The use of environmentally preferable papers:

  • Reduces the impacts on forests worldwide
  • Reduces the need to convert forests into tree farms
  • Conserves water, energy and greenhouse gases
  • Strengthens the market for recycled and alternative fibres
  • Prevents pollution
  • protect biodiversity

Environmentally Preferable Paper Purchasing Guidance
Purchasers can influence the paper production process through the paper attributes that they demand, as well as through the products that they specify or reject. Consumer demand has long been an important driver in the development of environmentally preferable papers and in influencing the technologies and investments necessary to make them. In order to most effectively harness purchasers’ power to steer the paper industry toward more sustainable production methods, we advocate that paper purchasers implement the following guidance.

Make a commitment
Develop an organisational policy commitment to purchase paper with increasingly enhanced environmental characteristics as specified in these guidelines and set a timetable for the transition. Communicate the commitment to managers and staff, suppliers, customers, partners and the public.

Minimise paper consumption
Eliminate excessive and unnecessary paper consumption. Examples include:

  • Purchasing copiers, printers and fax machines that can be set to default to double-sided printing
  • Maximising paper use efficiency in business and other settings
  • Rethinking design processes to minimise printing and copying waste
  • Minimising unsolicited mail, both sent and received
  • Minimising overruns and maximising sell-through for published materials

Maximise Recycled Content

  • Reduce the use of paper and paper products (including newsprint, packaging, tissue products, office papers and publications) made from 100% virgin fibre content.
  • Switch to paper that contains the highest post-consumer recycled content feasible for each specific need.
  • After switching to recycled paper, set a timeline for increasing the post-consumer content as quickly as possible to higher percentages.
  • After maximising post-consumer recycled content, give preference to paper products that also contain other recovered materials (e.g. agricultural residues, pre-consumer fibre, annual renewable fibre).

Be selective about Virgin Fibre Content

  • Supply Origin: Verify with suppliers and manufacturers the source of any virgin fibre content in paper and give preference to suppliers and manufacturers that establish a credible ‘Chain of Custody’ tracking system to reliably identify the origin or fibre sources.
  • Endangered forests: Give preference to papers guaranteed to be free of fibre that threatens endangered forests. (Some forests are so rare, threatened or ecologically vulnerable, or are of such global biological or cultural importance that any logging of commercial use could irreparably damage their conservation value). End the use of paper with fibre content known to threaten endangered forests. Environmental groups are compiling information on endangered forests and making it more widely available.
  • Forest conversion to plantations: Give preference to papers that can be guaranteed to be free of fibres from the conversion of diverse natural forest ecosystems into plantations. End the use of any paper with fibre content known to come from recent or ongoing conversions of natural forests to plantations.

For more information see:

  • Alternative fibres: Give preference to papers made from alternative fibre crops (e.g. hemp, kenaf); alternative fibres are environmentally and socially preferable to other sources of virgin fibre.
  • Alternatively modified organisms: Do not buy papers with fibre content known to come from transgenically modified trees and plants that have genes of other animals and plants inserted.

Give preference to Chlorine-free papers
Give preference to papers processed without chlorine or chlorine compounds (i.e. ‘processed chlorine free’ or PCF papers), as long as they also meet recycled content goals.

Spread the word
Print on documents an accurate description of the attributes of the environmentally preferable papers used, in order to raise awareness and accountability.