The ‘Green’ TEAM
A ‘New Consciousness’
Environmental Defense, a Boston-based environmental advocacy group founded in 1967 as the Environmental Defense Fund, made its name leading the fight to ban the pesticide DDT and remove lead from gasoline in the ’60s and ’70s. Over time, the group moved its focus beyond the courts and public policy to work closely with the private sector.
Corporate partnerships are now one of the four “core strategies” used by the group to tackle environmental problems, most famously in working with McDonald’s to eliminate Styrofoam (and thereby, 300 million pounds of packaging waste) in the early ’90s. In recent years, the group has turned its attention to paper concerns, and found willing partners in the book industry.
“A new consciousness about climate change has come seemingly overnight. 2007 was a pivotal year …,” says Rachel Beckhardt, project analyst for the corporate partnerships team at Environmental Defense. “It used to be inquiries only related to forest and wood. Now they want to know the true life cycle of the process … People are really concerned about where this paper comes from and where it’s going.”
To help publishers get a handle on these issues, the organization provides a “paper calculator” on its Web site (EnvironmentalDefense.org), which allows companies to get a sense of the environmental impact of a particular paper across its full life cycle. The calculator also creates equivalencies, such as how increases in recycled content equal X number of cars off the road. The calculator has been used by Random House and Scholastic, and has been incorporated into their goals for paper use.
For Scholastic, saving 8,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by printing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” with 30-percent post-consumer recycled fiber in 2007 was a presage to a comprehensive corporate policy—developed in consultation with the Rainforest Alliance and GPI—which Scholastic announced in January. By 2012, the company will increase its purchase of FSC-certified paper for publications to 30 percent and its use of recycled paper to 25 percent, with 75 percent coming from post-consumer waste.