Environmental
Mitchell Press has achieved Climate Smart Certification, having completed its first Greenhouse Emissions (GHG) Inventory, audited and verified by Climate Smart.
Canadian commercial printer Solisco has partnered with PrintReleaf, enabling its clients to select reforestation equivalent to the paper used on their projects.
Brett Martin, a U.K.-based manufacturer of polycarbonate, foam pvc and PETg plastic sheets for the signage and graphics industry, looks to benefit from a combination of renewable supply sources.
PrintReleaf software and collateral literature are now available in six languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian.
PrintReleaf – a print industry sustainability and reforestation standard – seeks to offer brands, graphic designers and printers an alternative to chain-of-custody standards currently available.
An improved web-based paper calculator from the Environmental Paper Network-North America aims to provide its users with new information and features to help them measure the impacts of their paper and reduce that impact through better choices.
International environmental not-for-profit Canopy, based in Vancouver, BC, has unveiled the 2017 update to its annual Blueline Ranking, a print-buying tool that profiles and ranks the sustainability performance of North America’s largest printers. Printers analyzed in this year’s assessment represent $34 billion in annual sales. Canopy collaborates with more than 750 companies to develop processes to make their supply chains more sustainable.

Five of the Top 10 printers on Canopy’s North America ranking are Canadian, while another three are within the Top 15, including: TPH The Printing House, TC Transcontinental Printing, Hemlock Printers, MET Fine Printers, The Lowe-Martin Group, Webcom, St. Joseph Communications and Torstar Printing Group.

“As businesses across North America step up to address climate change, it is time to think about the high carbon footprint of printing, which is mainly attributable to paper choices,” said Canopy’s Executive Director, Nicole Rycroft. “Many papers are sourced from the logging of high carbon forests which carries a much bigger climate footprint than processing or transportation within the print sector. We’re encouraged to see strong leadership by many important players in the print sector.”

Based on the report, Canopy reports that 45 percent (20/44) of the printers ranked understand the value of communicating sustainability successes to their clients and have strong sustainability content on their websites. Forty-one percent (18/44) of Blueline printers have policies that support ancient and endangered forest conservation. In just under two years, five of North America’s largest printers have developed new and leading policies, reports Canopy, reflecting clients’ increasing requirements for sustainable printing services.

“The Blueline Ranking aligns with our own sustainability goals and is an invaluable resource for cross-checking our print service providers and monitoring progress," stated Jenny Dela Cruz, Director of Sustainability for HH Global, which is one of a growing number of Fortune 500 companies and leading brands that use the Blueline Ranking as a resource in choosing their print partners.

“As one of the largest providers of marketing communications in North America, it’s important that our customers – both current and future – recognize our commitment to achieving a sustainable supply chain with a reduced carbon footprint,” said Mark O’Leary, President, Taylor Communications, which improved its ranking the most, moving from 18th to 3rd place with strong policy updates and implementation engagement. “We are thrilled to move to third place in the 2017 Blueline Ranking.”

EarthColor and The Printing House, explains Canopy, continue to lead the ranking with strong policies, rigorous policy implementation and transparent reporting on progress and successes.

The Blueline Ranking rates major printers on a set of 32 key sustainability criteria and highlights sector leaders to consumer brands. Those that top the ranking are outperforming their peers in areas such as reducing their use of papers that contain ancient and endangered forest fiber, supporting the advancement conservation solutions, supporting the development of new environmental papers such as those made with high recycled content or straw, and bringing a high degree of transparency to their sustainability initiatives.

This year’s Blueline Ranking is dedicated to the memory of Dick Kouwenhoven, the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hemlock Printers Ltd., noted by Canopy as a champion in sustainability in the print sector.

The interactive online ranking can be viewed here.
A revolution in paper production driven by agricultural-residue pulp mills is on Canada’s horizon (originally published in PrintAction June 2016 magazine).

The potential impact of papers made from agricultural residue is becoming an exciting new sector to watch in Canada. Canopy has just launched its “Say Yes!” project across the North American wheat, rye and sorghum belt. Dubbed YIMBY! – Yes In My Back Yard! – This innovative enterprise is reaching out to agricultural communities asking if they have the straw supply, town infrastructure and other qualities necessary to become a candidate site for a new, green-job-creating straw pulp mills.

The Canadian prairies are being hit hard right now, with economic downturns in Saskatchewan and Alberta taking a toll on jobs and regional stability. New opportunities for rural communities across the Prairies, adding value to agricultural residues typically treated as ‘waste’ products could bring new hope and green jobs to a hard hit part of the country.

The Federal government made bold commitments in at the 2015 UN Conference in Paris to seriously tackle climate change. Intact forest landscapes and their significant contribution to carbon storage are bound to come to the forefront as a means to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribute to climate stabilization. Canopy expects this to inevitably lead to greater protection of the boreal forest and a concurrent push to develop alternative fibre sources. The future of straw paper just keeps getting brighter.

Some Canadian printers are early adopters of wheat straw-based papers. The Printing House, Hemlock Printers and MET Fine Printers, for example, offer uncoated free sheet wheat straw-based paper and more printers are bound to join the ranks of these forward-thinking businesses.

Since before Canadian Geographic and Dollco (purchased by Lowe-Martin in 2012) worked with Canopy in 2008 to print a magazine issue on wheat straw-based paper, Canopy has been growing the market for straw-based papers to facilitate the development of agricultural residue pulping capacity.

To date we have identified 1.3 million tons of unmet annual demand for printing and writing grade papers made with straw. That market keeps growing as more print users look to improve their standing on sustainability issues. Now we just need the supply – and it’s looking promising.

Following the launch of YIMBY!, the response from farming communities has been immediate and enthusiastic. Within 24 hours of launching the campaign, Canopy was receiving applications from interested districts. Our detailed questionnaire will delve into the viability of each of these applicants. Do they have a high enough volume of straw available within a set radius? Do they have the water, road and power infrastructure needed to support a pulp mill? Is the work force available?

We’ve done the research, established the criteria with the advice and assistance of experts in the field, and we know the potential exists for many straw pulp mills to be built.

At the same time, we are liaising with entrepreneurs and investors, filling them in on the immense market demand for straw-based papers we have already quantified, the viable community opportunities for mill construction and the green-tech revolution that is ready to launch.

Through our ongoing Second Harvest work, we’ve been privileged to be given confidential access to some of the latest developments and innovations. The revolution is truly gaining momentum.

As new scientific research highlights the critical importance of forests in stabilizing the global climate and mitigating the impacts of climate change, more and more governments will be forced to take action to protect high carbon value ancient forests. And more and more print customers will be looking to avoid contentious forest fibre and seeking viable alternatives to tree paper.

Straw papers will be a game-changer for the availability of publication grade eco-papers and lighten the footprint of print materials. The future of straw can revolutionize the printing industry. Are you ready?
APP of Jakarta, on the three-year anniversary of its Forest Conservation Policy, provided an update of its progress and also launched its Belantara Foundation, an initiative to fund conservation projects in Indonesia. The paper maker also noted progress with its Peatland Best Practice Management Project and a new Integrated Fire Management program involving training from Canadians.

“On the third anniversary of our Forest Conservation Policy launch we are pleased to report that our continued work to implement the policy, together with efforts to align our ambitions with those of other actors in Indonesia’s forests have resulted in tangible progress,” said Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at APP. “We now have the building blocks for a sustainable model of forest and pulp and paper operations whereby forests are protected, communities empowered and our supply chains strengthened.”

The APP Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), launched in February 2013, is what APP describes as its commitment to immediately end deforestation in its supply chain and bring sustainability to the forefront of the company’s operations. Policy commitments by the company include the ending of natural forest conversion throughout its supply chain, best practice in peatland management, and adopting a collaborative approach to resolving social issues.

The company’s previously announced work to block over 3,500 perimeter canals to increase water levels in APP suppliers’ concessions located on peatland has recently been completed, with a total target of 7,000 dams to be built by the end of the first quarter of 2016. This is in addition to the retirement of 7,000 hectares of commercial plantation areas in Riau and South Sumatra, announced by APP in August 2015. In total, APP and its suppliers have allocated approximately 600,000 hectares for forest conservation and ecosystem restoration within its suppliers' concessions.

Peatland areas are particularly vulnerable to forest fires, explains the company, and these initiatives to manage and protect them are part of APP’s new Integrated Fire Management (IFM) strategy. Fire management experts TREK Wildland Services from Canada and Working on Fire (WOF) from South Africa will provide 400 APP staff members and their suppliers with Incident Command System (ICS) fire training. Two new aircraft with state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras will help gather hotspot data with far greater accuracy than satellite imaging, explains APP. Information will be distributed in near real time to APP’s in-house Geographic Information System (GIS) and distributed to field staff within 15 minutes, allowing rapid response to emerging fire threats.

Another forest protection initiative is the Integrated Forestry and Farming System Program launched by APP during COP21 in Paris. The program aims to help local communities develop alternative livelihoods to achieve economic development while also keeping Indonesia’s forests intact.

As a first step in its implementation, community members will be given equipment and support in the form of microfinance or revolving funds to help kick start local businesses. Horticultural training will also be given to help improve community capacity in managing fruit and vegetable crops using the agroforestry system. The program will include 500 villages across the APP supply chain with up to $10 million invested over the next five years.

Since committing to a landscape approach in 2015, the company has worked to establish a platform to help manage and fund landscape conservation programs in Indonesia. As a result of these efforts, APP has initiated the Belantara Foundation. Today we announce the newly appointed Advisory Board, consisting of widely respected individuals drawn from the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. With the Foundation’s personnel, full working remit and due diligence processes in place, Belantara is now ready to work together with other key stakeholders in the landscape to help support the protection and restoration of Indonesia’s forests.

Belantara Foundation will work with communities, civil society, government and businesses to help ensure a careful balance is found between economic development, the livelihoods of people in local communities and environmental conservation. This involves overseeing natural forest restoration and endangered species protection and conducting studies to strengthen sustainable landscape management.
Asia Pulp & Paper Group announced a new commitment to support the economic development of 500 villages in what the company describes as the landscapes surrounding APP’s supply chain. The aim of the program, explains APP, is to demonstrate that economic development can be pursued in a sustainable way that supports rather than undermines the protection of Indonesia’s forests.

APP’s announced this sustainable development commitment at the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris, COP21. The announcement was made after APP presented details of its forest and peatland protection initiatives, which support Indonesia’s ambitions to achieve a 29 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.

Since the launch of its Forest Conservation Policy in February 2013, APP explains it has implemented initiatives to help communities develop alternative livelihoods, to reduce the risk of fires and achieve economic development while keeping Indonesia’s forests intact.

This new commitment to Indonesia’s communities is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate US$10 million per year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014.

APP’s commitment will be delivered through what the company describes as a series of pilot community agroforestry programs, which might include the sharing of: rearing initiatives for livestock; sustainable fruit and vegetable farming techniques; and forestry and business skills to enable alternative livelihoods that do not require the clearance of natural forest for further economic development.

“A key theme of COP21 is to ensure that economic development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection,” said Aida Greenbury, Managing Director, Sustainability, APP. “We believe that this new agroforestry program will help communities to achieve economic development while protecting Indonesia’s forests. The issues facing Indonesia’s forests need to be managed at the landscape level, and local communities have a very important stake in the forest. Whilst these program are at an early pilot stage, we will be working to help introduce and spread sustainable farming techniques that are compatible with forest protection.”

APP explains the programs will be designed to help reduce instances of conflict over land by providing less land-intensive development options and will help to reduce instances of land encroachment and slash and burn activities.
Rolland Enterprises Inc. of St-Jérôme, Quebec, has created a new policy, developed in cooperation with Vancouver not-for-profit Canopy, to advance the protection of endangered forests, engage in the research and development of alternatives to tree fibre, and to avoid all controversial forest fibre sources.
 
“Rolland has a track record of setting the pace for eco-paper development and post-consumer recycling,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy's Executive Director. “By expanding their vision to avoid controversial fibre and sourcing from endangered forests such as the Boreal, Rolland stands out as a sustainability leader at the vanguard of change in the North American pulp and paper industry.”
 
Rolland Enterprises, which has been providing recycled fibres for decades, advanced its existing policy with the following new specific commitments:

- End the use of wood fibre sourced from endangered forests and controversial suppliers;
-  Avoid fibre sourced from Intact Forest Landscapes, such as the intact forests of the Boreal;
- Play an active role in the research, development and commercial scale production of pulp and paper from alternative fibre sources such as straw;
- Support visionary solutions that protect endangered forests in the Coastal Temperate Rainforests of Vancouver Island and North America's Great Bear Rainforest, Canada's Boreal Forests, and Indonesia's Rainforests; and
- Continue producing papers with 30 to 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled content.  

“These commitments are an integral part of Rolland's plans to remain a competitive player in the challenging North American paper industry,” said Rolland CEO, Philip Rundle. "Rolland is excited to remain at the forefront of meeting customers' growing needs for sustainable products into the future.”
 
Canopy has worked closely with Rolland's St-Jérôme mill over the past 13 years to advance solutions, including the development of the paper company’s partipcation in the initiative to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper in the printing of the Canadian edition of Harry Potter in 2003 and 2005.

In 2011, Canopy and Rolland again collaborated in another groundbreaking initiative – a North American first – with the production of straw paper made from agricultural residues. This limited edition paper was used to print a special edition of Margaret Atwood's book, In Other Worlds, and Alice Munro's, Dear Life.
Alliance Printing of Coquitlam, British Columbia, is being highlighted for driving its operation into environmentally progressive printing practices, spearheaded by its 6-year participation in Agfa Graphics’ GreenWorks program.

In 2009, Alliance Printing replaced its chemistry-based computer-to-plate system and moved to thermal imaging technology focused around Agfa’s Azura plate, using ThermoFuse graining technology. Today, the BC printer is employing Agfa’s chemistry-free Azura TS plate. Azura TS is a thermal, negative-working plate designed for low- to medium-run volumes.

“Our waste was cut significantly and there’s no more chemistry to treat before disposal,” said said Shawn Taghvaei, President and owner of Alliance Printing. “What used to take hours cleaning the processor now only takes minutes, and dumping chemistry every month due to oxidation has become a thing of the past.”

Taghvaei continues to explain that the patented graining on the Azura plate allows Alliance Printing to run with much less water, resulting in less ink on the sheets and faster make readies. Alliance Printing, explains Taghvaei, also recycles all of its off-cut papers, cardboard and plates, in addition to using vegetable-based inks for printing and recycling of the company’s toner cartridges.

“Commercial printers like Shawn at Alliance Printing are not only doing a service to their customer, but to the planet,” said Deborah Hutcheson, Director of Marketing at Agfa Graphics, North America. “We are fully supportive of endeavors that are eco-friendly, but also improve commercial printers’ end products and relationship with their customers for increased profits and greater success.”
In its continuing efforts to build itself an environmentally progressive paper supplier, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced plans to install in excess of 200 mega-watts (MW) of solar power capacity across eight Chinese mills. The move represents an additional 129.5 MW of capacity to be built on the 70.5 MW installed during the previous year.

The collective rooftop solar capacity of the eight Chinese mills will generate enough energy to power more than 500,000 homes. It is anticipated to be the largest solar project within the pulp-and-paper industry, and amongst the largest rooftop solar projects anywhere in the world.

The solar project will result in the installation of approximately four million square metres of solar panels, the equivalent of 560 football pitches. The panels will be installed at APP operations at Gold East, Gold Hongye, Gold Huasheng, Hainan Jinhai, Yalong, Ningbo Zhonghua, Ningbo Asia and Guangxi Jingui mills in China.

The project, being developed by a consortium of Chinese solar manufacturers, forms part of a wider Chinese Government strategy to increase distributed solar power capacity. Energy generated by the project will be supplied into the national power grid. APP in turn will receive discounted electricity from the national grid.

“This project means APP will benefit from efficiency savings, while also making an important contribution to the local communities around our mills through the generation of clean and renewable power,” said Bingjian Sun, Communications General Manager for APP-China. “It is a great example of how sustainability can have a positive effect on planet and people as well as profit. It also supports the Chinese Government’s commitment to increase the proportion of renewable energy in China to 20 percent by 2030.

“As one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies, we recognize the important role we must play in helping reduce global emissions. Whether through facilitating the growth of renewable energy in China, reducing emissions from peatlands in Indonesia or cutting energy usage in our operations globally, we know we can have a significant impact.”
 
All 200 MW of capacity is expected to be installed within the next three to five years. China is the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, investing more than $89.5 billion in 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In solar power alone, the Chinese Government is committed to the annual development of a minimum of 10 GW of capacity between 2013 and 2015.

3M, the world’s largest adhesives developer, with $32 billion in annual sales and 90,000 employees, announced a significant new pulp-and-paper sourcing policy. The company states the policy is designed to ensure all the virgin wood fibre going into 3M’s paper-based products and packaging comes from sources that protect forests and respect human rights.

3M’s new policy does not allow any wood fibre to be linked to deforestation or illegal operations. All paper-based products and packaging suppliers working with the company are required to provide information on the original forest sources of the virgin pulp in 3M’s products, and allow those sources to be assessed against 3M’s policy.

Implementation of the policy throughout 3M’s global operations involves more than 70 countries and 5,000 pulp-and-paper suppliers, each with their own manufacturing facilities and supply chains.

The policy also requires protection of high carbon stock forests and high conservation values, like intact forest landscapes, peatlands and the habitat of endangered species. 3M’s newly revised policy comes on the heels of a multi-year campaign by ForestEthics challenging the company to strengthen its commitment to protect forests and endangered wildlife, and to support rights of forest-impacted communities. Greenpeace joined the campaign in 2014.

“3M had the vision and the commitment back in the 1970s to endeavor to address its climate impact, and they did so with great effect. We knew they had the capacity and the smarts to take the same approach with forests,” said Todd Paglia, Executive Director, ForestEthics. “[The policy] today is industry leading and represents exactly the type of innovation that 3M is known for.”

To update its preexisting policy, 3M worked with The Forest Trust (TFT) and Dovetail Partners to learn more about the threats facing forests in its supply chain. 3M and TFT together will map 3M’s supply chains back to source and assess them against the 3M policy.

“We are excited to be working with 3M on this important effort to transform the global pulp-and-paper market to be drivers of forest protection, and to clearly send a message that deforestation is unacceptable,” said Scott Poynton, Founder and Executive Director, The Forest Trust.

The new 3M policy also sets company standards relating to social concerns, including what 3M describes as respect for workers’ rights and indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent to operations on their traditional lands.

“We are taking responsibility for making sure our pulp-and-paper suppliers meet the requirements of the policy, and help them to raise their performance if necessary,” said Jean Sweeney, VP, 3M Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability Operations.

Asia Pulp & Paper states it engaged the Rainforest Alliance to provide an independent evaluation of its Forest Conservation Policy, which was first announced in February 2013. Rainforest Alliance’s evaluation, released last week, concludes that the company has made moderate progress towards meeting its commitments.

Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP) 2013 Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) included plans to put an immediate end to sourcing pulpwood materials from suppliers involved with natural forest clearance, among a range of large-scale initiatives.

Asia Pulp & Paper Group is the trade name for a group of pulp and paper manufacturing companies in Indonesia and China. Started in 1972 with Tjiwi Kimia producing caustic soda, APP now runs operations across Indonesia and China with an annual combined pulp, paper, packaging product and converting capacity of over 19 million tons per year.

“The FCP is an unprecedented initiative developed by APP, TFT and Greenpeace to define a new standard and a new business model for achieving zero deforestation in the supply chain,” said Aida Greenbury, APP’s Managing Director of Sustainability. “We’re pleased that the Rainforest Alliance has recognized the progress we are making. We believe today’s report shows that our efforts to achieve Zero Deforestation are on the right track.”

Greenbury continues to state APP’s implementation measures of its FCP will evolve with experience and that the report has highlighted a number of areas that require additional focus. “We also believe that an evaluation like this puts a global spotlight on the issues currently at play in Indonesia’s forests,” said Greenbury. “We have been calling for other stakeholders to support us with our Zero Deforestation Policy because forest continues to be lost due to factors that, despite our efforts, we cannot completely control, such as encroachment, forest fires and illegal activities.”

APP states it engaged the Rainforest Alliance to evaluate its FCP progress to provide credibility and transparency. Rainforest Alliance’s evaluation report assesses a period between February 2013 and August 2014.

“In 2013 APP set out an ambitious program for change. The Rainforest Alliance has found that APP has made moderate progress to implement the many commitments embedded in its FCP during the 18-month period we evaluated,” stated Richard Donovan, Rainforest Alliance Senior VP of Forestry. “Key steps have been taken, such as halting the clearance of natural forest by its suppliers. As with any major change initiative there remains work to be done to put the policies and procedures that have been developed into action in the field. Rainforest Alliance encourages APP to continue on the path set out in the FCP.”
 
APP’s new FCP Implementation Plan, also introduced last week, draws upon some of Rainforest Alliance’s most significant findings relating to third-party forest clearance, peatland best management practices, as well as FPIC and social conflict resolution. The additional areas covered in the Implementation Plan are: Wildfire prevention and management; HCV Management and protection; Workers’ rights and welfare; Sustainable wood supply; Landscape conservation initiative; and Internal engagement.

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