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The Newspaper Environmental Innovation Council is seeking constructive feedback on the working draft Vision Statement on sustainability and model practices copied below.
The document is intended to send clear signals to Newsprint Manufacturers that if they produce more environmentally sustainable product — at comparable quality and price — we’re ready and willing to buy it. The voluntary standards should also serve as a proactive defense against Bad Legislation and Regulation, including: New mandates on recycled fiber content and reporting; shield against do-not-mail and litters laws pushed by environmental activists; better position our industry for either/both credits and exemptions in any future carbon taxing/cap-and-trade policies. And the Council (NEIC) itself seeks to serve as another useful platform for monitoring and sharing best-practices on newsprint, production and energy related efficiencies and cost savings.
Our Vision for an Environmentally Sustainable Newspaper Industry
Newspaper Environmental Innovation Council
DRAFT – December 2010
Given the vital role that newspapers play, it is critical that we in the newspaper industry work together to ensure a sustainable future. With this vision, we commit ourselves to environmental leadership. With an efficient use of resources that is environmentally responsible, climate-friendly, socially just and economically viable, we will work with our supply chain partners to promote innovation that ensures sustainably produced newsprint.
The goals below address issues that we, as concerned newspaper industry leaders, will work to advance within our sphere of influence.
We recognize that the newspaper industry has the power to reduce the loss of forests and decrease greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. As such, a reduction in the use of virgin wood fiber and other natural resources (water, energy resources) would reduce the industry’s ecological and carbon footprint.
We endorse the following goals:
• Supporting a healthy climate and protecting high conservation value forests
• Maintaining the species diversity of our forests and supporting best practices in forest management
• Improving our production efficiencies
• Supporting best practices in both print and digital operations
• Monitoring and reporting industry progress towards these goals
We will support these goals with the following objectives and targets:
I. Supporting a healthy climate and protecting high conservation value forests:
We will work towards:
• Replacing virgin wood fiber with recycled or alternative fibers whenever possible.
• Phasing out fiber from endangered and carbon-rich forests from the supply chain, and finding suitable alternatives.
• Supporting the development of newsprint made with non-wood fibers including agricultural residue, and work towards phasing out and finding suitable alternatives to virgin fiber.
• Supporting multi-stakeholder conservation plans such as the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement.
• Supporting initiatives to increase fiber recovery and increased de-inking capacity to increase recycled fiber availability.
• Developing a working group to determine an approximate industry baseline of greenhouse gas emissions.
• Support an increase in the industry’s average use of recycled fiber from today’s (2010) estimated 35%, to 40% by the end of 2012 and 50% by the end of 2015 (the majority to be postconsumer waste).
II. Maintaining the species diversity of our forests and supporting best practices in forest management
We will, when buying newsprint containing virgin fiber, work towards:
• Giving preference to suppliers that work toward the conservation of endangered and carbon-rich forests and the protection of biodiversity contained within these forest ecosystems, and work toward phasing out paper sourced from endangered forests.
• Ensuring that paper we buy does not originate from endangered species habitat. If we find that any of our papers do contain fiber from such habitat, we will engage our suppliers to cease operations in that area.
• Seeking virgin fiber that is certified with purchasing preference to suppliers whose virgin fiber is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or certified to equivalent world-leading sustainable forest management practices.
• Encouraging suppliers to integrate the concerns of indigenous and local communities adequately into forestry standards, plans, and assessments.
• Ensuring that no existing natural forests are converted to new plantations.
• Supporting innovative market initiatives that seek to grow the supply of FSC certified forest products such as Carbon Canopy in the US Southeast.
• Strive to increase the newspaper industry’s use of virgin and recycled newsprint certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard or from equivalent certified world-leading sustainable forest management practices, from today’s (2010) estimated 13%, to 20% by the end of 2012 and 50% by the end of 2015.
III. Improving our production efficiencies
We will work towards:
• Eliminating waste within our printing operations.
• Supporting the advancement of best industry practices in pollution prevention, energy and water conservation.
• Supporting efficiency and innovation to continue reductions in paper waste. (These may include reduced basis weights, the minimization of unsold newspapers and improved newspaper recycling among others.)
• Adopting best practices of energy efficiency in our facilities to decrease the carbon footprint of the newspaper industry (This may include replacing fossil fuels with sources of new renewable energy).
• Achieve zero waste by 2020 within our newspaper printing operations, with significant waste reductions by 2015.
• Reduce our energy consumption 10% by 2012, 15% by 2013, and 20% by 2015.
IV. Supporting best practices in both print and digital operations
Given that the increased use of computers and mobile devices to read the news has environmental implications, we will work towards:
• Supporting social and environmental standards for mining raw materials used in electronic devices.
• Supporting and encouraging extended producer responsibility, recycling, and safe disposal and management of end-of-life electronic products.
V. Monitoring and reporting industry progress towards the goals
We will work towards:
• Tracking and monitoring progress to meet the above goals within the Newspaper Environmental Innovation Council, by producing an annual sustainability report, posting information about or practices on a determined website, and promoting responsible paper use in publications as appropriate.
Appendix 1: Relevant Definitions for the Newspaper Environmental Innovation Council
Residues left over from food production or other processes, where using them maximizes the lifecycle of the fiber. Fibers include: cereal straws like wheat straw, rice straw, seed flax straw, corn stalks, sorghum stalks, cotton stalks, cotton linters, sugar cane bagasse, rye seed grass straw and possibly kenaf. Agricultural residues are not from on purpose crops that replace forest stands or food crops.
Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement:
In 2010, Twenty-one member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada entered into an agreement with Canopy and 8 other ENGO’s that will lead to the establishment of new protected areas, the protection of endangered caribou and the implementation of world class sustainable harvesting in the tenures outside of caribou habitat. This Agreement applies to 2/3rds of the Boreal operating area.
Seeks to establish a new model to support landowners who expand protection, restoration and conservation of their forests and certify management practices to the high standards of FSC certification. The Carbon Canopy is focused initially on building a credible carbon market model for landowners in the Southern US. http://www.carboncanopy.com
Endangered forests and ecosystems:
• Forests harboring a rich array of biodiversity that have been heavily impacted by human activity,
• Global forest types that are naturally rare and threatened,
• Forested wilderness areas, including those that are rich in species diversity, contain threatened species, or provide critical ecosystem services, and
• Old growth forests that have not previously been subject to commercial logging.
For more information on the definitions of ancient and endangered forests, please see the definition of endangered forests as outlined in the Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments http://www.environmentalpaper.org/documents/EF-Report.pdf
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):
The only international forest certification system supported by leading environmental and social organizations around the world, including Canopy and Green Press Initiative. It is the most rigorous and credible certification system for forest products in the world and requires operators to manage their forest tenures in accordance to a set of criteria that includes high-conservation value forests, endangered species, genetically modified trees, the conversion of natural forest into plantations and the impacts on aboriginal peoples.
See the principles and criteria here: http://www.fsc.org/fileadmin/web-data/public/document_center/international_FSC_policies/standards/FSC_STD_01_001_V4_0_EN_FSC_Principles_and_Criteria.pdf
An FSC equivalent certification scheme of world-leading sustainable forest management practices would include the following principles:
1. Compliance with all applicable laws and international treaties
2. Demonstrated and uncontested, clearly defined, long–term land tenure and use rights
3. Recognition and respect of indigenous peoples’ rights
4. Maintenance or enhancement of long-term social and economic well-being of forest workers and local communities and respect of worker’s rights in compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions
5. Equitable use and sharing of benefits derived from the forest
6. Reduction of environmental impact of logging activities and maintenance of the ecological functions and integrity of the forest
7. Appropriate and continuously updated management plan
8. Appropriate monitoring and assessment activities to assess the condition of the forest, management activities and their social and environmental impacts
9. Maintenance of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) defined as environmental and social values that are considered to be of outstanding significance or critical importance
10. In addition to compliance, with all of the above, plantations must contribute to reduce the pressures on and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.
Great Bear Rainforest Agreement:
The 2006 Great Bear Rainforest Agreements signed between environmentalists, logging companies, First Nations and the British Colombia Government includes the creation of a new land management regime called Ecosystem-Based Management that includes more than 2 million hectares protected from logging and new lighter touch logging regulations applied outside of protected areas. The deadline for implementing the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement was March 31st, 2009; however, there have been various delays. This policy provides market support for implementation of the agreement.
Fiber derived from recovered material – such as paper materials that have been separated, diverted, or removed from the solid waste stream for the purpose of use, reuse or recycling – and which is included in the fiber finish of an end product (Environmental Paper Network). The use of recycled content varies widely among grades of paper, with an average of 35 percent in newsprint (NAA).
Industry supported life cycle analysis (LCA) shows sourcing recycled fiber can reduce overall pressure on forests and other important natural resources like water, as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the paper, especially when fibers from post-consumer waste are used in paper production. A report by the Paper Task Force and Environmental Defense Paper Calculator stated, “The scientific basis for these conclusions is the analysis of the Paper Task Force, a three-year research project convened by Environmental Defense and involving Duke University, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Prudential Insurance, and Time Inc. The Paper Task Force examined environmental impacts through the full lifecycle of paper, along with economic and functional issues across major paper grades. Its findings were extensively peer-reviewed by scientists, academics, environmental experts, and government and industry representatives.”
Areas planted predominately with non-native trees or other commercial plants. Forests comprised of native species can also be managed as plantations, including via single species plantings on sites that would normally support multiple species, exclusion of other species via herbicide applications, short logging rotations that preclude the development of forest composition and structure, and/or other practices.
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…consumption, production at eye-poppy lows. Business Week has a comprehensive rundown on the industry, interrelated aggravating factors in this article, Kill a Newspaper, Save a Tree? Not Quite.
But if you’re looking for silver linings on the environmental sustainability front, they slam that door quickly in the subhead: “Print media’s decline is slamming paper producers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be long-term environmental benefits, experts say.” Kinda surprising, because they spoke with some interesting folks in the know. Including our peer Shannon at Green Press.
Maybe it was the questions they asked, because there was no mention of levels of post-consumer content in newsprint or which plants were going idle. Are they virgin or de-inking? No comment on the looming impacts of Cap & Trade legislation, which would hit both the source — at sequestration — and production — at emissions. It would seem that the current state of affairs would offer the ideal opportunity for the next transformational shift towards full-circle recycling, higher levels of post-consumer content and certified sustainable forests.
Also not mentioned were the other major players in consumption, the Community Paper Industry. With at least 65 million copies each week, they’re an undeniable market force. Their circulations are actually growing, and they are most interested in affordable newsprint with the maximum recycled fiber available. If the manufacturers build it they will buy it. There really are silver linings here, if you ask all the right people all the right questions.
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…the Eco-Friendly Edge!
By Shannon Binns and Shiloh Bouvette
This is the first in a yearlong series of articles on how to green your newspaper by North America’s leading environmental publishing advocates, Green Press Initiative and Canopy. Each issue they will tackle a different aspect of green publishing.
In a greening marketplace, there are many compelling reasons to make your newspaper’s operations more sustainable. Sure, we all want to do what’s right for the planet, but more than ever before, green is simply good business strategy, particularly for an industry navigating its way through a period of unprecedented transition and reinvention. Let’s explore these emerging opportunities in more detail.
Printing newspapers is a big expense and more and more publishers are looking at ways to save money while shifting to more eco-friendly options. Reducing basis weight and trim size are well-known solutions but there are plenty of more ways to save. For ideas on reducing your energy costs and carbon footprint, visit:
Paper is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases of all US manufacturing industries. In fact, the carbon emissions associated with the newsprint consumed in the US in 2008 was 39.4 million tons of CO2. With a new administration and Congress that is committed to passing federal climate legislation this year, and a recent Supreme Court decision that gives the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant, companies who are not already thinking about ways to reduce their carbon footprint could soon face stiff new costs. At a potential market price of $10/ton of CO2, the market value of the emissions associated with newsprint alone would be $394 million dollars – an additional cost that would certainly be borne by both newsprint producers and users.
Boost Performance with Green
A recent market analysis by the firm A.T. Kearney, concluded that the most sustainability focused companies may well emerge from the current economic crisis stronger than ever. In addition, a global survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that the trend toward buying green continues: more consumers purchased green products in 2008 than in 2007 and they were willing to pay 5% or more for these products. Paper products were also amongst their most frequent green purchases.
Gain Greater Access to Credit
A number of banks and lending institutions are now emphasizing the business opportunities created by “green” economic growth by providing financing to encourage the development of environmentally sustainable products and technology. Some are even building green criteria into their standard lending criteria. In fact, Bank of America has launched a $20 billion initiative to support the growth of environmentally sustainable business activity to address global climate change.
Boost Employee Satisfaction
Various job satisfaction surveys cite a “sense of purpose in their work” as being one of the top reasons for employee satisfaction on the job. The newspaper industry and the many employees who work within it face many challenges during this period of transition. Showing your employees that they can be part of something meaningful with environmental and social responsibility initiatives, particularly if there are incentives and rewards for doing so, can help create a more positive work environment.
Get Free Advice and Assistance
Your company does not need to work in isolation or with expensive consultants to implement environmental initiatives. Numerous resources, presentations and materials have been developed by non-profit organizations and your industry associations that can help save you time and money with the development and implementation of your environmental goals.
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About your Authors
Members will learn and discuss:
- Learn how environmental initiatives can improve the leverage of your brand.
- How and why you need to avoid greenwashing.
- How to increase buy-in for green initiatives with your staff and team.
- How to be seen as a leader in your industry.
Green Press Initiative
Think change. What seems like only a ripple today, might become the wave of the future.
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…and Shannon Binns, Program Manager for Newspaper Sector, for traveling in to MACPA’s Spring Conference and giving a most informative and highly relevant presentation!
We look forward to growing our collaborative efforts in common purpose, and are delighted to read and share your new series of articles on topic!
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…first off, the Committee thanks all the publishers who took part in the “How Green is Your Paper?” survey — the response rate was outstanding! There are no right or wrong answers. We’re just getting a baseline of what we’re collectively doing now…and measuring support for tackling these issues together, as an Association.
Nearly 80% of publishers said they want to learn and do more! And that’s before many have even seen the short answers to: Why does this matter? The reasons are many, and a broad, visual perspective will be given by Shannon Binns of the Green Press Initiative at the final publishers’ session at the Spring Conference. From the Committee’s work so far, we’ve concluded it’s simply the right thing to do for our planet (see MACPA’s footprint!) AND for our bottom lines. Our use of paper has been called “an environmental sacrilege” in actual legislation introduced on D0-Not-Mail, and such “concerns” have also fueled Do-Not-Deliver, Local Litter Laws, Mandates on Recycled Content…and now coming down the Federal Pike: A Carbon Tax and/or Cap & Trade. The energy companies are making noise now, but the will certainly impact Pulp & Paper Manufacturing: On the high end of estimates, based on our collective 32,500 tons of yearly consumption…MACPA members could see newsprint costs rise $487,500 annually!
…and the Survey Says:
1. Do you know how much recycled fiber is in your publication now?
Yes 7 37%
No 12 63%
Comments: “67%” “35%” “Paper from mills 100% recycled, the other is 47%”
2. Do you actively promote recycling of your paper and other materials?
Yes 11 61%
No 7 39%
Comments: “We provide a bin for our carriers for all to bring in papers — including or competitors — for recycling. We pay to have waste chemicals, fluorescent light bulbs, etc. removed and recycled. All used batteries we take to Battery Warehouse. All waste oil from our vehicles is recycled by local garages.” “99% Recycled” “We bring all the extra copies to the busiest location, they are gone in a day”
3. Are you aware of recycling programs in the communities you serve?
Yes 14 74%
No 5 26%
Comments: “We take our glossy paper and magazines, etc. to Ronald McDonald House who use it to support their charity. Our waste haulers at home pick up bottles, cans and newspapers separately. Soda cans are collected by employees and donated to their churches”
4. Do you know if more of your papers are recycled or end up in landfills?
Yes 6 33%
No 12 67%
Comment: “We deliver all our used papers, cardboard and metal plates to a local recycler” “Don’t know”
5. Would you like help finding answers or resources to further explore any of the above?
Yes 14 78%
No 4 22%
Comments: “does not apply…, as we outsource our printing” “Like the green background….Great job guys”
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Quality content on a range of timely topics…free of charge to publishers. Earth Talk provides two Q & A’s each week, along with royalty-free images from Getty Images.
…and the Bay Journal News Service provides columns, commentary and essays on environmental and conservation issues effecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed and Mid-Atlantic region.