Smart Paper Sourcing: All Shopping Bags are Not Sourced Equally
By Ian Lifshitz, Rainforest Realities
One of the hottest and most important topics today for retailers and consumers is environmental sustainability. It’s no secret that consumers want to know that retailers are being responsible organizations and are not procuring paper products that come from questionable or non-environmentally friendly sources.
For a time, green arrows and leaf logos on shopping bags were the signal to customers that it was a sustainability-minded company, but it wasn’t long before customers got more sophisticated and began to recognize that “green” logos alone do not guarantee an environmentally sound, responsible and sustainable global sourcing model. Today, more customers demand reassurance that paper products are not the product of destroyed rainforests or older, boreal forests where endangered species live.
So how does the retail community demonstrate to customers they have an environmentally friendly purchasing policy that truly delivers on the promise of eco-friendly suppliers?
The good news is that it is relatively simple to demonstrate a sustainable approach to paper and packaging materials sourcing that supports an overall green philosophy:
Use certified paper
Paper, unlike many other natural resources, is renewable. Trees, when planted on a plantation, are designed to grow back if they are managed sustainably – and paper certification of these products provides independent assurance of sustainable management of tree crops.
While there has been debate over which certification is preferred, the fact is that all major paper certification schemes delivery on the promise of sustainable sourcing. The two largest and most recognizable paper certifications are the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). You and your customers can be confident that paper certified by either of these organizations will 1) contain no illegal timber, 2) be produced via sustainable processes, 3) the wood have followed a legal, verifiable chain-of-custody and 4) be produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
Establish (or review) your procurement policy
Procurement policies are designed to guarantee that your organization and suppliers adhere to sourcing policies that are 100% legal and environmentally sound. Typical procurement policies should include:
- A guarantee that materials used to make its paper are certified and have a verifiable chain-of-custody.
- Guidelines for suppliers to provide proof that it invests in sustainable paper production and has a track record of improving the environment through initiatives such as reduction of air and water emissions, restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, and investment in aggressive tree planting programs.
- A commitment from suppliers to economic and social development in the countries where its pulp and paper are produced. Many people assume environmental friendliness simply means protecting trees, but the United Nations and a growing number of companies realize that it’s just as important to protect people and encourage community development.
Look beyond recycled content
Many paper companies will promote products as “green” if they contain recycled paper, but that alone doesn’t guarantee the paper came from a certified and sustainable source or take into account the total environmental impact. Determining the fiber age of the paper source can help gauge the sustainability of the product. Younger fiber indicates that the product came from young, plantation trees grown specifically for the purpose of papermaking. These plantation trees mature within six to eight years in countries such as Indonesia and China, are harvested and the fields replanted to create a renewable resource every six to eight years – a technological process that we have lead. In contrast, much of the fiber from North American trees is harvested from natural, boreal forest areas that mature every 60 to 80 years and are not easily replenished.
Once adopted and incorporated into procurement processes, these policies can become the foundation of a philosophy for the entire organization. Your organization will then be able to proudly serve customers knowing that the paper products used by your organization have been responsibly and sustainably sourced.
Ian Lifshitz is North American director of sustainability & stakeholder relations at Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP), the third largest pulp & paper company in the world. To learn more about APP’s community initiatives, sustainability efforts and to take part in conversation about the rainforest, visit Rainforest Realities.
Walgreens SVP named to National Committee for Quality Assurance board
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The National Committee for Quality Assurance on Monday named Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, to its board.
NCQA is a private nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations. The group also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care, the committee stated.
The NCQA board governs NCQA and is composed of 15 members and the NCQA president. The board includes clinicians, public policy experts, purchasers, consumer advocates and leaders of health systems. Its multistakeholder perspective supports a focus on improving healthcare quality by emphasizing transparency and delivery system reform.
"Jeff Kang’s thoughtful leadership and broad experience improving quality make him a great addition to the NCQA board," stated NCQA president Margaret O’Kane. "I look forward to working with him, and I know he will make vital contributions to NCQA’s governance."
In his current role contributing to Walgreens’ mission to help its customers live well, stay well and get well, Kang is responsible for the company’s overall pharmacy, health and wellness strategy; outcomes and analytics; Take Care Clinics and worksite health-and-wellness centers; health systems solutions group; and 340B program.
Before joining Walgreens in October 2011, Kang was chief medical officer at CIGNA from 2002 to 2011, where he was responsible for the company’s health strategy and policy for its medical, pharmacy and behavioral products. Previously, Kang joined the Clinton Administration in 1994 as a White House fellow, and then subsequently served as the chief clinical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from 1995 to 2002. While with CMS, he was responsible for Medicare technology assessment and coverage policy, setting quality standards for Medicare participating hospitals and facilities, and leading CMS’ quality measurement, improvement and patient safety activities.
Kang is an internist and geriatrician whose career began in 1984 as the executive director of the Urban Medical Group — a nonprofit, private group practice specializing in the care of the frail elderly and disabled.
Kang received his MD from University of California at San Francisco and his MPH from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his clinical training at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and remained on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School for more than 10 years. In addition to his duties at Walgreens, Kang currently is a board member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Target gives back to schools
MINNEAPOLIS — Target will donate $5 million to local schools nationwide as part of the company’s commitment to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.
Target has teamed up with "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and its viewers to select 50 schools in need to receive a $100,000 grant. Viewers are encouraged to submit the name of a school that needs help, along with a compelling story that explains why the school should receive a grant, to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" at Ellen.WarnerBros.com/schoolgiving. Target then will select from these submissions the 50 schools to receive a grant that can be used to support an improved learning environment for kids. Schools will be selected based on a number of factors, the company said, and two of the selected schools will be featured on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
“Education is at the heart of Target’s giving which is why we look for innovative ways to give to schools in need while engaging our guests at the same time,” Target president of community relations Laysha Ward said. “We are proud to team up with ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and its viewers to help us select 50 schools to each receive a $100,000 grant that can be used to purchase the resources that students and teachers need to excel in the classroom.”