Special Report: Paper Trails
Source. This term most commonly has referred to the origin of names on a list for rental. No longer. Now, direct marketers must get acquainted with a new application-paper source. Aggressive logging to support demand for paper products has drastically reduced the size of the world's forests, which play a critical role in absorbing the carbon dioxide gases that fuel global warming.
To protect the forestland that remains and rebuild some of what has been clear-cut, organizations have been established to promote responsible forestry management. These groups certify-among other wood-based products-paper and the chain of custody for suppliers involved in the paper and printing markets. Such certifications provide direct marketers who want to make environmentally sound production decisions with assurance that the virgin fiber in the paper stocks they purchase has been harvested in, at the very least, an ecologically responsible manner and, at the most, a socially conscious way.
The Certifications to Know
For the U.S. market, the two certifying bodies for paper products are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The FSC got off the ground in the U.S. in 1995, and has certified more than 23 million acres in the U.S. SFI, established by the American Forest & Paper Association in 1994, is the U.S. arm of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes and has certified more than 54 million acres in the U.S. While the FSC program has included independent, third-party audits as part of its process since inception, SFI just went the independent, third-party route in January 2007. In doing so, it addressed one of the major differences between the two programs.
Laura Hickey, senior director, global warming education, for National Wildlife Federation, a Reston, Va.-based nonprofit that urges people to protect wildlife, notes that some paper companies even offer triple certification, which generally means that they received FSC certification first and thus automatically qualified for the SFI and PEFC certifications.