How Green is Your Paper Supplier?

While FedEx Office, Staples and Office Depot continue to lead the pack and build upon already high standards, companies such as Amazon.com, Costco and xpedx continue to fall short on critical questions about the sustainability of their products and processes. In the middle are companies such as Target and PaperlinX, each of which are adopting new green paper purchasing policies which, though they leave some key questions unanswered, represent important progress toward really making the grade.

Each year a group called Forest Ethics comes out with a "report card" which grades many of the country's largest paper retailers and suppliers on the sustainability of their products. This year the organization saw overall progress on critical sustainability issues such as endangered forest protection, but still sees room for improvement.

According to Forest Ethics:

Now in its 4th year, the Green Grades report card informs American consumers and large purchasers of paper products on what companies are doing—or not doing—to safeguard the environment and the world's forests.

While FedEx Office, Staples and Office Depot continue to lead the pack and build upon already high standards, companies such as Amazon.com, Costco and xpedx continue to fall short on critical questions about the sustainability of their products and processes. In the middle are companies such as Target and PaperlinX, each of which are adopting new green paper purchasing policies which, though they leave some key questions unanswered, represent important progress toward really making the grade.

"Office retailers FedEx Office, Staples and Office Depot continue to lead the pack, not only cleaning up their act but also undertaking projects to protect Endangered Forests and improve logging practices on the ground in the regions from which they buy their paper," said Andrew Goldberg of Dogwood Alliance. "Unfortunately a number of distributors and big box companies are still stuck on the basics—buying paper from bad actors and sensitive areas around the globe. Their grades reflect these shortcomings."

You may not agree on the grading process that Forest Ethics uses, though it is fairly transparent, and it is one way to make an evaluation and comparison of popular paper suppliers. Doc thinks that reducing something as complex as sustainability down to a letter grade may be a little simplistic, but it does make the information simple and easily digestible!

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