Paper Matters Blog
Decoding Sustainability Logos
04.1.19 - Paper Advocacy

We are a logo loving world, and for good reason. Logos telepath important details about a company such as who they are, what they do and what they value. They also shed light on what the product is capable of doing for the consumer or even the earth.

Today more and more of these marks make some sort of environmental claim.  Commonly referred to as “ecolabels”, the Ecolabel Index, a platform that tracks the ever-growing market, says that more than 450 such labels are being used in 200 countries.

But with so much information to share in such a small space (as is the case on many paper products), sometimes those messages get a little fuzzy.

But fear not. The following logo primer will help clear the fog on what it all means.


Click on image to download. 

Third-Party Certifications

In the paper world, it is important to adhere to third-party certification. What it means is that the company is choosing to follow strict guidelines for producing its products. Annual audits are often part of the certification process which means consumers can be assured that the company they are supporting with their hard-earned dollars are keeping the forests for generations to come.

forest stewardship environmental logo

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)

Since paper comes from trees, it makes sense that consumers want to know their choices help support the responsible use of this precious resource. Purchasing products that are certified allow consumers to do just this. FSC certification ensures that forests are well managed, habitats are protected and that the rights of local communities are respected. Companies that earn the right to use the FSC logo are using resources responsibly to conserve biological diversity by protecting water, soil and the ecosystem. Domtar paper has been sporting the logo since 2005 and is the first paper supplier in North America to do so.

 

rainforest alignment environmental logoRainforest Alliance Certified™ Seal 

The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Seal assures customers that the company’s product was grown and harvested using environmentally and socially responsible practices. RA’s little green frog logo indicates that the farms, fields and forestlands that help produce the products have met rigorous third-party standards to conserve wildlife, protect natural habitats and improve the lives of employees and surrounding communities.

 

recycle logoRecycling Symbol

The recycling symbol is one of the most recognized symbols on earth, but when it comes to paper there are a few things to know. First, the symbol can mean the product is recyclable at the end of its life, or that it was made from recycled materials or both. Typically, recycled material comes from two sources: Leftover materials from the manufacturing process or from products people put in their recycling bins when they’re done using them (known as post-consumer recycled content). Paper made from the later contains 30 percent post-consumer recycled content and is recyclable. Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Though not a third-party certification, World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading conservation organization.  This global NGO is committed to preserving the diversity and abundance of life on the Earth, maintaining a healthy environment and combating climate change. When consumers see the WWF logo on Domtar’s EarthChoice® products, it means the company is supporting WWF’s conservation efforts to protect and minimizing disruption to natural habitats within forestlands. Domtar is proud to work with WWF for nearly two decades now and contributes $425,000 annually to WWF from the sale of FSC-certified EarthChoice products.

With the logos decoded, consumers can go forth and purchase responsibly – and don’t forget to recycle!

*Image courtesy of Recyclebank

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About The Author

Vice President of Sustainability

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