The Forest Stewardship Council is the only certification system that requires a consensus solution when conflicts arise between logging companies and indigenous communities.

More than 140 publishers, including many of the world’s largest, have strong environmental policies.

When the goals set forth in the Book Industry Treatise on Responsible paper use are realized over 5 million trees will be preserved each year.

Each pound of postconsumer recycled fiber that replaces a ton of virgin fiber prevents the release of 2,108 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2006, an Opinion Research Corporation poll revealed that 80% of readers are willing to pay more for books printed on recycled and environmentally responsible paper.

Over the course of its lifecycle, postconsumer recycled fiber requires 30-40% less energy than virgin fiber.


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Solutions - Responsible Paper

Using environmentally and socially responsible paper is an opportunity for publishers to achieve some of the most tangible and measurable environmental gains. Two key factors which comprise responsible paper are recycled fiber, and virgin fiber that does not originate from Endangered Forests or an area of social conflict and does not result in the conversion of native forests to plantations.

Recycled Fiber

Using recycled paper ensures that fewer trees are cut down to make the paper. Guidelines supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Paper network and others recommend using paper that contains at least 30% recycled fiber – with all or a majority to be postconsumer.

Book publishers are encouraged to meet or surpass this minimum recommendation. Newspaper publishers are encouraged to use paper that contains at least 50% recycled fiber – with all or a majority to be postconsumer. Compared to virgin fiber, the use of recycled fiber also

  • Reduces pressure on endangered forests
  • Creates markets for paper that would otherwise be land filled
  • Requires 44% less energy to produce
  • Emits 38% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Conserves up to 24 mature trees per ton of recycled fiber replacing virgin fiber

*Source: Environmental Defense Paper Calculator. Figures based on kraft paper.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Equivalent Certification

There are several different forest management systems and most have shown continual improvement. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system is considered to be the best practice given that it ensures:

  • Key protections for Endangered and High Conservation Value Forests
  • Natural and biodiverse forests are not converted to single-species tree farms after harvest
  • The concerns of indigenous and local communities are integrated into forest plans and assessments
  • Biodiversity and landscape integrity are maintained according to the highest standard
  • There is less soil disturbance and more trees are left standing (in some case 25% more trees than other certification systems)

**In the event that other certification systems improve to a level of equivalency with FSC on the core topics mentioned above, GPI will likely acknowledge these other certification systems.

Relevant Resources

Guidelines for Paper Purchasers

Summary and Full Report of the State of the Paper Industry

Suppliers lists of environmentally responsible book papers, newsprint and printers

More About Forest Certification More About Recycled Paper
EEM Comparison of Forest Certification Schemes Summary Environmental Defense Paper Calculator
EEM Comparison of Forest Certification Schemes Full Report Fact sheet on Recycled Paper
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Environmental Printer/Paper Listing
FSC Frequently Asked Question Recycled Fiber Availability
Credible Forest Certification website  Environmental Defense Recycled Paper Q and Recycled Paper Q&A
  Paper Statistics



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