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“Our supply chain is following our lead. We set clear expectations for our suppliers’ environmental, social and economic impacts, and we provide tools, guidance and motivation to meet them.”

— Sprint Website: http://goodworks.sprint.com/planet/

Sprinting Towards Sustainability

This summer and into fall, approximately 2.5 million Sprint customers across the land will receive mail from the telecom giant that looks just like any ordinary letter. But appearances don’t tell the whole story.

This is no run-of-the-mill mailer. It’s a leap forward in sustainability leadership, a testament to a company truly walking the talk.

Sprint’s mailer is on paper made largely with leftover wheat straw instead of forests!

Canopy has been working closely with Sprint for years on ways to advance the conservation of ancient and endangered forests, avoid contentious fibre, increase recycled content and invest in paper alternatives such as pulp from agricultural residues.

And Sprint has responded with advances that set the bar for paper users throughout the business world.

As Keanon Swan, Sprint’s Manager of Strategic Partner Relationships told the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego in June, “Wheat straw is ready for prime time. Hopefully we will pave the way for creating national demand.”

Canopy sincerely hopes Mr. Swan’s wishes are realized, and other progressive companies will follow Sprint’s lead.

The wheat straw trial is just the latest in a list of progressive sustainability actions Sprint has initiated over the years in an effort to reduce their impact on ancient and endangered forests.

In 2011, Sprint’s Paper Leadership Council worked with Canopy to strengthen its Paper & Print Procurement Policy. It was during this collaboration that the idea for Sprint’s Sustainable Printer Summit was born.

The first Summit was held in September 2012. The goal was to bring together all of Sprint’s printer and paper suppliers, orient them to the company’s commitments, and provide guidance and resources to help them comply with the supplier goals that Sprint established. Sprint is looking for 90% of its suppliers, measured by sourceable spend, to comply with their social and environmental criteria by 2017.

In preparation for the event, Sprint surveyed its printers and discovered that most were well positioned to achieve the printer goals it was setting for them. All of Sprint’s printers attended the event, with speakers covering topics ranging from forest conservation and how to protect endangered forest hot spots to printer sustainability metrics and how to adopt greener practices.

Printers left the session with the information they needed to begin implementing robust policies and procedures that would benefit Sprint and their operations.

Sprint’s initiative sent a strong message to the printing sector as a whole by recognizing their role as large paper users in advancing sustainability. The initiative was influential in moving the sector forward toward more responsible purchasing policies and practices.

Two printers, Standard Register and Japs-Olson, developed strong forest conservation policies in consultation with Canopy as a result of Sprint’s leadership.

In September 2013, the second Summit drew even greater attendance. 60 business partners, including printers, attended and select printers shared how they had embraced Sprint’s goals and were implementing them in their operations. As of 2013, 67% of the company’s printers had met Sprint’s environmental and social criteria.

To learn more about the successes of Sprint’s Paper Leadership Council, visit: http://goodworks.sprint.com/planet/resources/paper-and-printing

To learn more about straw in paper and Canopy’s Second Harvest campaign to foster its’ development and use, visit http://canopyplanet.org/campaigns/second-harvest/.

 

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