Sustainable sourcing is at the forefront for many industries -- retail, government, hospitality to name a few, but right now, one of the most important sectors driving sustainable change is educational institutions. It makes sense as this "next generation" has historically been responsible and held sway in the innovation influencing business practices.
That is one of the reasons why I was thrilled to join a sustainability panel along with representatives from Georgia Pacific and Kimberly Clark at the recent Green Clean Schools Forum during the ISSA Interclean conference. One of the largest professional cleaning conferences in North America. The topic of sustainable tissue sourcing was top-of-mind, as tissue products are a significant overhead cost for any educational institutions and administrators/buyers. They must constantly find a way to balance demand for sustainability with cost efficiency.
When it comes to sustainable options, tissue has a unique set of challenges. Historically, the default position for sustainable options had meant recycling. I agree, recycling is an ideal choice, however it also presents a series of limitations when it comes to tissue. Often consumer demand for whiter, brighter, and softer in tissue is a challenge with a 100% or highly recycled content.
All panel members agreed that great choices in sustainable options is essential and that it's nearly impossible to use a single metric for sustainable sourcing. The group explored the emergence and merits of new trends within the market ranging from certified paper, recycled content, alternative fiber and renewable fiber.
It is in this milieu that APP offers the option for “renewable fiber.” Harvested in a quarter of the time it would take to grow trees in North America, renewable fiber, specifically from APP’s plantations, meet the U.S. EPA and Green Building Council LEED Standards and produce whiter, brighter and softer paper that again, most North American consumers prefer. This information was well received especially as it comes with APP’s aggressive commitment to zero deforestation and forest conservation.
At the end of the day, it's clear that great choice is emerging within this field, and it's those buyers that continue to challenge suppliers like us on the panel. Whether its recycled, alternative fibre or renewable, the goal and outcomes are the same of creating a healthy school environment for our next generation.