On Sustainability, publishing, and paper
Last week I had the privilege of attending what was called an executive sustainability summit in the Hearst tower. I went into this meeting thinking that I pretty much understood the important parts of sustainability in relationship to the publishing industry. I am here today to tell that I was wrong and that I didn't know half of what I need to know on what that issue is all about, nor did I have a clue to the legal responsibilities for our corporations in respect to the process.
I am not prepared as yet to write about this important issue yet, because, after discovering my lack of information, I am still doing my homework. I have asked several major players in this field to explain it to me further. I intend to write about it here and talk about it soon in my publishing lectures on the future of our industry. I will tell you today that I am fearful that we as an industry may in the near future be confronting a “pink slime” moment which potential was discussed at the summit meeting
Today, I am comfortable in suggesting to you that sustainability has many more deep components than just using trees wisely. Which brings me to an article recently published at Folio.com. When I read statements like this in regards to recycled fiber, I get a tad nervous.
“We’ve asked them to do some testing for us, which entails exporting some recovered fiber into their integrated mill. It will inevitably affect our cost in some way, but the biggest driver will be whether or not it meets our quality standards. We’re going to have to figure out with our printer what is possible and whether it will have a negative impact on the quality of reproduction—we don’t want to have that suffer.”
What is the recovered fiber here in question and will it be shipped to an integrated mill on gas guzzling trucks? I hope not. I am completely in support of the effective, efficient and sensible use of reclaimed and recycled fibers, of which there are many. Some of those uses can and should be in some magazines, but definitely not in all. The exercise of exploring that use and introducing its importation into an integrated mill is not an exercise that I can support. Unless I’m told otherwise by a more knowledgeable party than myself, it is a counter-productive and anti-sustainability process. Why would you do it? It costs more and isn't green. We shouldn't and can’t make moves that sound good and seem green to the general public but on closer examination are just the opposite.