Submitted by: Phil Riebel 04/26/2013
Often what’s needed when discussing sustainability is a common language. This is true for many sectors as well as the forest products industry where recycled, certification, and climate change can mean many things to many people. The launch of GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group “Guidelines for Sustainable Paper Products” provides just that, helping build a bridge by focusing on the life cycle of paper products. Staple’s Jake Swenson said the Guidelines’ holistic focus is key.
“The Guidelines are a foundational vision of what it means for a paper product to be sustainable,” Swenson said. “A key takeaway for purchasers is that considering multiple factors across product sourcing design, manufacturing and end of life can lead to more sustainable outcomes instead of focusing on one specific issue.”
Working across supply chains is a key component of the Forest Products Working Group strategy, and this collaborative approach is reflected in the Guidelines by addressing each stage of the paper life cycle. Paige Goff, vice president of sustainability and business communications at Domtar, said work on the Guidelines helped forge relationships.
“As a founding member of the Forest Products Working Group, we were glad to collaborate with GreenBlue staff and fellow group members to create this important document,” Goff said. “Domtar is committed to helping companies make informed decisions, and this guide is a critical part of supporting a robust sustainability program.”
The Guidelines provide a shared definition of “sustainable paper product” - one that shapes mutual objectives and specific actions supporting environmental quality. Not meant to replace existing company standards, the Guidelines are rather a touchstone - a source of credible information companies can use to inform and support a sustainability strategy. Based on life cycle thinking, the Guidelines envision a paper products industry in which every product is designed to be safe and healthy throughout its life cycle.
Considerations addressed in the Guidelines:
1. Design for the life cycle
2. Source responsibly
3. Ensure material health
4. Optimize renewable energy
5. Embrace transparency
6. Use clean production technologies and best practices
7. Effectively recover and utilize
8. Create social and economic value
The Guidelines are a living document and will be updated regularly based on stakeholder feedback, evolving issues, and new information. For more information, contact Tom Pollock. For the Guidelines, click here.
GreenBlue® is a nonprofit that equips business with the science and resources to make products more sustainable. GreenBlue currently works in three program areas: chemicals, packaging, and forest products, as well as working one-on-one with companies through GreenBlue Advisory Services. Visit: www.greenblue.org.