"Today’s range of responsible choices is truly extensive suitable for virtually any application: from virgin fibre based products made from externally audited and certified sustainable plantation forests, to recycled or alternative fibre products.
"You can now choose an inexpensive crisp, smooth, white stock, very different in appearance to traditional recycled stocks, that performs superbly on the press - and still be environmentally friendly. "
"Today paper manufacture and consumption can be environmentally sustained," she says. "In many places around the world, under voluntary controls and government regulations, the process begins in well managed, sustainable forests and ends in paper mills with environmentally friendly management practices and operating procedures."
To promote awareness of how to identify these stocks, BJ Ball has researched and published a brochure "Paper and the Environment" that gives a highly informative overview of emerging trends in fibre sourcing and processing and how these relate to environmental and sustainability options.
The publication also explains the international standards and environmental credentials now adopted in some places for paper manufacture and details the many responsible sourcing options available.
How do you establish which manufacturers are operating according to such standards? This is where it is important to become familiar with the language of the many environmental certification and labelling schemes.
"Paper and the Environment" outlines the major international schemes that audit and certify forests such as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). The FSC has a "Chain of Custody" (CoC) labelling system which tracks a log right through from forest to finished product, certifying it at each stage of manufacture as meeting social, economic and environmental standards.
Then there are the leading manufacturing credentials like EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) and ISO 14001 (the International Organisation for Standards) which set high standards of environmental performance and encourage continual improvement.
Independent, credible labelling schemes such as these guarantee that products come from well and sustainably managed forests and environmentally clean mills. Their endorsement is rapidly becoming a very desirable retail attribute.