Paper Weight

August 31, 2010
by By Lisa Wichmann
Left to right: Jean Jette of Irving Consumer Products, Karyne Bouchard of Transcontinental Inc, Andrew Gustyn of Unisource Canada Inc, Kathy Abusow of SFI, Peter Johnson of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pamela Schott of BMO Financial Group and Steven Bolduc of Aboriginal Printing Corp. Photo: Roger Yip
Purchasingb2b’s sustainable paper roundtable took place on June 2, 2010. The event was sponsored by Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), an independent, non-profit organization promoting responsible forestry products. This is an editorial report detailing highlights of the event.

Paper might comprise only a fraction of an organization’s total spend. But with the right approach, it can be one of the easier categories to ‘green’. From recycled content to certification, buyers are suddenly awash in choices—a good situation, certainly, but one that can also be perplexing.

In an effort to find clarity, Purchasingb2b held a roundtable in June. At the table were delegates from printing, procurement, consulting, the vendor community and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the event’s sponsor. They discussed price and availability, recycled versus certified, chain of custody and the supply chain. Given the rapid pace of change, much of the talk focused on how procurement can keep up.

“We’ve seen an explosion in terms of the number of available products,” said Andrew Gustyn, Ottawa-based corporate sustainability manager with Unisource Canada Inc, the country’s largest distributor of printing paper. “Within the last year, we’ve probably seen about a 60 percent increase in the number of SKUs we end up selling that have now become certified.”

Demand for recycled content and chain of custody has been “incredible,” he said. “Yet at the same time, people are facing cost realities. Within those purchasing decisions…you’ve got to be able to end up balancing all those elements. And in some cases, you can’t tick all the boxes.”