Explaining the nuances of a complex industry like forest products can be difficult, even for seasoned veterans. So imagine the challenges consumers face in separating fact from fiction in a world that tosses “paper kills trees” at them like a mantra straight from Mother Earth.
Fortunately there are some great organizations sharing the positive stories of forest management, community-building, and sustainability that define the good work of our sector.
Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB)
With oversight from the federal government, P+PB runs a national consumer campaign called How Life Unfolds®, which, in 2019, expanded the number of consumers aged 18 to 49 who “enthusiastically use industry’s products to 50 million people”. Their data shows that “thanks in part to the campaign, more people not only feel positive about paper and paper-based packaging products but also wield
enhanced buying power” and are making choices to pick paper over alterative products every day.
Two Sides is a global organization whose primary mission is to challenge corporate greenwashing – a marketing technique that uses misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the environmental “friendliness” of a product. Companies that engage in greenwashing harm consumers both in their deception and by not actually doing more to be environmentally sustainable.
The Two Sides Keep Me Posted campaign is designed to empower consumers to choose the best delivery method for their needs – and give them the ability to choose paper over electronic delivery at no extra cost. In 2019, P+PB found that 69% of people enjoy receiving direct mail and 74% agree that reading words on paper helps them remember information better. Two Sides works with businesses to encourage paper delivery options at no cost to customers, recognizing that paper mail remains a key part of people’s lives.
AF&PA helps lawmakers understand the economic impact and value of the paper sector in their communities. They work every day “to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy.” They do research and gather data from paper companies, recycling companies, and the EPA (among other sources) that allows us to say with confidence that in 2018, the recovery rate for all paper and paper-based packaging used in the U.S. was 68.1%, while corrugated boxes had a recovery rate of 96.4%. They also help stakeholders understand the collective economic impact of paper.
Through their #forestproud campaign, NAFP tells the story of how forests touch every part of our lives, and how the choices we all make – about careers and consumption, and whether as a society, we value the forest sector – are vitally important to the long-term sustainability of our forests.
The #forestproud campaign is a rallying point to show how our single greatest resource – our forests – is providing solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. This platform brings together a community of people who live, work, or play in forests or with forest products and who are committed to reimaging our cities, rethinking our carbon future, reconnecting people and forests, and keeping forests as forests. This campaign is focused on building trust and support to manage, harvest, conserve, and play in North America’s forests in ways that address these key societal challenges, and reaches the next generation of prospective employees who are looking to become part of the solution.
Each of these organizations is dedicated to helping show how the work we do is building toward a better tomorrow. Whether it’s focusing on how we innovate products, improve communities or reach new employees and new customers, these organizations showcase the stories that help shape the future of forests and help influence the choices people make every day.
*bonus read: check out the article on climate change to see what you can do be part of the solution
SOURCES: “About,” Two Sides North America; “About us,” #forestproud NAFP; “About us,” Paper and Packaging Board; “About,” American Forest and Paper Association; “Paper recovery and recycling,” Two Sides North America; “Economic impact,” American Forest and Paper Association; “State industry economic impact,” American Forest and Paper Association; “2018 recycling basics,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); “2018 sustainability report,” American Forest and Paper Association; “The paper recycling success story,” American Forest and Paper Association; The campaign,” Paper and Packing Board; “When it matters, choose paper and packaging,” How Life Unfolds®; “Global pulp market outlook 2018–2022: Industry size, current trends, demand, growth prospects, production, revenue and key players analysis,” Reuters; “Regulation in the pulp and paper industry: Costs and consequences,” Mercatus; “Boise Paper is #forestproud” Boise Paper
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