As the U.S. paper industry continues to evolve over the next decade, the companies that thrive will be those that transform their business models to adapt to changing market realities. A mature domestic market, rising input costs, increasing electronic communications and low-cost global competition will challenge U.S. papermakers to innovate beyond their traditional boundaries. Believing that the production of renewable bioenergy will be the transformational lever that keeps U.S. paper competitive, Verso Paper Corp. is leading the way to a more energy-focused future that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Every year, more organizations are evaluating the environmental performance and social responsibility of their paper suppliers. Large paper buyers such as Time Inc and JC Penney have policies for sustainable paper procurement; for other organizations, similar guidelines are available from multiple sources.
More than 140 representatives from the catalog and magazine publishing industries, paper and forest products companies, environmental groups, government, and other key stakeholders gathered in Bar Harbor, ME, in June to discuss the important role paper producers and their customers are playing in efforts to help mitigate global climate change.
“Climate change has been called one of the defining issues of our time,” says GAA president and CEO Bill Martin. “This second in a series of three GAA annual conferences on the environment was designed specifically to share the paper industry’s most recent climate change-related research and mitigation initiatives.”
Craig Liska, vice president for sustainability at Verso Paper Corp., this year’s primary GAA conference sponsor, opened the conference by noting that the paper industry and its customers are taking a leadership role in the fight against global climate change.
“By leading the charge for sustainable forestry, improved manufacturing and energy efficiency, increased use of renewable biofuels, and transportation optimization, the organizations represented at this meeting are stepping up with real-world solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change,” Liska said.
Presentations at the conference focused primarily on these key areas.
These days, you won’t find a topic that’s much hotter than global climate change...no pun intended. You can’t turn on a TV, pick up a newspaper, or attend any paper industry-related conference without hearing about greenhouse gases, their effect on our planet, and what we should be doing to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
"But before any of us—paper manufacturers, buyers, and users—can hope to reduce our footprint, we have to know how much carbon we’re talking about and where it’s coming from," says Craig Liska, vice president for sustainability at Verso Paper Corp., Memphis. "So the first question becomes, how do we measure the carbon footprint of paper products?"
To answer this simple question, Verso undertook an extremely complex challenge.