FPRA 2009 Annual Conference: Breakout 4B, The Truth Behind Cherries, Chocolate, and Paper: The more paper you use, the better for the environment

DSC_4001

You are a professional communicator…so working with a printer and paper distributor comes with the territory. The messages that you carry are vital to your organization. Naturally, what your message is printed on also sends a message. Is it a green message?

The minute attendees sat down and bit into the dark chocolate, sour cherry cookie sitting at their conference seat they could tell this was going to be a rich, sweet session packed full of ingredients PR professionals need to know!

As cookies were munched,  Kathy Paiva of Fidelity Press and Wayne Dennis of Mac Papers quickly got into the nitty gritty of the environmental benefits of using paper and print provided by responsible resources.

Wayne explained that you might think that cherries and chocolate aren’t good for you. But they do have heart-healthy benefits…unless you eat too much! Have you ever thought about paper having environmental benefits? If you are smart about your paper choices your organization can benefit in terms of social responsibilty!

Some important environmental elements to remember about paper include:

  1. Paper is the only renewable natural resource
  2. Paper promotes biodiversity and protects the land
  3. Paper is the second largest cleaner of CO2

Paper is truly sustainable. Waste is fully recoverable and ready for recycling into new paper. When people use more paper, landowners plant more trees.

While sustainability encompasses environmental stewardship, conservation and other “green” factors, it is a much broader concept. Especially when it comes to paper! Print and paper can be the best environmental choices for sending your company’s environmental sustainability message.

Today the focus is on reducing costs, fighting for every customer getting every piece of business we can. Addressing the issue of climate change is a necessity in today’s market and those who don’t will have a difficult time making it.

Look at your brand! It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one to destroy it. One bad environmental action can ruin your company’s reputation. (Think Mattel with the lead based paint situation). Sustainable paper is the best of both worlds…protecting your brand and the environment.

Know where your paper comes from. If it is from Brazil, Indonesia, Burma, China, Russia Far East, Central America or Thailand it may come from illegal logging and have additional negative impacts to the environment. Alarmingly, 37.5 million acres of rainforest are lost annually. This is an area the size of the state of Georgia!

Just one thing you need to know now: It is now a federal offense to buy or sell any illegally harvested wood and forest products domestic and foreign. If you buy any type of paper or print it must be documented to be legal. Compliance is required by Sept. 30, 2010. Check with your printer or paper distributor or your company will be liable.

Three R’s are a way of life in the green world. Renew, Reuse, Recycle! Electronic equipment doesn’t meet this criteria but paper meets all of them. Many organizations such as Ikea, Target and Home Depot consider the three R’s part of their core values.

Typically, the first “R” that comes to mind when you talk about paper is Recycle. But this is only one piece of social responsibility. Organizations need to focus on the life cycle and origin of the paper. This includes many aspects such as the processing and trucking of fiber, the portion of paper that is really sent back for recycling (only one-third), the number of trees cut for paper (25 – 30 percent!).

The chain of custody includes the point of origin to the point of sale. It is important to note that this is the chain of ownership. Each owner in the chain must be FSC Certified for the chain to remain intact. Wayne explains that it all starts with trees. The loss of our forests is a major factor in the global warming debate and many believe it is the key to survival. Sustainable paper also means that energy is saved, green house gases reduced, wastewater recycled, solid waste eliminated.

The Alphabet Soup of Certification Programs – labels provide credibility:

FSCForest Stewardship Council – Well-known international program accepted by most non-governmental organizations. It is aimed at large timber companies managing vast forestry areas where legislation does not exist, is weak or ill-enforced.

SFISustainable Forestry Initiative – Certifications for North America and managed by a board with its own specific set of standards.

PEFC The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification – the regional approach most accepted by forestry owners. Recognized worldwide.

As attendees continued to enjoy their chocolate cherry cookies, Kathy explained how she integrated her blog with print materials that helped get the message out. It isn’t a matter of using print or electronic tools, but about marrying the two to optimize results.

On a side note: Kathy provided 10 Reasons to Print…

  1. Print is for Keeps
  2. Print is portable
  3. Print drives a higher ROI
  4. Print is beautiful
  5. Print plays well with others
  6. Buyers seek print
  7. Print is credible
  8. Print puts the consumer in control
  9. Print is personal
  10. Print is everywhere

So now you know that you want to use sustainable paper, but how do you ensure that your paper supplies fit the bill? Your printer or paper representatives can provide a list of reputable, certified options.  Today, there are more cost-effective options than ever. Now that you are familiar with the acronyms and logos you can look for the seals of approval!

About the speakers:

Wayne Dennis, Corporate Director of Sustainability, Mac Papers, Jacksonville. Wayne has directed Mac Papers and its envelope converting facility through the sustainable forest chain-of-custody certification process and advised other commercial printers throughout the Southeast.  He brings a clear and entertaining message on how paper and print are the best environmental choice to use in reaching customers and how you can communicate that message to your stakeholders and customer.

Kathy Paiva, Fidelity Press, Orlando, is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in Advertising. She began her career as a printing account executive shortly after graduation and has more than 27 years of printing experience. Kathy has worked for Fidelity Press since 1990 and was the impetus behind the company’s FSC certification. Fidelity Press was the first privately owned printing facility in the Central Florida area and one of the first in Florida to become certified. In her spare time, you can find her baking cookies to save the world from unhappiness one cookie at a time! Check out her blog, heartsongcookies.blogspot.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *