4 Logos Related to Environment-Friendly Paper ... and What They Mean
As market demand for more sustainable paper stocks drives development in the paper industry, logos and labels that convey certain environmental characteristics are starting to pop up all over the place. While more marketers are becoming familiar with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) logos related to fiber certification, those originating from the paper-making process itself are less, pardon the pun, run-of-the-mill.
To help you get a handle on the primary logos and labels you might come across in your paper sourcing travels, here is a short list of the originating bodies and what their logos convey, taken from my portion of the April 2 Target Marketing/Printing Impressions webinar, "Paper Choices: Postconsumer Recycled, Responsibly Forested and Everything in Between."
Green-e is the leading renewable energy certification program in the U.S., operated by the Center for Resource Solutions. Online e-tailer Paper Mill Store describes Green-e as a "third-party, voluntary, consumer-protection program." Companies that purchase qualifying amounts of energy through renewable energy certificates, issued by renewable energy companies such as 3Degrees and Sterling Planet, or create their own renewable energy can use the Green-e logo to indicate the offsetting of greenhouse gasses that result from burning fossil fuels for energy. Use of the logo requires certification by the Center for Resource Solutions, which includes application, annual attestation and payment of a licensing fee.
2. Green Seal
This program is administered by Green Seal, an independent, nonprofit organization. Green Seal is a certification program for products and services that applies International Organization for Standardization standards for eco-labeling using a lifecycle approach to evaluate the overall environmental impacts, from "raw materials extraction through manufacturing to use and disposal," according to the organization's Web site. Paper products must meet specific standards regarding use of postconsumer recycled fiber and bleach (applies to both virgin and recycled fibers). Use of the logo requires certification by Green Seal, which includes application, auditing and payment of a licensing fee.
3. Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and is a "voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources," according to the EPA's Web site. The EPA defines green power as "electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources."
Companies that purchase qualifying amounts of green power and meet other program stipulations for particular organizations, products and resources are accepted into the Green Power Partnership and may use the program logo to indicate they offset greenhouse gasses with green power. Use of the logo requires certification by the EPA Green Power Partnership, which includes application and documentation of purchases and a minimum purchase amount.
4. Totally Chlorine Free (TCF)
This certification program is controlled by the Chlorine Free Products Association, an independent, nonprofit accreditation and standard-setting organization. This certification applies to virgin fiber paper and means:
- no chlorine or chlorine compounds were used during manufacturing;
- all virgin fiber components are chain-of-custody certified;
- the mill has no current/pending environmental violations; and
- the mill does not use old growth forests for the virgin pulp.
Product certification requires "comprehensive mill audits by industry experts," and mills are subject to "ongoing testing, inspection and enforcement," according to the Chlorine Free Products Association.
To learn about three more logos being used to indicate more sustainably produced paper stocks, check out the on-demand version of the webinar, "Paper Choices: Postconsumer Recycled, Responsibly Forested and Everything in Between."