Sheets of Green
We are all consumers in one way or another, and evok is certainly no exception. With approximately a half million dollars spent on commercial printing for our clients each year, it has become a major priority for us to act responsibly when purchasing materials from outside vendors. Not only fiscally, but environmentally.
Fortunately for us, we’ve surrounded ourselves with vendors who cannot only accommodate our high standards of quality, but can achieve it in as green of a manner as possible. And, much to our clients’ satisfaction, these green practices affect profit margins in a very positive way. Recycled materials have become more abundant in number, product availability and accessibility, providing competitive pricing compared to products that do not contain post consumer waste (PCW) content or follow industry environmental certifications.
Additionally, according to Bite Communications, a major industry communications consultancy, “Socially responsible companies outperform their competitors by an average of two percent. That’s real money in a world in which the real rate of return on corporate ownership over the last century has been approximately six percent.”
Beyond maintaining a certain percentage of PCW within its products, there are a plethora of environmental certifications to which many of our vendors adhere, including Fiber Sourcing and Chain of Custody certifications appointed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
To receive Fiber Sourcing certification from FSC, for example, the company cannot harvest old growth or rainforest timber, it cannot employ improper forestry practices associated with wildlife habitat loss or the displacement of indigenous peoples, it must respect international workers’ rights, it cannot use hazardous chemicals in the production of wood fiber, and if areas that require special attention are identified (cultural or sacred sites, habitat of endangered animals or plants, etc.), it must appropriate proper management to protect the land.
Chain of Custody (CoC) exists for companies that manufacture, process or trade in timber or non-timber forest products and want to demonstrate to their customers that they use responsibly produced raw materials. In terms of paper the certification implies the product has followed a complete chain of certification status, from the trees in the forest to the stationery delivered to our client. CoC provides certification to specific timberlands, pulp manufacturers, paper manufacturers, paper merchants, and printers who follow the CoC standards. From start to finish, each manufacturing step in the Chain of Custody must follow stringent, ecologically responsible practices to ensure a healthy environment and future sustainability of our forests.
Companies like Utopia Paper have partnered with their local energy company to provide energy from renewable resources for customers looking for additional sustainable options through their Green Power program. Green Power is electricity generated by renewable resources such as wind power, hydro and bioga (obtaining power from organic substances such as wood, crops and organic waste). Through Utopia’s program, you purchase your “green credits” in amounts equal to the electricity used to manufacture your specified paper order. Green energy is then fed into the power grid from which the paper mill draws electricity. This does involve a small up-charge to the order, but certification is provided to the purchaser that verifies the amount of credits and kilowatt hours purchased. This surcharge provides for an investment in more environmentally friendly energy resources, and as demand grows for alternative sources of fuel, supply will grow.
If you are unsure your paper/printing vendors are adhering to these environmental standards (or if your agency is purchasing these products), simply ask. If the answer is “No”, there are plenty of options out there that can satisfy your request for more ecologically responsible practices and products. If the answer is “Yes”, tell them to keep up the great work. We’re all consumers, and we all can be more responsible about how we go about our business.