Green producers bucking trend in paper industry downturn
Published February 7, 2008 in the Montreal Gazette
The lone bright light for Canada's beleaguered paper industry in 2007 shone on green paper producers and promoters, according to a trend report to be released today.
An unparalleled environmental momentum points to profits for green printers and paper producers despite an industry downturn, the Markets Initiative report says.
More than 520 Canadian book publishers, magazines, newspapers and printers are now implementing eco-paper purchasing policies, Nicole Rycroft, executive director of the Vancouver-based environmental advocacy group, said yesterday.
This represents a 300-per-cent increase over last year.
The report issued during PaperWeek, an international forestry industries event in Montreal is filled with examples of how going greener has translated into dollars for the innovators while lessening industry impact on the environment.
Quebec-based Cascades has seen 2007 sales of its 100-per-cent recycled and ancient forest friendly paper jump by 235 per cent over 2006 figures.
Leipa Georg Leinfelder GMBH has seen 2007 Canadian sales of its green magazine paper jump by more than 70 per cent over 2006. And its Canadian sales are expected to double in 2008, the report said.
Key among the big players driving the demand for environment-friendly papers is Transcontinental Inc., Canada's largest commercial printer.
Last October, Montreal-based Transcontinental became the first major North American print-media conglomerate to implement a paper-purchasing policy that champions environmentally preferable papers.
It gives preference to third-party certified paper, in particular, the Forest Stewardship Council.
A year ago, Transcontinental met 17 existing paper suppliers including AbitibiBowater, Kruger, Atlantic and Cascades and laid our cards on the table, Jean Denault, vice-president of procurement and technology, said yesterday.
After rating suppliers offerings, Transcontinental met with some suppliers individually and told them that it wants one of their greener papers, Denault said.
This will be a work in progress for Transcontinental, he said. There is a limited supply of FSC paper for all our needs given the various grades required for various media.
Transcontinental prints La Presse and other Canadian and U.S. daily newspapers. It is also a leading Canadian producer of consumer magazines.
North America's newsprint market largely fed by Canadian producers has a long way to go to catch up with its British cousin, the report noted.
About 13 years ago, the British market mirrored North America's with an industry average of 34-per-cent recycled content. In 2006, that industry average topped 80 per cent.