Archive for December, 2012

santaWho depends on print and paper more than anyone else this time of year?  Why, Santa, of course.   The handwritten letter is still the method of choice for sending Christmas wish lists to the man in red.  According to the U.S. Postal Service, millions of letters addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole” arrive at Post Offices across the country each December … more than a half million in New York City alone!   Santa’s helpers, through programs like the USPS’s 100-year-old Letters to Santa program, respond to many of these letters, making holiday wishes come true for needy children.

The time-honored tradition of putting ink on paper, sealing the envelope and dropping a letter to Santa in the mail is one of those very personal, very tactile experiences that’s impossible to capture with an email.   It’s also a very sustainable way to communicate with the North Pole’s most celebrated resident.   In fact, we have it on good authority that Santa, a fellow known for keeping lists, uses the following “Top 10” to remind people that print on paper is a sound environmental choice.

Santa’s Top 10 Facts on Print and Paper Sustainability

  1. Paper is made from renewable resources [trees grown in responsibly managed forests], and responsibly produced and used paper has many advantages over other, nonrenewable alternative materials.  (World Wildlife Fund)
  2. In the United States, paper is recycled more than plastics, metals and glass. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  3. Nearly 67% of paper produced in the United States in 2011 was recovered for recycling. (American Forest & Paper Association)
  4.  Most of the wood used to make U.S. paper, about 60%, comes from small, family-owned tree farms. (Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.)
  5. The demand for sustainable paper products provides a strong financial incentive for landowners to manage their land responsibly rather than sell it off for development –the primary cause of  U.S. forest loss.  (World Business Council for Sustainable Development and NCASI)
  6. U.S. papermaking does not cause deforestation.  The amount of U.S. forestland has remained the same for the last 100 years at around 750 million acres.  (U.S. Forest Service)
  7. More U.S. trees are grown – through planting and natural regeneration – than are harvested each year.  (U.S. Forest Service)
  8. About 65% of the energy used to manufacture U.S. paper is generated using renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.  (American Forest & Paper Association)
  9. Because forest products [including paper] can require little or no fossil fuels for production and store carbon throughout their useful life, they can have inherent climate change advantages over all other materials with which they compete, provided they are produced in a sustainable manner.  (World Resources Institute)
  10. The U.S. forest products and paper industry directly supports 870,000 U.S. jobs.  (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

For more facts on the sustainability of print and paper, visit the Myths and Facts section of the Two Sides website at www.twosides.us

Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Chuck Ruffing, Director, Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability for Eastman Kodak Company

For many, fall begins the annual budget cycle and the opportunity to review freshly worded business justifications for employee headcounts, initiatives, capital spends, subscriptions and, yes, memberships.  With a year’s experience behind us, an ongoing membership in Two Sides is a commitment I can make without hesitation. Some might think Two Sides is an unusual choice for Kodak.  In fact, as I write we are one of a very few printing equipment company in its US membership.

Like many companies, we buy a lot of paper for our own use.  And, some may not realize it, but we also sell a lot of paper including inkjet paper, photographic paper, proofing paper and paper used in packaging and manuals. As Two Sides members, we enjoy access to research, tools and experts that have helped us strengthen our product standards for purchased and manufactured papers, and enhance our supplier selection process. Although this has been immensely valuable, it’s not the whole story.

Industry associations come in many styles. Some bring laser focus to one sector’s specific needs, while others are designed to expose a broad membership to the very best practices in industry. Two Sides is of a third, perhaps rarer, variety focusing on a single, complete supply chain. A natural complement to Kodak’s own life cycle-based product philosophy, Two Sides, like Kodak, believes the best solutions come from looking across every stage from materials selection to end-of-life management.  Kodak is clearly not as big a player in the world of paper as many of the other Two Sides members, but when you take the life cycle view, you see that paper is clearly a big player in the world of printing equipment.

In addition to its focus on the entire supply chain, Two Sides prioritizes balanced, credible and science-based approaches; values Kodak also shares.  Without hesitation, we immediately utilized the Two Sides educational materials with customers and at trade shows enhancing our promise to be full partners in our customers’ pursuit of sustainability. Membership has meant we stay focused on our B2B customers knowing Two Sides is educating consumers and other sectors through initiatives like its soon-to-be-launched “No Wonder You Love Paper” and Get the Facts campaigns. It’s a unique partnership that I believe is only possible when we take a supply chain view.

Kudos to Steve Brocker of Western States Envelope & Label who defined the issue so well in his Oct 16th Two Sides blog.  We have not done a very good job of educating the public on the environmental story of paper, which should be the ultimate case study on forest preservation, economic benefit and life cycle analysis. We (and I mean the entire supply chain) need to change the perception of print and paper.  With credibility and objectivity, Two Sides is tackling that. I fully expect their efforts will contribute to a change in understanding that will flow through the value chain to sustain the printed word.

Chuck supports compliance to both operations and products at Kodak worldwide, as well as coordinating sustainability initiatives throughout the company.  Chuck is also a member of the board of trustees for the Central and Western New York chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  He also writes for Kodak’s “Grow Your Biz”.   

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When I went online a couple of days ago to change some of the features of my phone service, the first thing I saw after I logged on was a pop-up asking if I’d like to “go green and go paperless.”   It made me think about the broad implications of that choice.   On its face, clicking “sign me up” would probably seem pretty innocuous to most people, generating the feel-good, albeit unsupported, vibe that corporate marketers intend.  But there’s a hidden consequence in using unsubstantiated environmental claims to promote paperless communication:  potential job loss for millions of Americans.

Millions of Americans?  It sounds like a stretch until you consider how many U.S. families depend on the paper, print and mailing industries for their livelihoods.   A 2010 U.S. Mailing Industry Jobs Study conducted for the Envelope Manufacturers Association found that the U.S. mailing industry supports 8.7 million jobs.   These are people who are directly employed in forest products, paper, printing, direct mail design, mail management and mail delivery jobs, 91.7 percent of them in the private sector.   Include supply chain jobs, many in small companies that would go belly-up if print and paper go away, and the reach of a collective online click extends even further.   (Be on the lookout for updated survey data from EMA).

There are also some 10 million family forest owners who depend on income from the wood they supply for pulp and papermaking.   These folks are the backbone of the print and paper industry, filling the demand for the sustainably grown wood fiber used in printed phone bills, bank statements and other customer communications.  In fact, 60% of the wood used to manufacture paper in the United States comes from these small family owned tree farms.   According to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), family forest owners account for 92 percent of all private forest owners and 62 percent of the private forestland (35 percent of all forestland) in the United States with the average family farm holding at around 25 acres.   For more see the USDA report.

Without the demand for sustainably grown wood to make paper and the income it provides, many families would be tempted to sell their land for development, the leading cause of U.S. forest loss, rather than continue to manage it responsibly.   This is especially true in today’s tough economic times.  The USFS says U.S. family forest owners have held their land an average of 26 years.   Should these people on the front lines of sustainable forest management be forced to make the difficult financial choice to sell long-held family land when a drop in paper demand results from green marketing claims that don’t hold water?

If companies want to encourage a switch from paper to electronic communication because it’s speedier or more cost-effective, I can’t argue with that.   But don’t tout that electronic bill or monthly statement as the greener alternative because it’s just not true.  (To avoid greenwashing, companies should follow best practices for environmental marketing and ensure that environmental claims are based on “competent and reliable scientific evidence” as stated by the US FTC Green Guides)  The fact is that both paper and electronic communications have environmental trade-offs and both have valuable consumer benefits.  Chief marketing officers who have thumbs up or down power to end the proliferation of “go paperless” messaging should think long and hard about that.   Millions of their customers do … the millions who depend on print and paper to put bread on the table each day.

Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.

Help Two Sides promote best practices related to environmental marketing claims about print and paper.  If you find claims that concern you, let us know at pnr@twosides.info.

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