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Sustainability Lexicon: Top Terms to Know for International Day of Forests

Sustainability Lexicon: Top Terms to Know for International Day of Forests
Renée Yardley
March 19, 2018

Sustainability Lexicon: Top Terms to Know for International Day of Forests

One-third of the Earth’s land mass is covered by forests – beautiful, useful, and the essence of sustainability. 

To raise awareness of the importance of forests, the United Nations has designated March 21 as the International Day of Forests. The theme for 2018 – Forests and Sustainable Cities – underlines the environmental, social and economic benefits of trees in the urban areas that are home to half the global population, and a full 80 per cent of North Americans.  

The day is an ideal opportunity to share knowledge of this important subject. As a manufacturer of recycled paper with up to 100% post-consumer waste content, Rolland is proud to say our main source of raw material is the “urban forest” – of recycling bins in cities and towns across the American Northeast, Ontario and Quebec.

Two state-of-the-art recycled fiber facilities transform this post-consumer waste (PCW) into premium recycled fiber that feeds our paper mill. Our total control over the recycled fiber production, papermaking and converting processes makes for Rolland’s superior quality paper. 

Beyond Rolland’s commitment to the environment through our sustainable manufacturing processes, our recycled fiber facilities “close the loop”; Sludge and residues generated in our manufacturing processes are landfarmed – sold through to farmers and re-used to feed their soil. This makes us part of the circular economy.

Did you know one short ton (0.91 metric tons) of a 100% PCW recycled paper (an example being Rolland’s Enviro line) saves 17 trees compared to the same tonnage made from virgin wood pulp?

Every day at Rolland, we are committed to ecological leadership in the pulp and paper industry and to working closely with our suppliers, as well as with NGOs like the Canopy organization, to promote sustainable forest management and responsible environmental practices. 

In honor of the International Day of Forests we have compiled a “sustainability lexicon” with some certifications and common terms related to forestry and to sustainability. 

Sustainability Lexicon: Certifications 

Here are some of the leading certifications that identify sustainable paper products and promote the responsible practices that preserve and protect forests and the environment.
•    The Ancient Forest Friendly™ designation from non-profit Canopy applies to paper free of fiber from ancient or endangered forests (intact, rare forests critical to the protection of biodiversity), with 100% recycled content, whitened without chlorine.  
          o    The Boreal Forest across Northern Canada; the coastal temperate rainforests of BC, Alaska and Chile; and tropical rainforests in the Amazon, Indonesia and West Africa are among most notable. 

•    Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is a global non-profit organization whose certification and labeling system promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Recycled paper products that bear the two following labels have been verified as meeting FSC’s strict environmental and social standards:

          o    FSC Recycled identifies products made with 100% recycled fiber, which can contain any balance of pre-consumer and post-consumer content. Post-consumer fiber is recovered entirely from paper used by consumers through recycling programs. 

          o    FSC Mix identifies products made with a combination of FSC virgin fiber and/or FSC recycled materials with controlled virgin fiber (i.e. not illegally harvested, or from forests harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights, in which conservation values are threatened, are being converted into plantations or non-forest use, or where GMO trees are planted).

•    FSC Chain of Custody is a certificate awarded by accredited certifying organizations, such as the Rainforest Alliance. It allows supply chain companies to label their products, such that consumers can choose products that support responsible forest management. It is a consumer guarantee that any product with the FSC label can be tracked back to an FSC certified source.

Sustainability Lexicon: Terminology

The following are some key terms to know relating to Rolland and their environmental impact. 

•    Post-consumer fiber is a recycled fiber recovered entirely from recycled paper, which has been used by consumers (ex: in their homes, in their offices) and gathered through recycling programs. 

•    Post-industrial fiber is a recycled fiber recovered from paper that has been used in industrial applications (ex: newsstand returns, printer overruns) and then recycled. Post-industrial fiber can generally be termed as either post-industrial or as Pre-consumer fiber. 

•    Permanent paper is an alkaline (acid-free) paper that resists aging for more than 100 years under normal warehousing conditions. Permanent paper (a designation of paper quality established by the American National Standards Institute – ANSI) is manufactured to last long term. Long-lasting products mean less waste and are better for the environment.

•    Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released during the life of a person, organization or product. The carbon footprint of recycled paper with 100% post-consumer content, for example, is much smaller than that of paper made with virgin fiber. This is mainly because emissions related to harvesting trees and manufacturing virgin pulp do not apply to recycled paper. 

•    Carbon sequestration is the uptake and storage of carbon in living trees and in forest products – including paper. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it until the wood or fiber decomposes or burns, returning carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Forests are the United States’ largest long-term carbon storehouses – carbon sinks – that absorb more carbon than they release as carbon dioxide. 

Rolland is committed to sustainable environmental practices and to maintaining the above FSC and Ancient Forest Friendly certifications, which require us to meet rigorous criteria regularly verified by third-party organizations.

And for more on the longstanding commitment to the environment that makes Rolland one of the most sustainable paper manufacturers in North America, read about all of the attributes and certifications here

Want to quantify your own environmental footprint? Make sure to check out our Eco Calculator! Happy International Day of Forests!