Thursday, 10 December 2015

Why your organisation should use sustainably sourced paper.

Companies who do the right thing
Sustainable printing in Nottingham

Paper is made, of course, from cut down trees. But if those trees have been cut down indiscriminately, without regard for the environment, there can be severe consequences. For example, the WWF says this about the impact of the paper industry on forests:

"While some of this timber is grown in well-managed forests and plantations, too much of it is still the result of illegal logging and the destruction of old-growth and high conservation value forests....for example, the remaining natural forests in Sumatra, Borneo, New Guinea, Russian Far East are endangered because of growing demand for pulpwood, among other threats.

Forests also maintain the world’s abundant biodiversity, essential for life on Earth. The activities of the pulp and paper sector in these places threaten the habitats of several rare wildlife species such as Asian big cats (including tigers), Asian elephant, Asian rhinos, and orangutans."

An example of what unsustainable logging looks like can be seen below (link):
Cheap paper is cheap because it leaves the landscape looking like this.

The best way to ensure that the paper you buy does not have these adverse environmental effects is to use recycled paper, or to use paper made from trees that have been independently certified as being grown in a sustainable way e.g. (FSC certified). Certification schemes are not perfect however, and some schemes are better than others.

Often, when BFTF asks organisations what their policy is on the source of the paper they use, the response is along the lines of "we recycle and try to reduce paper useage, but we are have a tight budget and cannot afford to spend extra on FSC or recycled paper"

This kind of attitude is perhaps to be expected from hard nosed commercial companies, but BFTF has a hard time understanding how faith based charities, who claim to care for the environment, can respond in this way.

And yet that is exactly what often happens.

The irony is doubled when the charities are working in far off lands to combat the effects of climate change or deforestation - while contributing to those very problems by buying the cheapest paper they can.

Far from being a cost to be avoided, paying extra for sustainably sourced paper is a way of achieving their charitable aims, a way of protecting the environment, a way of protecting those people in distant lands - who are most at risk from the effects of deforestation.

Perhaps an analogy can help here...

Imagine a town council that is seeing the number of people in the hospital A&E rise over time, with the patients often being the victim of violent crime and theft. The council is having to pay a lot of money to treat these people, and even after treatment they are left with long term psychological problems due to the trauma they have faced. The Mayor is really upset that so many people are suffering in the town.

An official comes to visit from another town and is shocked by the situation, he goes to the Mayor and says "What is the matter with you? Why is there only one policeman for the whole town, and no jail or courthouse? No wonder crime is rampant and people are being beaten up and robber everywhere!

The Mayor responds with "Well, we get our police service provided by COPSuLIKE, switching to a proper police service would cost more money and we are under cost pressures so can't justify it"

The visitor responds with "but can't you see - the crime level (and A&E bill) is so high partly BECAUSE you aren't funding a proper police force"

The Mayor "Oh, I'd never looked at it like that"

To give some context of what this means in the Muslim community, the typical weight of a mailshot that BFTF receives from a Muslim charity is ~90g. If we assume there are ten major charities operating, each doing two 10,000 letter mailshots per year, then the total amount of paper used will be around 18 tonnes, which equates to around 430 trees (each 12m tall and 15-20cm in diameter).

IMPORTANT : About a quarter of man made CO2 emissions are due to deforestation. (see here for a short history of climate science)

Companies who do the right thing
There are many organisations that DO do the right thing, whether for commercial or for moral reasons, here are a few examples:

Dec 2016 : A couple of emails to revealed that their printer uses FSC paper, and has the option of using recycled too.

Nov 2016 : Great to find that FSC paper is used in new titles at Chickpea Press

Jan 2016 : Islamic Help have switched to a 100% recycled grade of office paper, commenting that it was for "not much more cost than existing supplies".

Oct 2015 : Al-Mustafa Trust International (ATI) have been using 75% FSC certified paper since 2009.

Receipt from Aldi

Weekly Offers leaflet at Aldi
Junk Mail from the Royal Mail

Receipt from Boots caption

Sustainably sourced cards from Sainsburys.

FSC Toys at Tesco

"FSC packaging on a CatEye cycle light pack"

Sustainable printing in Nottingham
Please note - at some printers FSC/recycled paper/card is only available is specifically asked for it - so make sure FSC (or recylced) paper is mentioned in your order!

Bexons, Daybrook, 0115 920 6644,
Instaprint, Lace Market, 0115 895 0136,
Ratcliff & Roper, City Centre, 0845 658 0024,
Print Toaster,
Pyramid Press, Sherwood, 0115 962 6262,

Related Content
Sustainably sourced Christmas cards
Independent Panel on Forestry Report
Frustrating Fast Food Flyers
Amy Mulkern from the FSC

No comments:

Post a Comment