Earth Day, Every Day
Now that it is April, we are on red alert during Earth month and what seems to be the inevitable IV drip of inaccurate stories about forests and recycling. We are also locked and loaded with a full calendar of TV, print and social media that is designed to raise awareness and educate consumers about forests' health and what your recycling becomes.
We are also sponsoring a luncheon panel discussion on Sustainable Forests for a Sustainable Future at Bloomberg Green’s environmental summit on April 27. The Bloomberg Green event coincides with Earth month, and we think that for a summit at the intersection of business and sustainability, there’s no more important message for thoughtful people to understand than that the world’s largest economy is leading on reforestation even as deforestation continues to be a concern around the world.
I have been surprised how even many sophisticated observers don’t quite understand the distinction between selective cuts in well-managed forests to make paper products on the one hand, and honest to goodness deforestation on the other. In many of these areas of concern, deforestation is primarily about permanent conversion of forestland to agricultural or developmental uses. For example, 73% of the deforestation—permanent loss of forests—in tropical and subtropical areas is for agricultural use to produce food.
Thankfully, that’s not happening here. Along with smart regulation and conservation efforts, one of the key reasons behind the stability of American forests is that sustainability is hardwired into the paper and wood products industry’s business model and the millions of jobs it supports.
The other thing we want this audience to take away from the summit is that the sustainability of American forests is what our companies live and breathe every day—growing about twice as much wood as they harvest each year, investing billions in the circular economy as the most recycled material in the U.S., and replacing fossil fuel power at facilities with renewable biofuels.
Our job at P+PB is to break through and address perpetual myths about the health of U.S. forests and their robust size. Numerous American brands, large and small, have recently made pledges to help plant forests at twice the volume consumed. But we are unique among our peers in that healthy forests aren’t just a matter of good Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) for us—they’re our entire business model. We simply can’t produce our products without care and stewardship of the natural resources that go into them.
In the paper and packaging industry, every day is Earth Day.