Sustainability — Paper Options Not Clear Cut
William Banzhaf, president of the SFB in Arlington, VA, sees SFI as being very compatible, but also competitive, with SFC. While the program may have a lead in forest certification, it hadn’t put as much effort into its chain-of-custody certification program, he admits.
“We have a very strong communications link with owners of the forest, but we as a board haven’t made a big effort to reach out to their end customers,” Banzhaf says. One reason is that SFI’s chain-of-custody certification labeling program wasn’t fully released until last year. The SFB is now moving to widen the focus of its efforts, adds the board president.
If the printer is the end customer, then it would look for paper suppliers to assume responsibility for certification, Banzhaf says. If the printer is acting as the middleman and selling materials to another organization that required certification, then the shop could contact the auditing firm that its paper supplier worked with to see about extending the chain of custody, he notes.
For now, AF&PA is still handling the nuts and bolts of that label program, except for the actual auditing behind it, according to Banzhaf. A list of SFI accredited certifiers is available on SFB’s Website (www.aboutsfb.org).
Despite the attention it has been getting, sustainability should not be seen as supplanting recycling. In fact, the latter has been getting a renewed push on several fronts in the last year or so.
Both the Magazine Publishers of America and The Direct Marketing Association, for example, have been promoting national programs in their respective industry sectors. Also, in late 2005, Abitibi-Consolidated announced an expansion of its Paper Retriever newspaper and magazine recycling program, extending its coverage to seven more U.S. markets for a total of 23 metropolitan areas.
More importantly, a recent study found that consumers are willing to support the cause with their dollars. Roughly 80 percent of the book and magazine consumers sampled (restricted to people who had purchased a book or magazine in the past six months or who currently have a magazine subscription) said they would be willing to pay more for a copy printed on recycled paper. At the top end, 42 percent of the book buyers in the sample said they’d be willing to pay up to $1 more per book and 47 percent of the magazine buyers reported they’d pony up between 50 cents and 75 cents extra.