Finch Delivers Responsibility Message
GLENS FALLS, NY—Tucked inside the picturesque backdrop of the Hudson River in upstate New York, Finch Paper is seeking to show customers and potential clients that it boasts value beyond the mid-cap status it holds among the multitude of U.S. paper providers.
Finch sought out a core collection of industry media and analysts to tour its paper-making facility here, as well as traipse a 1,000-acre parcel of managed forestry to not only outline its expertise in the realm of offset and digital printing papers, but provide an up-close demonstration of environmental responsibility in action.
The former was not nearly as eye-opening as the latter, which is not to say that Finch fell short in its quest to illustrate its capabilities and abilities to meet the evolving needs of its target market with high-quality opaque uncoated offset paper and burgeoning digital offerings, among others. But the forestry tour was a watershed event for this country, singularly unique from both accessibility and educational standpoints.
The intimate size of the group only enhanced the educational value of the experience, as Finch forester Len Cronin provided a blow-by-blow account of the short- and long-range planning science that is far more impressive than the paperwork tedium entailing forest management certifications. As Cronin explained, Finch had long been practicing the prerequisites needed to garner certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) programs—the company had those bases covered—long before "going green" became the cause du jour.
Ironically, perhaps the lone adjustment Finch needed to make in order to meet the standards was maintaining more…paperwork.
Equipped with degrees in forestry management, Cronin showed the group an impossibly detailed schematic of the parcel that entails the old Smith Farm, purchased in 1911 and reverted back to forest land (the company manages 166,000 acres in the Adirondack region in all). Oak and pine dominate the dozen species of trees on Smith Farm, and while less than 2 percent of the land managed is actually harvested, Finch uses 100 percent of every tree that is taken. The wood that is not incorporated into Finch product is sold to other markets, used as anything from landscaping mulch to household furniture.
In some ways, forestry management is an inexact science, or at least an unpredictable one. Periodic checks sometimes yield invasive plants and pests. The emerald ash borer beetle, likely imported from its native Asia via pallets or other wooden shipping materials, was discovered in New York state this past spring and has been responsible for killing tens of millions of trees since its 2002 discovery in Michigan.
A far more pleasant obstacle for foresters is dealing with native wildlife. Cronin pointed out various heron nesting spots that call for healthy sized human-free zones. The health of the forest is perhaps Finch's No. 1 priority, and the company beams with pride at its status as an integrated manufacturer and responsible steward for the thousands of acres it manages. PI