Beyond the Recycling Bin
Forest certifications can help you ensure that fiber for your catalogs comes from a well-managed forest. There are more than 50 certification systems worldwide, according to Riebel, but those most prevalently recognized in North America are The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Canadian Standards Association and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (see “For More Info”).
FSC certification remains an important factor for L.L. Bean. The Freeport, Maine-based cataloger and environmental proponent reported that it plans to increase the already significant amounts of FSC-certified fibers in its catalogs during the course of the next year.
Catalog Industry Leaders
As Office Depot’s director of environmental affairs, Tyler Elm leads the company’s “Office for the Environment.” Its mission is to “champion the principles of environmental stewardship throughout the company’s global operations,” according to Office Depot’s 2004 Environmental Stewardship Report.
Office Depot, based in Delray Beach, Fla., is one of the preeminent direct marketers to take a proactive approach to preserving the natural environment. “Office Depot uses a variety of [paper] suppliers at this time,” Elm notes. “Many of the decisions regarding supplier selection are based on certification and a demonstrated commitment to addressing environmental issues beyond basic, sustainable fiber management.”
During the past decade, the company has been at work alongside others such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Norske Canada to develop a Chain of Custody program to ensure that the paper it sells, as well as the paper it consumes, come from responsibly managed forests and/or consist of some recycled content.
To ensure these requirements are met, Office Depot puts its suppliers through fairly rigorous paces, including a pre-screening questionnaire and third-party verification of the suppliers’ environmental record and practices.
The program has enabled the direct marketer to reach its environmental goals. For example, in 2003 Office Depot reportedly used recycled paper (ranging from 10 to 100 percent PCW) in the production of its inserts, print ads, direct mail and catalogs. More specifically, the company used what it deems “environmentally preferable paper” in 81 percent of all direct mail materials and 13 percent of all catalogs during 2003, according to its “2004 Environ-mental Stewardship Report.”