Special Report: Paper Trails
"People need to understand, especially right now, to become more green does cost more," cautions Fisher. "When you look at the availability of a stock and the cost of that stock," he explains, "there are some broad guidelines. If you look at postconsumer waste, for every 10 percent you add, you're also adding 3 [percent] to 4 percent per hundred weight to that cost. On the FSC side, you're adding about 6-plus percent to the cost per hundred weight of that paper. And in addition, because FSC pulp credits are limited, you are not going to find your commodity grades available in FSC[-certified stocks]. So, you're not going to find a lot of offset or white wove stocks available. The mills are using their pulp credits for the higher value products; typically, the entry for FSC[-certified stock] would be an opaque grade. So, [direct marketers are] going to get hit with a higher per hundred weight cost anyway because they're going to have to move up in the paper chain to an opaque on the uncoated side."
The Big Picture for Paper
Determining which paper is the "best" for your budget, creative goals and the earth can be a bit mind-boggling. "People are starting to ask those types of questions when sourcing papers," says Jones, referring to queries such as: Is recycled fiber better? Is mixed source better? Can virgin fiber that is responsibly sourced and produced be better than recycled?
And both Hickey and Fisher point out that carbon footprinting will be a big part of the conversation on paper and production processes moving forward.
But the most important step, everyone agrees, is to start somewhere.
"If you really want to take this seriously, you need to look at developing an EPP (environmental procurement policy) for your corporation. When you do that, you have to look at all aspects of your corporation, not just your direct mail components," Fisher explains. After you have an EPP, he adds, your goals will center on how to make it part of your culture and follow it in all areas of your business.