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Purchasing Tool IDs Wood, Paper Products with Lower Environmental Impacts

ForestA new tool can help purchasers identify wood and paper products with lower environmental impacts and measure these impacts, including a complete accounting of greenhouse gas emissions.

The North American Environmental Paper Network and SCS Global Services, a third-party environmental certification, auditing and standards development organization, developed the new product category rule (PCR) specifying rules for life cycle assessment (LCA) focused on wood and paper.

This framework allows for the development of LCAs and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that cover environmental and health impact categories, and provides environmental performance data by:

  • Considering all factors affecting environmental performance, including ecosystem impacts on biodiversity and forest carbon storage.
  • Using detailed algorithms to provide high relevance and certainty in results.
  • Employing a standardized methodology for meaningful apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Building upon public methodology available for use by any LCA practitioner.
  • Robustly visualizing impacts and streamlining implementation through public data sources.

“Companies like ours are seeking robust information for making the most responsible sourcing decisions and to identify areas for continual improvement,” said Skip Krasny, manager of sustainable forestry programs at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. “I was glad to review the innovative and thorough approach of this life-cycle methodology and look forward to seeing it used in practice.”

Companies can download the following PCRs for free: PCR Module for Market Pulp and Paper, PCR Module for Roundwood, and the LCIA Methodology for Roundwood and Pulp/Paper PCRs.

The new product category rules for wood and paper follow an announcement from Ralph Lauren Corporation earlier this month when the company said it will trace the source of wood-based fabrics, like viscose and rayon, used in its products, and will eliminate sources connected with rainforest destruction.

Sourcing paper and wood products from forests that don’t employ good environmental management practices also represents a financial risk to companies — as much as $906 billion total annual turnover could be at stake, according to a recent CDP report.

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