North America’s Green Print Leadership Report and Survey: Backgrounder
Canopy’s search for North America’s Green Print Leaders culminates with today’s launch of the first ever "North America's 2013 Green Print Leadership Report." Companies that use printers have long wanted to know how their printers perform in the realms of ecopaper procurement, transparent reporting, leading sustainability policies and engagement to forward forest protection on the ground. Canopy’s 2013 Report is designed to demystify the information on sustainable practices and shine a spotlight on printers that have distinguished themselves in this growing field of endeavor.
"North America's 2013 Green Print Leadership Report" recognizes printers that are addressing environmental issues in a transparent and comprehensive way. Rather than rank companies in any order, we have chosen to instead profile the leaders by volume categories including TC Transcontinental, EarthColor, Hemlock and Sandy Alexander while also highlighting printers with new policies and progress made by others.
The top five leadership qualities among the printers profiled:
- Strong paper procurement policy language in place with a focus on ancient and endangered forest conservation
- Active engagement to forward solutions in forest conservation hot spots
- Targets and timelines for increased recycled and ecopaper use
- Support for paper made from straw left over after harvest and other key uses
- Detailed, transparent reporting
Survey Result Highlights
36 printers completed the survey, representing 254 print plants
Of those that participated:
- Three are in the top five of Printing Impressions 2012 list: RR Donnelley , Quad Graphics  and TC Transcontinental 
- 14 have leading forest conservation policies with Canopy
- 92 percent have sustainability policies, just under half of those are publicly available
While 33 survey responders say they have sustainability policies in place, more transparency and collaboration is required across the sector. Only 15 of the companies that responded post their policy on their company Website. Customers should request that printer sustainability policies are made publicly available and collaboratively developed with input from independent environmental organizations.
Printers have reported the following information about their sustainability policies:
- 20 printers say they have benchmarks and timelines to maximize use of paper with post consumer waste (PCW)
- 23 printers say they give preference to Forest Stewardship Council certified paper
- 20 printers say they have policy language to support protection of endangered forests
- 21 printers say they preference paper that does not come from endangered species habitat
- 12 say they support research and development of straw paper
- 17 say they support using paper with cleaner bleaching technologies
While 15 companies post their sustainability policy, only 10 publish some form of a sustainability report and nine of these are available publicly on the Internet.
Within these publicly available sustainability reports:
- Three printers report on their use of paper with recycled post-consumer waste
- Four report on FSC paper use
- Two report on engagement in forest conservation initiatives
With regards to actions printers currently take:
- 26 state they offer 100 percent recycled house sheets
- 30 printers say they educate customers about the benefits of using paper with maximized post consumer recycled content
- 29 say they educate customers about the benefits of FSC certification
Areas for Improvement:
- Just five printers say they have closed loop paper recycling agreements with local recyclers and only 14 printers have engaged with mills to increase post consumer recycled content
- Only nine printers report they supported forest conservation initiatives in the Boreal, Pacific North West, or U.S. South East during the time frame specified in the survey
- Seven support testing papers made with straw
About the Survey
The survey was developed to ensure that printers are credited for their full range of environmental activities including the following:
- Paper procurement policies and engagement on forest conservation initiatives (44 percent of points allocated);
- Sustainability Reporting (20 percent of points allocated);
- Credible third-party certiﬁcations including those issued by Sustainable Green Print Partnership (SGP) and Eco logo (14 percent of points allocated);
- Other environmental projects and innovations (21 percent of points allocated).
- Survey responses are not 3rd party verified.
Participation: Who We Invited and How
Canopy staff directly contacted and invited the top 50 North American printers based on sales as documented by Printing Impressions 2011 and 2012. In addition to directly contacting these top 50 printers, invitations to participate went out through printer trade media to all North American printers.
 Printing Impressions, Dec. 2011 and 2012, The Top 400 www.piworld.com