Saturday, 30 November 2013

Sustainably sourced Christmas Cards

Back in 2011, BFTF went off to ASDA to buy some Christmas cards, but could not find any that were made of sustainably sourced card (such as recycled or FSC certified), so sent off this message:
Dear Asda,
It is great to see that there are a number of paper based products as ASDA are made from sustainable sourced (e.g. FSC certified) paper. So imagine my surpise when I visited my local store to buy some Christmas cards and could not find any sustainably sourced cards. And if they aren't made with sustainably sourced paper, then they are probably made with UNsustainably sourced paper, a chopped down rainforest perhaps?

So I went to Sainsburys where, to my delight, all the cards were made with FSC certified paper (and were very reasonably priced too). As is often the case, I bought some other goods at the same time.

ASDA, for the sake of gettting your cards made with cheaper card you lost out on a bunch of other high margin purchases and left me thinking that you have a character that is more like Ebenezer Scrooge than Bob Cratchit.

I would urge you to reconsider your purchasing policies in this area for next year, so that I can buy Christmas cards from ASDA with a clear conscience.

Sustainably sourced cards from Sainsburys.

Whereas UNsustainably sourced cards might be made by doing this to a natural forest

BFTF also sent an email to Sainsburys thanking them for stocking FSC certified Christmas cards and also emails to some local churches asking whether they had considered challenging retailers on this issue.

UPDATE : 20th Dec 2011:Received a very quick response from ASDA saying that:
"... I've passed your comments and observation over to our Buying Team, here at Asda House for them to be aware and to consider stocking sustainably sourced Christmas cards across our stores. They'll bear this in mind and for their future consideration for next year... "

It't worth noting that previous guests on the BFTF radio shown have commented that it can take as little as half a dozen letters to make a company change its policies.

UPDATE : 09 DEC 2012:Tried to get local churches interested in this again this year but only one Church replied and the dialogue kinda fizzled. The Christian-Muslim Forum suggested that it might be worth contacting denominations, rather than churches...

Update : Dec 2012: The Quakers promptly replied and said that :
"It is not an issue we are working on, nor one we probably have the capacity to work on the future, though I do agree it would be a great little campaign! And potentially quite winnable I would think. You may be interested in the work of ECCR (the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility): [who]are focused on holding companies to account, so may chime with your interests more broadly..."
Update Apr 2013: Following emails in Dec12, Jan13, Feb13, Mar 13, Mar13(again) the Methodist Church finally got back to BFTF saying that they had sent an email to ASDA and received a response similar to that of BFTF, but including comments appreciative of the query coming well in advance of Christmas in order that there is time for the suggestion to be implemented.

Sustainable Christmas Cards 2013
In terms of the sustainability of the card used in the own-brand Christmas card ranges being sold by the major supermarkets it is clear that some companies are doing a much better job than others:

Sainsbury's use sustainably sourced FSC certifed card. Well Done !
Sainsbury's : FSC certified card used throughout! Well Done!

M&S also from sustainable FSC certifed card. Well Done !
M&S cards made with sustainable, FSC certified, card. Well done!

Co-op also use sustainable FSC certifed card. Well Done ! 
Co-op cards made with sustainable, FSC certified card. Well done!

John Lewis also use FSC certifed card, according to the FSC. Well Done !

TescoAfter being challenged, Tesco say they use FSC stock but don't state this on the cards
Tesco do use FSC stock, it seems.

Asda DON'T seem to be using sustainably sourced card. Oh dear.
Asda : No evidence that sustainably sourced card has been used.

So it's pretty clear where to get your Christmas cards from if you want to support sustianable forestry and reduce deforestation.

Update 13th Dec: Having had no response from Asda on Twitter, decided to take it to the next level and started a petition. Would be great if you could sign!

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