Originally published on WWF.
WWF today launched a global benchmarking tool for pulp and paper products at PaperWorld in Frankfurt, Germany. Check Your Paper is an online database to help paper buyers find products with the lowest environmental impact.
The tool rates the environmental quality of the paper-making process for a given product, including how well forests supplying fibre are managed, use of recycled fibre, fossil CO2 emissions, waste going to landfills and water pollution from mills. The fibre in all papers featured on the audited list on the website must come from known, legal sources. Paper products posted on the official list have been audited by third-party certification bodies to ensure high credibility.
Check Your Paper at the same time allows pulp and paper manufacturers to voluntarily rate and post their products’ environmental impacts online.
Makers of paper products including Arjo Wiggins, ITC Limited Paper Boards and Specialty Papers Division, Mondi, M-real, Lenzing Papier, SCA, Steinbeis Papier, Tullis Russell, and UPM are the first to disclose their selected papers’ environmental profile at http://checkyourpaper.panda.org.
As of today, the Check Your Paper includes about 100 paper products with “good” or “excellent” environmental score listed in the coated and uncoated categories, such as copy papers and printing and writing papers.
WWF invites other pulp and paper manufacturers to follow the example of these companies by communicating their products’ environmental performance transparently. “We believe this new database will help paper buyers choose the most environmentally friendly papers on the market. WWF invites all paper buyers to check the tool before purchasing and encourage other paper-makers to join Check Your Paper,” says Rodney Taylor, Forest Director, WWF International.
“Listing our products in Check Your Paper is an important step in our commitment to augmenting economic, environmental and societal capital and in making environmentally responsible products available to our customers and paper buyers.” says P.N. Sridharr, ITC Limited, Paper Boards and Specialty Papers Division, India, one of the manufacturers that have posted their papers’ environmental information on the database.
“Over the years SCA has been deeply involved in the development of publication papers with high environmental performance – TCF bleaching, FSC certification, good resource utilisation, small carbon footprint. It is very positive that paper customers now get access to an easy-to-use tool to guide them in their choice of an environmental-friendly paper, says Björn Lyngfelt, vice president communications SCA Forest Products, Sweden.
Check Your Paper includes all the main pulp and paper categories, including coated and uncoated papers, newsprint, tissue, packaging and board papers, speciality papers and several types of pulp.
Globally, paper consumption is on the rise, with an expected increase from the current rate of 400 million tons annually to 450-500 million tons by 2020. Without a higher standard of environmental performance across the industry, this level of consumption will leave an unacceptably large environmental impact on the planet. Poor practices such as reckless logging and indiscriminate expansion of pulpwood plantations damage fragile ecosystems and escalate social conflict. The pulp and paper industry’s mills and factories are large users of energy and emitters of greenhouse gases, and many are also significant sources of water pollution and landfill waste.
Check Your Paper provides a single percentage score for a product that indicates the quality of its production in terms of reduced environmental impact. In addition, the star-rating breaks this down into impact mitigation performance specific to forests, climate change and aquatic ecosystems.
In order to earn the maximum five stars in WWF’s Check Your Paper, the paper product shall have:
• positive impacts on forests, and contain high proportions of post-consumer recycled fibre and/or virgin fibre originating from credibly certified, well managed forests.
• reduced contributions to climate change through use of recycled fibre, responsible forest management and minimising CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in the manufacturing process, and, indirectly, emissions of CO2 and methane from degrading waste in landfills.
• close to zero water pollution through reduction of organic water pollution and reduced water pollution from bleaching, through promotion of unbleached or totally chlorine-free bleached products.
Photo Credit: Mike Bailey-Gates