Through Green-colored glasses: An Environmental Vision for the Newspaper Industry
They say rose-colored glasses make things look better than they really are, providing a refreshing break from black-and-white reality. We like to think that green-colored glasses make things look the way they could. They provide a view of black-and-white reality that focuses on the actions and decisions that will lead to a greener future.
Recently, major printers, a select group of publishers, and association leaders joined Canopy and Green Press Initiative to take a look at the newspaper industry through green-colored glasses. The result is the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision, a voluntary document that encourages responsible paper purchasing and sends a statement to newsprint manufacturers that consumers are interested in more environmentally sustainable products at a comparable price and consistent quality.
The vision allows publishers to:
- Engage employees by encouraging social responsibility at the corporate level;
- Respond to environmental interest from readers, advertisers, and shareholders;
- Improve brand appeal; and reduce pressure on valuable and endangered forest ecosystems.
“The Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision provides publishers with a unique opportunity to communicate to their suppliers, advertisers, and readers that they are committed to improving the environmental sustainability of their publications,” said Shannon Binns, program manager for Green Press Initiative. “And this is a statement that resonates very well with an increasingly environmentally conscious public. We invite all leaders in the sector to become involved.”
The 5 Voluntary Goals of the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision
1 Support a healthy climate and protect high conservation value forests. Newspaper publishers have the ability to drive further development of sustainable newsprint and to facilitate the phase-out of fiber from endangered forests.
Newsprint production still relies on virgin wood fiber, often drawn from large tracts of forest that took hundreds — and in some instances thousands — of years to develop into the complex carbon-storehouses they are today. But this doesn’t have to be the way.
Using papers with high-recycled content, and engaging suppliers on conservation initiatives such as the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (see “Two Birds with One Seed: How newspapers can sustain business and our planet,” Editor & Publisher, April 2011) can significantly reduce the impact on these important forests, not to mention our planet’s climate.
2 Realize best practices in forest management. Where virgin fiber is used, why not follow in the footsteps of Metro Montreal and specify a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper? Metro Montreal recently became the first entirely FSC-certified newspaper in North America as part of a groundbreaking environmental policy it created with Canopy.
The FSC logo is a quick and recognized way to demonstrate environmental commitment to consumers and advertisers who want to be associated with environmental leaders.
3 Improve production efficiencies. The win-win of cost savings and environmental benefits of improving production efficiencies is clear. Implementing this goal also presents an opportunity to engage the wealth of experts within your organization — your employees. You may have noticed more and more of them looking at your work through green lenses already. Perhaps you could find a fun way to canvas staff for their ideas on how to eliminate inefficiencies from printing operations, reduce waste elsewhere, and increase energy efficiency overall.
4 Support best practices in both print and digital operations. As newspapers increasingly deliver their content online, the social and environmental impacts of digital media — computers and mobile devices — are emerging issues that are important to minimize too.
With green-colored glasses, it’s easy to see that supporting emerging standards for responsible mining of the raw materials used in electronic devices, and encouraging recycling and safe management of old electronics are part of an environmental vision for the newspaper industry.
5 Track and monitor progress. This one’s pretty simple, really. Effective reporting on these goals and associated targets will help you to continue improving your company’s environmental record, and to document the strategic advantages that record affords in the marketplace.
The Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision is a strictly voluntary way to send a strong market signal to your supply chain partners, advertisers, and readers that you are serious about ensuring the environmental sustainability of your publications. The Association of Alternative Newsmedia (formerly the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies), NOW magazine, and Embarcadero Media have already sent that signal by being the first organizations to endorse the vision.
By joining your peers in endorsing the vision you send a clear message throughout the industry and to consumers that change is not only possible, it’s green and good for business.
Read the article in Editor and Publisher.
Read more in the RISI article A New Vision For Newspapers
Download the Newspaper Industry Environmental Vision