and FSC paper sales and other environmental indicators on their website and annual reports. (e.g. EarthColor.)
Printers who want to be at the forefront and provide meaningful eco-solutions to their clients’ brands can work with Canopy on the development of an industry-leading eco-paper procurement policy. Canopy has ten years of expertise helping companies develop strong environmental policies. Printers’ benefit by being able to use the Ancient Forest Friendly logo on Ancient Forest Friendly paper.
 Various carbon footprint studies (Time and In Style 2001, US Book Industry 2007 and Backpacker 2008) show that paper production is 48-88% of the footprint of a printed product, while printing is 4-8% of the total.
Photo: USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service)