Recently, I shared the stage at TAPPI, one of the world’s premiere organization’s dedicated to the pulp and paper industries. TAPPI invited Asia Pulp & Paper to discuss Sustainable Practices in Papermaking at their annual conference. This event was groundbreaking for two reasons.
First TAPPI, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Few organizations survive for an entire century, and it is good news for our industry that TAPPI continues to play a critical role in the fiber industry.
TAPPI is a traditional papermaking conference that usually covers such topics like mills, machines, chlorine, and printing speed. What was unusual – and the second reason this event was noteworthy - was the starring role sustainability played in this year’s centennial conference. An entire day of this 3-day event was spent discussing sustainability topics such as LCAs, carbon neutrality, ISO 14001 and – in the panel that APP joined - Supply Chain Sustainability.
Our panel discussed important sustainability issues, like zero deforestation, conservation protection and community rights. Our audience was also able to hear about the challenges and contrasts between sustainability in developed versus lesser developed areas of the world.
It was exciting to also learn about new initiatives being created right at this moment. One of the more interesting sustainability projects in the works now is the creation of sustainability metrics via the U.S. financial accounting system known as SASB, with the goal of assuring that sustainability is measured and included within the financial reporting of public companies.
In contrast to TAPPI, I also attended a conference held by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This conference was the reverse of TAPPI, in that this organization is relatively new and its focus, as the name implies, is on sustainability. At this conference, I met with a host of organizations of all sizes, to discuss advances in sustainable packaging. Enthusiasm ran high at this young event, where I met with important brands, including many household names, to discuss the challenges of sustainability efforts like zero deforestation and the progress of sustainable packaging globally.
It is exciting to note that this year marks a year of convergence – as paper experts begin to focus on sustainability, while sustainability experts remain engaged in paper.