The ‘Green’ TEAM
“Hopefully our suppliers will recognize that publishers, retailers, authors and consumers view ‘green’ production as a high priority, and they will move with the market to support our goals. But this will require a massive change to their infrastructure and is very much a long-term goal,” says D’Onofrio.
Van der Laan says that constant monitoring of the availability, quality and pricing of recycled fiber is key to Random House’s initiative. “As the demand for recycled fiber grows both domestically and abroad, and the price increases, our partnerships with our mills and merchants become ever more significant.”
Miller compares recycling to the oil and gas industry, with de-inkers playing the same role as refineries, and supply and demand intimately tied to infrastructure. “[One of the richest] women in China is a recycled-paper trader,” he notes. “We need to have more de-inking factories built. With publishers coming out with policies to increase recycled content levels to 30 percent and beyond, that sends a signal up the supply chain.”
Many are unaware of the influence of Chinese demand on the price of recycled fiber, according to Cate. “The American recovery rate is above 70 percent for newsprint, 50 percent for paper and journals,” he says. “The Chinese are starting up modern paper mills, and many of these are 100-percent recycled content. As they are getting fiber from North America and Europe, there is a tremendous demand, and recovered fiber is now at record prices.”
On the printing side, there is the ever-evolving effort to make available new paper grades that can accommodate both environmental and quality concerns. “We partner closely with our printers,” Van der Laan says, “testing new recycled papers … to make sure that our customers and readers will still receive the quality products they associate with Random House.”