The Canadian Press is reporting that a coalition of 15 organizations, including environmentalists, retailers and taxpayer advocates, has been formed to fight Toronto's upcoming ban on plastic bags.

In June 2012, Toronto became the first major Canadian city to pass law that would ban retailers from offering plastic bags to consumers. Toronto City Council voted 27 to 17 to make the plastic-bag ban effective on January 1, 2013.

The council vote came as somewhat of a surprise to Toronto’s embattled mayor, Rob Ford, who was originally pushing to scrap the city’s 5¢ bag fee during the June 6 vote. An outright ban of plastic bags was never on the council’s agenda and had not been debated or studied by the city.

On the morning after council’s vote to ban the plastic bag, Ford told AM640, a local Toronto radio station, “It’s the dumbest thing council has done and council has done some dumb things.”

According to The Canadian Press, the new alliance of 15 organizations launched a campaign at city hall on Monday to inform the public about the ban's shortcomings. Spokesperson Kevin Gaudet stated eliminating plastic bags will cause job losses in the plastic manufacturing industry, including family-owned small businesses.

The coalition says the ban won't reduce pollution, as some supporters have argued. The group says consumers will start using more paper bags, which don't recycle well and consume three times the energy to produce.

Canopy, Prairie Pulp & Paper (PPP), and Offsetters have worked together to produce what the group refers to as an unprecedented life cycle study of the greenest paper option – alongside properly 100 percent recycled papers – available to Canadian consumers.

The report, available for download, focuses on Prairie Pulp & Paper’s Step Forward product, a recently introduced wheat straw copy paper made from 80 percent straw and 20 percent stock certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The report itself compares Step Forward Paper to other copy paper types sold in North America.

The retail launch of Step Forward, currently available on the shelves at every Staples store in Canada, is described by Prairie Pulp & Paper, based in Manitoba, as “phase one” of its plans to develop and commercialize tree-free pulp. “Phase two” will include constructing a 100 percent tree-free pulp mill in the Canadian prairies where millions of tons of leftover straw are readily available.

Offsetters is a Vancouver-based carbon management solutions provider, while Canopy, also headquartered in Vancouver, is a non-profit organization deeply involved with fostering new paper manufacturing that relies on agricultural residue, such as wheat-straw.

Canopy is inviting companies that want to help build the market for agricultural residue paper to complete a survey found at the following link.

Canopy market survey


Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. for the first time has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes were the first global sustainability indexes tracking the financial performance of companies in conjunction with environmental and social performance.

In addition, this is the fourth consecutive year that Konica Minolta has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index (DJSI Asia Pacific). Besides the DJSI World and DJSI Asia Pacific, Konica Minolta has been included in the FTSE4Good Global Index of the UK-based FTSE Group and the Japan-based Morningstar Socially Responsible Investment Index.

"Konica Minolta remains committed to being a responsible partner in all sectors of our business and on a global scale," said Kevin Kern, Senior VP, Marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. "Our inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index reflects our progress in this crucial area of corporate management."
Konica Minolta Holdings, which oversees the company’s worldwide operations, is currently focused on three environmental initiatives, including; the Green Products Certification System; the Green Factory Certification System; and the Green Marketing activities.

Adding to a series of environmentally focused announcements in 2012, Asia Pulp & Paper Group has now made a pledge to source 100 percent of its fibre from tree plantations by 2015.

The pledge is to be part of APP’s Sustainability Roadmap for 2020 and Beyond initiative. According to APP, if it fulfills this 2015 plantation pledge, it will be 10 years ahead of the publicly stated goals of other global paper industry players.

"The old way of gauging a paper product’s sustainability was to look at percent of recycled content, but this should not be the only barometer. Fibre age is equally if not more important,” stated Ian Lifshitz, North American Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs for APP. “Our business aim is to be wholly reliant on tree farms in Southeast Asia, and trees from these plantations can be harvested, re-planted, re-grown and harvested again in just six years. That is obviously in stark contrast to the process of harvesting old-growth trees in North America – a process that takes 70 to 80 years.”

APP also recently announced that its production mills are the first in Indonesia to achieve SVLK certification, which is the country’s new wood legality standard.

A straw-based paper that uses 80 percent less forest fibre than traditional paper is now available for consumers in Canada. The paper, branded Step Forward Paper, is designed by Prairie Pulp and Paper Inc. and is being carried by Staples Canada stores.

“Paper made from leftover straw produces high quality and performance that compares with other copy and printer papers,” said Pete Gibel, Vice President of Merchandising at Staples Canada. “It’s an easy and cost-effective way for consumers and small businesses to conserve our world’s forests without sacrificing quality.”

Step Forward Paper is created from 80 percent straw left over as a byproduct of harvest wheat crops. The remaining 20 percent is sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood fibre. The paper is currently manufactured in India, but the company plans to build a new state-of-the-art facility in Manitoba to further reduce the product's carbon footprint.

“Step Forward Paper is the first paper of its kind to hit shelves in North America, and the first step toward meeting more of our paper needs from straw instead of ancient forests,” says Jeff Golfman, Prairie Pulp and Paper President. The company has partnered with Canopy to market the product. In 20TK, an issue of Canadian Geographic as well as a novel by Margaret Atwood was produced on the straw paper.

“Our market survey continues to quantify a clear and growing demand from large paper customers for paper made from leftover straw,” said Amanda Carr, Canopy’s Campaign
Director. “Now we’re excited because shoppers like you and I can pick up Step Forward Paper™ and support a straw paper industry in North America, a key to protecting our
endangered ancient forests.”

Canopy, a Vancouver-based not-for-profit organization primarily focused on the paper-supply chain, has launched a new initiative which aims to identify the most environmental printers in North America. The organization will circulate a survey to identify the ones demonstrating the highest green standards.

“Customers with sustainability goals, paper procurement policies and environmental programs are asking for our help to identify printers who embrace their green goals," said Neva Murtha, Canopy Print Campaigner. “Our new survey is responding to the needs of a growing green marketplace by distinguishing printers moving forward on issues of sustainable paper purchasing and forest protection.”

The survey will be confidential, with no failing grades assigned for participants.

“As more printers develop policies with support from Canopy, the Green Print Leadership Survey will help refine and distinguish the leaders from the pack,” added Marcus Ginder, Canopy Print Campaigner.

All printers are invited to complete the voluntary, no-fee online survey to gain third-party recognition of their sustainability efforts. The survey can be found here.

Hemlock Printers continues to build its standing as one of North America’s most environmentally progressive printing operations as the Burnaby, BC, company became Canada’s first printer to partner with Green-e certification.

The Green-e initiative is another way in which Hemlock is reducing its operational carbon footprint, which the company reports to have decreased by 24 percent since 2008.

Developed by the Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e is described as an independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. The certification is recognized as an independent and international verification program.

By purchasing renewable-energy credits for electricity used, Hemlock is contributing to the development of recently built North American energy facilities and renewable energy projects in both Canada and the United States.

Through its new certification, Hemlock is also participating in the Green-e Marketplace re:print, a program that grants use of the Green-e logo on materials sourced from paper and printers that use renewable energy – for both printer and client. Green-e Marketplace certifies such printers and paper lines involved with solar, wind, and biomass energy, among other sources.

The Green-e certification was largely driven by Hemlock’s earlier partnership with Climate Smart, which is a Vancouver-based social enterprise that helps small and medium business measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Smart, currently has over 550 businesses as alumni in the program.

In terms of reducing its carbon footprint, Hemlock is also involved with FortisBC, which provides credits for renewable natural gas, based on methane gas generated from organic waste found at local farms and landfills in BC. Hemlock also works closely with Offsetters, Canopy, and the Forestry Stewardship Council.

Sprint Nextel, at the recent Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, unveiled environmentally progressive plans to produce customer invoicing and direct mail with an inventive two-in-one reusable envelope. The company also announced an aggressive new Paper & Print Procurement Policy to support sustainable forest management.

With assistance from Vancouver’s Canopy, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the corporate implementation of progressive paper policies, Sprint set a goal to increase its use of recycled content to 25 percent by 2017, while also supporting the development of alternative paper-fibre sources, such as residue from agricultural crops, and reduce its use of paper with toxic chlorine bleaching.

One of Sprint’s more aggressive environmental goals is to have at least 50 percent of its print suppliers comply with its environmental and social criteria by the end 2012, and at least 90 percent to comply by year-end 2017. Sprint’s new paper policy also includes commitments to pursue supplier assessments with Canopy using chain-of-custody forms to ensure its paper products do not come from endangered forests and other controversial sources.

“Sprint is already well-known as an environmental leader among the Fortune 100, and recent updates to their Paper & Print Procurement Policy further distinguishes the company from its competitors in this area,” said Amanda Carr, Campaigns Director, Canopy. “And today they have acted on that policy with this major step in reducing their paper use.”

Sprint’s new commitment to the two-in-one ecoEnvelope, developed by a women-owned company in Minnesota, allows customers to receive and remit payment using the same envelope. In just over a year, Sprint estimates the new envelope format will save close to a half million dollars in operational costs and – using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator – the equivalent of 447 tons of paper, 1,669 tons of wood (11,565 trees), 9,931,834 gallons of water (15 Olympic-sized swimming pools), 859,047 pounds of solid waste (31 loaded garbage trucks), and 2,692,185 pounds of CO2e (244 cars off the road per year).

“Sprint is the first wireless carrier and only one of a few select retailers to offer the ecoEnvelope to their customers,” said Scott Rice, VP of Sprint’s Care and Billing Services. “While more than 30 percent of Sprint accounts currently use a paperless billing option, many customers prefer to receive a paper invoice. The new bill format not only gives our customers a convenient method to remit payment but it will reduce paper waste, conserve natural resources, and lower paper consumption for Sprint.”
Last year, Sprint’s environmental paper policies were recognized by Forest Ethics, which awarded the company an “A” on its 2011 report card – making Sprint the only Fortune 500 company to receive such a high grade. Newsweek magazine ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings of companies in the United States.

Two weeks after announcing it will immediately suspend natural forest clearance on its own plantations in Indonesia, Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) today released its Sustainability Roadmap for 2020.

In late-May, APP announced it would base future environmental polices on the High Conservation Value (HCV) forest approach, which is a resource network that provides information and guidelines to identity “critical conservation values” for responsible land management of forests and other ecosystems.

“APP’s road-map reflects upon a paradigm of the way that Indonesian companies are shaping up for the challenges and opportunities of the next decade,” said Gita Wirjawan, Indonesia’s Minister for Trade. “The strategy is about how to become a global industry leader, and doing so in a sustainable way. This will be achieved through innovation, investment and internal transformation. APP’s Sustainability Roadmap will provide a blueprint for the group, as it seeks to become the number one pulp-and-paper company in the world before 2020.”

The release of the new Sustainability Roadmap extends APP’s environmental commitments in relation to its announcement from two weeks ago. Highlights of the new APP Sustainability Roadmap include:

• By 2015, APP will have the capacity to be wholly reliant on raw materials from plantations;

• By 2015, all current APP suppliers will operate by the standards of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF);

• By 2020, all current APP suppliers will have credible certification for Sustainable Forest Management; and

• APP will introduce carbon measurement and evaluation for its plantations – above and below ground.

AGI-Shorewood, one of the largest specialty-packaging manufacturers on the globe, announced that its Toronto site is the first packaging facility worldwide to earn PANTONE Certified Printer status – a designation introduced in May 2011 to help printers meet Pantone’s stringent colour standards.

While several commercial printing companies have earned Pantone’s certification status, none have been packaging manufacturers or board converters. “We couldn’t be prouder of the fact that AGI-Shorewood is the first in the world of packaging and converting to earn PANTONE Certified Printer status,” said Greg Chup, Manager of Innovation and New Product Development at AGI-Shorewood. “We have the unique ability among our peers to directly influence the sale at the point of purchase in a retail environment.”

According to Chup, AGI-Shorewood plans to implement the program in all of its lithographic facilities worldwide. Its Mexico operations in Aguascalientes, for which AGI-Shorewood recently acquired sole interest, is on the table next, followed by its plants in Indianapolis, Ind., and Hendersonville, N.C.

AGI-Shorewood U.S. and AGI-Shorewood International collectively employ nearly 4,000 people worldwide, operating 22 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America and 10 creative services offices in the U.S., U.K., France, China and Australia.

“Major brands invest millions on consumer research to ensure their packaging design has maximum impact, and they suffer at retail when there are visual differences at the point of purchase,” said Chup. “We’ve been working closely with Pantone over the last two years to create a solution that helps ensure packaging looks identical product to product whether they’re sitting next to each other on the shelf or they’re across the globe from one another.”

Pantone LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite Inc., which has been operating in the world of colour imaging for almost 50 years. “We are really delighted to have AGI-Shorewood participate in PANTONE Certification,” said Matthew McDowell, Pantone’s National Sales Manager. “Their strong global presence, high-end customer brands and broad product portfolio make AGI-Shorewood an ideal first partner in this category.”

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) of Jakarta, Indonesia, announced a series of new environmental policies based on the High Conservation Value (HCV) Forest approach, as well as its own commitments to a program called Seven Principles of Natural Forest Protection. The HCV policies are primarily being applied to APP’s interests in Indonesia.

According to hcvnetwork.org, the HCV Resource Network is made up of people and organizations that use the High Conservation Value approach to maintain and enhance critical social and environmental values of forests and other ecosystems through responsible land management.

APP announced it would immediately implement its new HCVF policies within two key frameworks:

1. With respect to APP owned concessions in Indonesia: 

Effective from June 1, 2012, APP will suspend natural forest clearance while HCVF assessments are conducted; APP has engaged experts to conduct HCVF assessments, in accordance with HCV Resource Network best practice; and APP will protect all identified HCVF areas as a result of the HCVF assessments.

2. With respect to APP’s independent pulpwood suppliers in Indonesia:

APP expects independent suppliers to comply with its request for HCVF assessments by 31 December 2014; APP will engage with its independent suppliers to adopt HCVF assessments; and APP will review and reevaluate supply agreements where HCVF assessments are not conducted.

“Effective immediately, we are embarking on a bold program to ensure we can offer our customers products with the highest environmental and social integrity, and to ensure delivery of a shared vision for the global community,” said Aida Greenbury, APP’s Managing Director of Sustainability. “We are taking account of critical issues raised in our dialogue with NGOs.”

“We are confident in our ability to embed these policies in our business, but we also acknowledge that success will require the engagement of many stakeholders,” said Robin Mailoa, CEO of Sinar Mas Forestry. “High Conservation Value Forest Management is a protocol that stretches beyond our own concessions and needs to be embraced and supported by members of local communities, government, civil societies and by everyone that touches the pulpwood production process.”

The Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) is the recipient of the 2012 Ontario Green Chemistry and Engineering Award, presented annually to one organization by the Chemical Institute of Canada.

According to the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC), the award, sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, recognizes a provincial organization that has made significant contributions to the field of green chemistry and engineering, including the technical, economic, human health and environmental benefits.
“Green chemistry and engineering is now a critical part of our materials design process,” said Paul Smith, Vice President, XRCC. “Our goal is to fully incorporate it in our everyday designs and processes so we can continue to deliver value to our customers through more sustainable and environmentally responsible materials. As chemists and engineers, we have great potential to impact the world in a positive way – this is something we take very seriously at XRCC.”
XRCC was established in 1974 as an exploratory materials research centre for Xerox Corporation. In the early 1980s, the centre moved to its current site in the Sheridan Science and Technology Park of Mississauga, Ontario, to focus on developing unique imaging and marking materials for Xerox products. 

The 120,000-square-foot complex is now recognized as the global materials research centre for Xerox. All Xerox printers on the market today contain at least one technology developed at XRCC. Since 1979, XRCC researchers have received more than 1,500 U.S. patents.

Saint-Jerome, Quebec-based Cascades Fine Papers was named the top among the companies surveyed for use of post-consumer fibre as well as FSC certified virgin fibre in a study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

The company scored an impressive 89 percent out of a total 100 percent achievable score when it came to sourcing fibres responsibly, leading the next highest company, Arjowiggins Graphic, by four percent. Cascades also placed second in sourcing responsible fibres for packaging use. 19 companies voluntarily allowed the WWF to conduct an in-depth analysis.

"WWF's Environmental Paper Company Index shows the significant and positive progress that the pulp and paper industry has made. Manufacturers are opening their doors not only to independent measurement of their environmental impact, but also to published comparisons of their performance," says Julie Loyer, Communication and Sustainable Development Advisor for Cascades Specialty Products Group. "This is very encouraging for a manufacturer like Cascades that has strived for many years to continuously reduce its environmental footprint."

The following companies were invited to take part, but declined:

Amcor, CMPC, DS Smithz, Hansol Paper, Holmen, IlimPulp, Klabin, Lee&Man, Mayr-Melnhof Karton, Nine Dragons, Papierfabrik Palm, Prinzhorn Holding, SmurfitKappa, APP, Hansol Paper, Lecta Europe, Lenzing, Norske Skog, Portucel Soporcel, Sappi, Shandong Chenming, Georgia Pacific, Lucart Group, Sharma, SHP Group, WEPA 
To see the full results, click here

Canopy released a new report, called Above the Fold: Environmental Leadership in the Newspaper Sector 2011, profiling North America’s top newspapers and newspaper publishers for forest conservation.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canopy is a not-for-profit organization focused on helping companies develop environmentally progressive practices in the printing and publishing industries.

Canopy describes the profiled newspapers and publishers, including the likes of The New York Times, Hearst, McClatchy and The Globe and Mail, as organizations that have incorporated elements of sustainability into their operations, business models and brands. Above the Fold also includes a few examples of worldwide environmental leaders like the Times of India and The Guardian.

The report acknowledges key issues like paper procurement policy development and implementation, production efficiencies, and engaging suppliers to support forest conservation.

“This report recognizes newspapers who are showing their competitors the green way forward,” said Tara Sawatsky of Canopy. “These publishers understand that sustainability is more than a social responsibility; it is a business priority and offers a competitive advantage.”

The report is being distributed by Canopy to 50 top advertisers in North America. A printed copy of the report (on 100 percent recycled newsprint) is available from Canopy, while the full Above the Fold report can be downloaded from its Website.

”Newspapers remain the largest paper consumer of any publishing sector, and as a result contribute heavily to the tremendous pressures on our forests and climate,” said Shannon Binns, Green Press Initiative. “We are hopeful that profiling leaders will shine a light on the opportunities for continued progress.”

Environmental paper promoter Canopy, formerly Markets Initiative, announced its inaugural Ancient Forest Friendly Awards recently. The awards are aimed at recognizing companies which took meaningful action in protecting the world's forests through the use of eco-conscious paper choices.

“Whether it’s magazine stand favourite Cottage Life or media‐print titan, Transcontinental, this year’s Ancient Forest Friendly Award winners are showing their competitors, customers, and advertisers what real leadership looks like,” says Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director, Canopy. “Everyone can make an important contribution to the health of our planet and we hope those who didn’t make this year’s list will be inspired to strengthen their performance in time for next year’s awards.”

In the category Ancient Forest Friendly Gold, awarded to companies and publications for use of Ancient Forest Friendly paper, the 2011 winners are: 1984 Printing; Cottage Life magazine; ecojot; Éditions de Villers; iGiveCards Inc.; Mountain Equipment Co‐op catalogues; MultiMondes; Saul Good Gift Co.; Quill & Quire; and Watershed Sentinel.

In the category Conservation Supporters, awarded for advancing the protection of the world’s remaining intact and endangered forests through landmark conservation initiatives such as the Boreal Forest Agreement and Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, the 2011 winners are: Scholastic Canada and Transcontinental.

Award recipients will be honoured in Toronto this Thursday. To attend the awards ceremony, please contact Neva Murtha for more information.

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