For decades now, most paper and envelope companies as well printers have been trying to show their “green” credentials in order to win public acceptance for their products and services. This became necessary as our most essential raw material is produced by cutting down trees which curiously, to some, is a few steps removed from murder.
It began with an emphasis on marketing recycled paper. This was always a tough sell since recycled paper costs more than virgin stock. It was very common for mostly large corporations to take a position of using recycled paper only to have the buyer change his mind when he realized that this mandate crossed purposes with the one about reducing the company’s costs. However, it provided and remains a market-based method to give someone with strong convictions in this regard the opportunity to walk the walk.
In the early to mid 90’s, groups like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) were formed to promote their vision of proper forest management and logging practices. Both private and non-profit, these groups devised a certification process carried out by third-party auditors to ensure that companies adhere to a set of procedures designed to maintain the integrity of wood and paper that comes from approved forests and is treated in a manner consistent with the groups’ objectives.
Many printers and paper converters have signed on with these companies. Presumably, some of these firms are expressing the sincere convictions of their owners and management in this regard. However, I think it’s most likely that the vast majority of the participating companies are doing so strictly to be able to trumpet their participation in an attempt to show themselves to be “good corporate citizens” while appealing to buyers who might have these convictions or work for someone who does.
I somewhat sheepishly admit to being in the latter category. We had internal debates on whether to participate but ultimately decided to do so. Elite Envelope has been FSC certified for a couple of years. I have found the people associated with the program to be professional and sincerely committed to the goals and objectives or the organization.
In the next blog post, I’ll get into what we have gotten out of this program and whether we will recommit to another year. I’ll also discuss one of the less- than-savory tactics that some use to give their customers the green cover they seek as well as some of the dubious assumptions that are behind the quest to Go Green.
There’s a great piece on this topic from last week's Wall Street Journal online which you might want to check out here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471904576228712797236124.html
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic.