HOW INDUSTRY CAN IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY IMAGE AND INCREASE SALES
The Mill Products and Mining industries face a difficult public image problem as being the source of many sustainability issues facing us today such as increases in greenhouse gases, pollution of water and air, destruction of habitat and rampant corporate greed at the expense of indigenous people. In some cases consumers make buying choices based on their perception of the industry resulting in lower sales volumes and profits.
The forest products industry in particular came under a lot of adverse publicity for clear cutting forests and reducing old growth that seemingly reduced the capacity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester carbon. Lack of recycling was also prominent in criticism of the forest industry. Over the last 20+ years the forest industry has responded to these shortcomings and the vast majority of forest companies have implemented a lot of process changes from forest certification, recycling of paper and packaging to generating internal energy from wood waste. Individual companies work to tell their own
stories but many also participate in government and/or nonprofit organizations whose goal is to promote the sustainability of forest products and regain
support for forest products. Two examples I would like to provide are – Two Sides and the USDA Paper Check-Off.
The organization has many country specific branches and you can find a lot of SAP forest products customers as supporters such as: Cascades,
Domtar, Mitsubishi, Koehler Paper, International Paper, NewPage, SAPPI, UPM and many more.
Two Sides was created in 2008 with members from the Graphic Communications Supply Chain, creating a forum for the industry to work together and share
experiences; improving standards and practices; maximising customer confidence in our products. The following is from their website: www.twosides.info
We are an initiative by companies from the Graphic Communications Supply Chain including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators. Our common goal is to promote the sustainability of the Graphics Communication Supply chain and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.
By uniting with common purpose behind ‘Two Sides’, the Graphic Communications Supply Chain, led by sustainable and responsible forestry, paper production and printing, aspires to ensure that, in a world of scarce resources, Print and Paper’s unique recyclable and renewable qualities can be enjoyed for generations to come. ‘Two Sides’ is further committed to ensuring that Print and Paper also remains a versatile, effective and powerful means of marketing and communication, stretching the imagination and imparting knowledge.
We are “not-for-profit” organisation and endeavour to implement our Mission Statement and in turn will seek to reinforce confidence in the Graphic
Communications Supply Chain by:
- Making it a condition of Membership that Members adopt the Two Sides Principles Promoting an understanding of the environmental issues which are of concern to all stakeholders
- Promoting the sustainability of the Graphic Communications Supply Chain by publicising the positive steps are taking to reduce their environmental impact that members Making available to all Stakeholders, facts and information concerning the industry’s sustainability and performance
- Reacting to inaccurate and misleading environmental statements made about the Graphic Communications Supply Chain by engaging with the various communication media and clearly setting out the environmental facts
- Better explaining and communicating the sustainability and effectiveness of Print and Paper versus the alternative media
There is some great information in the tab ‘Myths and Facts’ that addresses many misconceptions about the forest industry.
US Dept. of Agriculture – Paper Check-Off
What Is a Check-Off?
Authorized by federal legislation, a Check-off is designed to maintain and expand markets for an industry’s products. Check-offs are governed by an Order that sets the parameters of the program and are run by an industry nominated board of directors appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. While program funds may not be used for lobbying or advocacy, they are available for informational, educational, and promotional activities in support of an industry’s products.
The Paper Check-off Board is representative of the various geographic regions for domestic manufacturers of the covered products, as well as importers. The individuals appointed to serve on the Paper Check-off Board are: Michael P. Doss (Graphic Packaging International); Bernd Eikens (UPM Paper ENA); Christian Fischer (Georgia-Pacific); Rodger D. Fuller (Sonoco Products Company); Brian E. Janki (Glatfelter); Mark W. Kowlzan (Packaging
Corporation of America); Jennifer L. Miller (Sappi Fine Paper North America); Julie Schertell (Neenah Paper Inc.); Steven Voorhees (RockTenn);
Michael A. Weinhold (Verso Paper Corp.); John D. Williams (Domtar); and Ann B. Wrobleski (International Paper). (Note that 9 out of 11 of these are SAP
Why a Check-Off?
Check-offs has successfully turned the tables for a wide array of industries providing returns on investment ranging from:
- A 17.5 percent increase in annual propane sales, thanks to a $39 million a year investment
- For each dollar invested in the program, the pork industry estimates a return of $4.79, while the beef industry reports $5.55, the soybean industry $6.75, and the watermelon industry slightly more than $10
In the case of the paper industry, current research indicates that messages about our sustainability practices provide significant opportunities to change consumer behavior and educate purchasing decision makers. Messages highlighting that our products are reusable, recyclable, and come from trees that are replanted, for example, resulted in meaningful improvements in overall industry perceptions. These perceptions will contribute to an increase in the sale of paper-based packaging and slow the decline for printing and writing grades.
SAP Mill Products & Mining are working hard to improve their corporate and industry image by sincere work to meet sustainability goals and standards. This will also benefit operations and profitability as their customers support the products they produce.