Today’s guest post comes from Daniel Hall, director of the market solutions program at Forest Ethics, and as you can see it’s all about paper. It’s easy enough for most consumers to buy recycled paper. Just about every retailer sells it. What’s just as important, if not more so, are the broader policies and practices of retailers when it comes to environmental protection and particularly forests, since we use so much paper. In its annual report card on the office supply industry (an approach known as “rank ’em and spank ’em” in NGO lingo), Forest Ethics and its partner, the Dogwood Alliance, identify industry leaders and laggards. You can read Daniel’s analysis below the chart.
This year’s Green Grades Office Supply Report Card evaluates more companies than ever on a more comprehensive set of criteria than ever. With that in mind, it’s especially encouraging to see more companies actually making the grade, and joining sector leaders to use their purchasing power to benefit the environment. Others, of course, lag way behind and continue to create a market for forest destruction. We look forward to working with these companies to help them stop sourcing paper that harms Endangered Forests, wildlife, and the climate, and to increase their use of the good stuff, i.e., recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.
Here’s the summary: Many companies are distancing themselves from two of the world’s most controversial paper companies, International Paper and Asia Pulp & Paper. FedEx Office, Staples, and Office Depot are making great strides in shifting their sourcing to paper from FSC-certified forests.
That’s great to see when schemes like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative are trying to pass themselves off as green eco-labels, which not only misleads consumers but also undercuts the hard work of companies that sincerely want to be more sustainable.
In other words: Greenwash. This year we have a small ‘Greenwash’ section to highlight some of the lowlights of green spin. Several companies in this report card talk a green game while supporting destructive practices.
The image you see above shows the grades earned by each company, plus their performance on the six topics that we considered in arriving at those overall grades. The actual report card, available at our website , explains these six topics, provides highlights of each company’s performance, and also provides examples of greenwashing.
Our advice? Minimize your use of paper, look for post-consumer recycled and FSC certified paper and shop with the companies that have earned high marks. They deserve it, as does our planet.