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Gaiam Lightens Its Paper Trail on the Planet
Let's face it. The catalog industry relies on paper, and making paper is an extremely resource intensive process. But making the choice to switch to recycled paper conserves vast amounts of natural resources, from wood to energy to water, and reduces CO2 emissions and solid waste production by hundreds of thousands of tons.
Gaiam is one of only a handful of catalog retailers that have committed to a significantly higher standard than most catalog mailers — a commitment to minimize its "paper trail" on the planet.
But consumer waste content is just one of many factors affecting paper's impact on the environment. In addition to supporting reforestation through the Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund Go Zero program and other nonprofit environmental stewardship initiatives, Gaiam sources its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody-certified paper from a company ranked as America's most sustainable forest and paper company and one of the 100 most sustainable companies in the world. The FSC chain-of-custody certification means every stage of growing and harvesting the trees, managing the forest and manufacturing the paper is certified to comply with FSC's very strict environmental responsibility standards.
Finding a Paper Company That Sees the Big Picture
Gaiam's catalog team says it wasn't easy finding a paper manufacturer that could toe the line on Gaiam's paper priorities — not only for postconsumer waste content but also in terms of other factors affecting our impact on the Earth. Gaiam wanted a company whose eco-sensitive values and business practices run deep and align with its focus on supporting ecological, social and economic sustainability.
Their search led them to Stora Enso North America and its Kimberly Mill.
Located on the banks of the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin, the Kimberly Mill has made an impressive commitment to earth-conscious business choices, including:
Utilizing nonpolluting hydroelectricity to provide approximately 15 percent of the electrical power for the mill and 100 percent of the steam used to dry the paper.
Receiving an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certificate, issued by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) — a global federation recognizing organizations that promote environmental protection and resource conservation.
Manufacturing all of its paper with at least 10% postconsumer waste.
Creating a company-wide recycling program for office paper and aluminum cans.
|HOW SUSTAINABLY SOURCED PAPER CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE|
Gaiam catalogs are printed on custom-made Gaiam recycled paper containing a minimum of 20 percent (30 percent beginning with its summer 2007 catalogs) post-consumer waste (paper that has already been used) and 10 percent pre-consumer waste (scraps from the paper industry). For Gaiam Real Goods catalogs and all catalog inserts and wraps, Gaiam uses recycled paper containing a minimum of 30 percent postconsumer waste. All of Gaiam's catalog paper is processed elemental-chlorine free. By using this environmentally friendlier recycled paper vs. virgin fibers, since January 2001 Gaiam has saved the following resources:
9 million pounds of greenhouse gases
3.9 million pounds of solid waste
16.9 million gallons of water
30 billion BTUs of energy
34,584 pounds of air emissions (SO2, NOx, HAPs, VOCs, TRSs combined)
110,036 pounds of hazardous effluent (BODs, TSSs, CODs, AOXs combined)
"We looked for paper producers with similar values and business practices," says David Goldschmidt, vice president of sales and marketing at Strategic Paper Group, the paper vendor that played an integral part in our worldwide paper chase.
Gaiam and Strategic Paper aren't alone in singing the praises of Stora Enso. For four consecutive years, Stora Enso has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) as the nation's most sustainable forest and paper company.
Stora Enso also earned elite chain-of-custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for responsible forest management that meets criteria for strict environmental, economic and social standards.
"Achieving these FSC certifications is consistent with Stora Enso's long-standing wood procurement and forest management policies and guidelines," says Fred Souba, VP Wood Supply U.S. & Fiber. "Attaining this accomplishment is an additional assurance to our customers that we conduct forest management and fiber sourcing in a sustainable way."
Stora Enso also clearly met Gaiam's MAPPing objectives:
Mission - similar corporate goals that ring true to Gaiam's belief system.
Accessibility - with the Kimberly Mill located in Wisconsin, Gaiam paper is more accessible and thus creates less pollution than having it shipped from overseas.
Product - a diverse line of high-quality recycled paper.
Pricing - competitive pricing structure and quantity discounts.
"The decisions you make to run a company have to come from the same place as decisions in your personal life," says Gaiam President Lynn Powers. "You have to be able to stand behind your choices as right not only for the market and the corporation, but for the world and the communities around us.
"We are very proud of our business decisions," Powers continues, "including not only our choices regarding paper but also our comprehensive corporate recycling program, the volunteer work of our employee Environmental and Social Action Group and much more. It is conscious decisions like these that help define us as the leader in the natural lifestyle industry."