Two Sides to Sustainability

Phil has over 25 years of international experience related to sustainability and the forest products industry. He currently leads Two Sides North America, a non-profit that promotes the unique sustainable features of print and paper, as well as their responsible production and use. Two Sides operates globally in four continents with members that span the entire graphic communication value chain. Phil has written extensively on sustainability and environmental topics related to the forest products sector. He received his Bachelor and Master's of Science degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is a private forest owner and manages over 200 acres of forestland for both recreational and economic benefits.

As many of you know, Two Sides has been working with several Fortune 500 companies in North America to encourage best practices for environmental marketing related to paper. Our ongoing campaign has been successful, with 33 companies out of 60 removing their claims—a 60 percent success rate to date. But our target is 80 percent and we continue to add new companies to our list regularly.

From working at a computer to socializing, playing games, paying bills, taking notes in class, doing homework, reading books, watching TV and texting, we are all spending an increasing amount of our lives looking at screens. But at what cost to our health?

Most consumers want a paper option for their bills and statements. Like earlier studies carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom, a recent nationwide survey conducted for Two Sides US by the research firm Toluna showed that 64 percent of consumers say they would not choose a company that did not offer a paper bill option and 88 percent want to be able to switch between electronic and paper bills without difficulty or cost.

It helps to know the many guidelines, regulations and standards that govern sustainable forest management in North America. These are important to keep in mind given that we all benefit tremendously from forest products, whether it is paper, lumber or the multitude of other products that are derived from wood.

As a forest owner I’ve accumulated a number of books on trees, but the one that I reach for the most is Glen Blouin's "An Eclectic Guide to Trees East of the Rockies." It’s a very thorough book on Eastern tree species and discusses the cultural and economic value of trees throughout documented history. In my next few blogs I would like to share with you a few sections of Glen’s book because they may help put the topic of “trees and paper” in perspective.

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