SUSSEX, Wis. (News release) -- Quad/Graphics, Inc. announced that it is a founding member of Forests in Focus, a sustainability initiative from GreenBlue, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society, and the American Forest Foundation (AFF), a conservation organization that works with family landowners in the United States. Forests in Focus helps members identify family-owned forests as a source for sustainable wood fiber, the raw material used to make paper and packaging.
Forests in Focus was developed by GreenBlue and AFF in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Environmental Systems Research Institute. In addition to Quad, Forests in Focus is supported by several multi-national companies that share a passion for sustainability, including McDonald's, Target, Mars Incorporated, Staples, Domtar, Georgia-Pacific, Sappi, WestRock and Weyerhaeuser.
Forests in Focus has a tool that leverages rigorous, credible, publicly available data to provide a landscape-level account of sustainability. Members get a full view of that sustainability through a dashboard, which connects them with conservation initiative opportunities to engage landowners to drive forest-positive impacts. The tool helps mitigate risks to the supply chain for businesses sourcing wood fiber from family forests.
"Quad is proud to support Forests in Focus, an innovative initiative that aligns with our mission to create a better way for our clients, our communities and our world," said Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO of Quad. "Forests in Focus helps our clients understand additional options for sourcing sustainable paper and packaging materials. We've always believed that what's good for the planet is also good for business, and the Forests in Focus initiative validates this point. It's another option in our suite of sustainability services that Quad already has in place to remove the burden from brands we're fortunate to work with."
Sustainable wood fiber is at a premium. Family-owned forests, which cover more than 290 million acres in the United States, supply half of the raw material for paper in the U.S. supply chain. However, only 10% of family forest acreage is certified as sustainable. Forests in Focus verifies responsible forestry practices, opening up a large pool of material to help companies reduce their own carbon footprint while boosting local economies -- and positively impacting the environment. Forests in Focus draws on the vast expertise and network of the American Forest Foundation, a leading authority on family forest conservation.
"Forests in Focus complements the existing forest certification systems," said Paul Nowak, Quad Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and a board member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. "So many family-owned forests operate on the same level of sustainability as larger wood fiber sources. They just lack the resources to go through a formal certification process. Support for strong forest management promotes rural jobs, clean water, thriving wildlife habitats and natural carbon sequestration."
Quad announced its founding membership in Forests in Focus on Wednesday, November 6, at the Company's Fourth Annual Sustainability Symposium, which helps other organizations understand and incorporate proven sustainable packaging methodologies.
"We share our industry knowledge of trends, or new opportunities to help the environment, with customers, agencies and vendors," Nowak said. "It's in everyone's best interest to make the information available as widely as possible, to make a real conservation impact. Because we're all in this together."