JUST GOOD BUSINESS: Choosing The Right Paper

For many companies moving towards sustainability changing the paper they use is relatively easy place to start. Not only will choosing and using the right paper reduce business’ environmental impact, it can also enhance and protect brand, send strong message to staff and stakeholders that you take sustainability serious and improve an organisation’s chances of winning business in the fast growing sustainable procurement environment.
If further evidence is needed to convince decision makers of the importance of paper, statistics from the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development show over 40 percent of the world’s industrial wood harvest is for paper production, an estimated eight to 10 percent of global wood production is illegally logged, paper production is one of the world’s largest consumers and polluters of fresh water, the paper industry is the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among United States manufacturing industries and paper accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste.
A new paper published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development last month sets out some global standards. The Procurement of Wood and Paper-based Products is available at www.nzbcsd.org) which was produced in association with the Ministry for the Environment and local paper suppliers BJ Ball and Spicers Paper. It outlines questions to ask suppliers and rates available papers.
The criteria used in the assessment are:
• Fibre source – tree source and tree-free fibre.
• Recycled content.
• Bleaching process.
• Eco-labels and environmental certification.
• Carbon footprint from transportation.
• Optical brightness
• Cost – where known.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just matter of recycling… constant flow of virgin fibre into the network is needed because wood fibres cannot be recycled indefinitely. Depending on the origin of the virgin fibre and the type of products, fibre is typically worn out after five to seven cycles.

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