Too Bad We Can't Print on Tissue ? Or Can We?
Answers to the two biggest questions about availability of environmentally friendly paper … and an example in the tissue market.
Many publishers, large and small, are evaluating the merits and possibility of committing to an Endangered Forest policy and switching to papers that are more socially responsible. But, in doing so, they have important questions that need to be answered. The two most significant:
1. Will there be enough fiber to meet our needs and the needs of all publishers?
2. Will we be able to use these papers with minimal or no impact on our bottom line?
Without a crystal ball, the best answer anyone can provide is: Probably. But it depends on many factors, starting with the goals of publishers and other key stakeholders, such as mills, merchants and printers.
Nearly 20 book papers with recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified fiber have been developed within the past few years, and on average, the price premiums have dropped and even reached parity with virgin fiber in some instances. But whether this trend of new product development, increasing availability and improved price points will continue depends on several things.
In the same way proteins are the building blocks for all life, recycled and FSC-certified virgin fiber are the essential fiber sources for socially responsible paper. Given this verity, would there be a potential shortfall for these fibers if publishers started asking for it en masse?
If all publishers wanted their papers to be made with recycled and FSC fiber in the next six months, there would be a supply and capacity shortfall. However, if publishers set goals for paper use and phase them in over three to five years, the market will have time to respond.
FSC Fiber: A growing Supply
Demand for FSC fiber is a fairly new phenomenon, but it's growing in leaps and bounds. At present, more than 26 million acres of forest in North America alone are managed to FSC standards. With each forest the FSC certifies, the availability of certified paper grows. A twofold to threefold increase in FSC-certified forestland is expected this year alone.