AF&PA to lead on Sustainability, Recycling, Energy and the Environment

The American Forest & Paper Association’s Board of Directors has confirmed advocacy priorities that the association will pursue to help ensure the paper and wood products industry’s sustainability success and economic impact in 2022.

“The paper and wood products industry clearly demonstrates what it means to be a leader in U.S. manufacturing – from resilience and resolve during a global pandemic to an exceptional focus on safety and sustainability,” said Heidi Brock, President & CEO.  “We will not waver in our commitment to important issues including the continued success of paper recycling and environmental stewardship. This is an industry that continues to prove it can advance policy issues and work to achieve greater success for all.”

“Essential to our advocacy success will be our sustainability goals, known as Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future,” said Christian Fischer, President and CEO, Georgia-Pacific LLC and AF&PA’s Board Chair. These commitments, along with our industry’s drive for innovation, make us a leader in stewardship in the U.S. economy.”

The paper and wood products industry has an impressive track record of leadership across several issues, including:

  • Sustainability: the Better Practices, Better Planet 2030 goals build on our sustainability successes and will help advance the industry in the decade ahead. AF&PA announced its members surpassed most goals set for 2020 and raised the bar with five new goals for 2030, including further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG emissions), increasing production of renewable and recyclable products, striving toward zero workplace injuries, expanding our water stewardship efforts and advancing more resilient forests.
  • Paper Recycling: paper is one of the most widely recycled materials in the United States, and an environmental success with a positive impact on the broader circular economy. In 2020, paper recovered for recycling in the U.S. would fill nearly 4,000 Washington Monuments. And, every year since 2009, the recycling rate has met or exceeded 63%.
  • Marketplace Sustainability and Product Stewardship: policies should recognize industry’s actions and success in paper recycling. Packaging materials can vary considerably and policies must consider the disparate recycling systems and needs of different materials. AF&PA members believe in producer responsibility and take an ownership stake in the recycling system. The industry has completed or announced around $5bn in manufacturing infrastructure investments from 2019-2023 to continue the best use of recycled fiber in its products. These investments will help aim to increase the amount of recovered paper used by U.S. paper and paperboard mills by approximately 8 m tons – a 25% increase over 2020 levels.
  • Energy and the Environment: The forest and paper industry is a crucial part of the climate solution and can help the United States achieve its carbon reduction goals. The AF&PA are working with the Administration and policymakers, including the EPA and USDA, to achieve ambitious goals for the future of the United States and the planet. The use of renewable, carbon-beneficial bioenergy to power paper mills reduces greenhouse gas emissions, preventing about 181 m metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere each year. That’s roughly equal to removing 35 million cars from the road. With a track record of success in reducing GHG emissions already by 24.1% since 2005, the industry seeks solutions that address social and environmental justice issues, as well as economic growth.
  • Business Impact: AF&PA supports policies that promote efficiency, safety and shippers’ concerns within rail, maritime and highway freight transportation, along with policies related to international trade, tax and sustainable regulation to allow our industry to compete in a global marketplace. For the US industry to stay globally competitive today, it needs the nation’s roads, railroads, ports and mail systems to function properly to get paper and wood products where they need to go.
  • Safety: AF&PA remains engaged during the pandemic to address critical issues as they develop and will take proactive measures to ensure workplace safety. AF&PA members are committed to the safety of the industry’s essential workforce and end-users. The forest products industry includes nearly 950,000 hardworking individuals who are working safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the AF&PA’s 2030 goals is a commitment to strive for zero workplace injuries overall and emphasizing continual progress on reducing serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs).

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