• Government Policies Must Include Citizen’s Right to Paper Options

    by Anna harris | Apr 15, 2014

      By Mark Pitts

      Executive Director, Printing and Writing 

      As the federal government increasingly leverages the strengths of the
      internet and social media, it is important not to disenfranchise the
      many Americans who prefer paper-based communications or have
      limited or no access to information and essential services offered
      only in digital forms.  We agree with the government’s goal of using
      emerging technologies to serve the public as effectively as possible, but that should not be at the expense of those who prefer or need to receive paper-based communications and documentation.  Americans deserve the opportunity to choose paper for their communication needs.

    Recent federal government action to phase out or eliminate paper-based options imposes hardships for millions of vulnerable Americans and has negative consequences for paper industry jobs.

    Recent government actions to remove paper options include:

    • Elimination of Social Security checks, replaced by direct deposit and high-fee debit cards;
    • Elimination of mailed Social Security earnings statements;
    • Internal Revenue Service no longer mails tax forms to U.S. taxpayers;
    • U.S. Treasury Department ended the sale of paper savings bonds; and
    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to eliminate printed pharmaceutical labeling in favor of on-line only access to prescription drug information.

    The decision to offer information in digital form only at best takes away Americans’ choice and at worst excludes some of our citizens from accessing vital information provided or regulated by their government. 

    Internet use remains highly correlated with age, education, and household income. According to a U.S. Department of Commerce study, up to 30 percent of Americans are not online and 45 percent of seniors don’t own a computer. Just this month, a Pew research study showed 53 percent of seniors don’t have broadband access at home and 23 percent do not have cell phones. Seniors also face hurdles adopting new technology, with 77 percent responding they require help using it. In addition, 41 percent of American adults who have not graduated high school are offline, as are 24 percent of American adults earning less than $30,000 per year and 20 percent of rural residents.  These are people that are not able to access digital information, but still deserve the services provided by their government. 

    Government policies that eliminate paper options set a precedent for the private sector, where the economic threat is far greater. AF&PA is addressing this government “rush to digitize” by ensuring legislators understand that many government agencies are forcing a single, digital-only option without any congressional oversight or public comment.  These actions are short-sighted and may ultimately cost the government more than it saves.

    With federal budgets under fire, cost reduction is often cited as the rationale for switching away from printed materials. But the hidden costs of the current lack of online document security and identity protection could easily swamp any supposed gains from the government’s paperless initiatives.  Fraud and identity theft costs associated with on-line government transactions have skyrocketed. For example, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported in 2012 that the IRS failed to identify 1.5 million fraudulent direct deposit returns, sending out $5.2 billion in refunds to thieves. The Inspector General said this identity theft could cost taxpayers $21 billion over the next five years. In addition, by providing digital-only access to essential documents, the government is simply shifting the cost of printing those documents to citizens, and high-fee debit cards in lieu of printed checks pile on added costs for many who can least afford it.

    AF&PA is pushing back on these government policies so citizens can choose the way they send and receive information – based on the best solution to their own needs. These actions are backed by public demand. In a recent study of consumer preferences by Info Trends, 73 percent of Americans do not think they should be required to interact with the government online.

    To be clear, this is not about opposing the use of technology, but about choice.  The government’s rush to digitize likely will continue and AF&PA will be there to remind legislators and regulators of the risks digital-only policies pose for citizens and our members.

  • AF&PA 2014 Federal Policy Priorities address Industry's Biggest Challenge

    by Anna harris | Mar 24, 2014
     By Donna Harman
     President & CEO
     Paper Age, March/April 2014 edition

     
     Each year presents a new set of challenges in Washington, D.C. and
     in state capitols.  Some issues carryover from one year to the next;
     others shift with public opinion and legislative results from the prior
     year.  

    The AF&PA board of directors ensures that our policy priorities are in line with the political environment and with business needs. We concentrate our advocacy efforts with lawmakers and regulators on the industry’s highest priorities.  

    AF&PA’s winter board meeting took place at the association’s new office space at 1101 K Street, NW in Washington. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine), and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met with the board to hear some of the industry’s most pressing concerns. Our messages for 2014 include the following key issues.  
     
    •    Greenhouse gas regulations: We will work with key stakeholders and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support recognition of the carbon neutrality of biomass in greenhouse gas regulations, including in prevention of significant deterioration rules and new source performance standards.
     
    •    Air regulations: We will work with lawmakers, EPA, and other stakeholders to support development of practical and sustainable air regulations, including ozone national ambient air quality standards, boiler maximum achievable control technology and non-hazardous secondary materials rules.
     
    •    Energy: We will support energy policies that take into consideration the carbon-reduction benefits provided by the industry’s use of biomass in energy production as well as cost and supply implications for the paper and wood products industry.
     
    •    Rail and truck transportation: Rail and truck transportation: We will support Congress’ work to create better and more efficient rail and truck transportation options for the industry through the Federal Highway Reauthorization Bill or other related legislation. Specifically, we will advocate for an increase in the Interstate truck weight limit to 97,000 pounds when trucks are outfitted with a sixth axle. This configuration will allow for more efficient and safer trucks to use the Interstate system and not be on local roads. Additionally, we will support enacting comprehensive rail reform that includes changes to anti-trust laws and the Surface Transportation Board to ensure that railroads provide AF&PA members, especially those with facilities “captive” to just one rail line, with competitive rates and reliable service.
     
    •    Forestry and agriculture: We welcomed passage of the Farm bill in early February and will work with legislators, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and others to ensure industry concerns are addressed in a variety of forestry and agriculture programs, including advocating for adequate funding of the Forest Inventory Analysis program and for inclusion of forest products in the USDA’s BioPreferred program.
     
    •    Tax: We will track and work to ensure that any tax changes improve economic growth, job opportunities, and the competitiveness of U.S.-based businesses.
     
    •    Postal: We will continue to advocate for postal reform, as one-third of all paper produced in the U.S. goes into the mail stream, worth $6 billion in industry revenues. Stable postal rates are important to the mailing industry supply chain. 

    •    Paper options: As government pushes toward digitization, we will engage with legislators to ensure that those without access to Internet – or those who simply prefer an option – are able to obtain paper documents for a variety of government services, including social security statements, checks, tax forms, savings bonds, and prescription drug labeling.
     
    In addition to these areas, AF&PA staff will continue to track, engage, and report on many other issues of importance that come up on Capitol Hill throughout the year, both at the federal and the state levels. For more information about the issues we work, visit www.afandpa.org. 
     
    # # #

  • Continuous Commitment to Paper Recovery for Recycling

    by Anna harris | Feb 25, 2014
     By Donna Harman
     President & CEO
     Paper Age, January/February Edition

     Recovering paper and paper-based products for recycling has long
     been a priority for our industry and an effort in which  AF&PA
     members continue to be proven leaders. Since 1990, when we first
      set a nationwide paper recovery goal, the U.S. recovery rate has nearly doubled, topping 65 percent in 2012.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2011, only 27.6 percent of glass, 20.7 percent of aluminum and 8.3 percent of plastics were recovered from municipal solid waste streams.

    Recovering paper products extends the fiber supply, which allows our industry to reuse its products to make new ones. It also saves an average of 3.3 cubic yards of land­fill space for each ton of paper recycled. 

    AF&PA member companies have taken efforts to develop and nurture a voluntary, market-driven system that fosters consistently high rates of paper recovery. Our sustainability initiative – Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 – includes a goal to exceed 70 percent recovery of all paper used in the U.S. by the year 2020.  Our members continually take strides to improve the recovery of paper and paper-based packaging.



    The paper recycling industry collects, sorts and processes recovered paper into new paper and paper-based packaging products that were valued at $8.4 billion in 2012. And the value of U.S. recovered paper exports totaled $3.5 billion in 2012. All in all, paper recovery has fostered a dynamic marketplace that allows recovered fiber to find its highest-value use, which helps to encourage even more recycling.



    But paper recovery for recycling is a collective effort. Ultimately, it is possible and successful thanks to the commitment of millions of Ameri­cans who make the effort to recycle at home, work and school every day.



    We recognize excellence in paper recovery for recycling through our annual AF&PA Recycling Awards program.

    First launched in 2006, the AF&PA Recycling Awards recognize and highlight businesses, schools and communities that increase paper recovery through educational, innovative and cost-effective programs and partnerships. The program  generates interest in developing new recycling programs; provides a resource to those looking to start or improve paper recovery programs; and supports the industry’s ongoing effort to increase recovery and maintain the quality of recyclable paper.

    Now in its ninth year, the AF&PA Recycling awards program has been redesigned and continues to provide great visibility and reward those engaged in successful paper recycling efforts.   

    In each category – school, business and community – there are now four chances to win. Programs will no longer be judged for their all-over performance, but on specific characteristics, namely: volume – the  total amount of paper and paperboard collected; creativity – unique and innovative ways that have been used to market the program, raise awareness and generate interest; participation – unique and innovative ways successful programs increased participation and tonnage collected; and partnerships –  innovative partnerships with communities, businesses and/or non-profit organizations used to promote increased recovery.

    This structure will allow for a greater focus on elements that drive improved paper recovery program performance and increase recovery overall. It will also allow us to expand our reach and provide opportunities for more parties to engage and enter the program.

    Descriptions of the awards, entry criteria and entry forms are all available on paperrecycles.org. The deadline for all entries is March 7, 2014. 

    Our industry has a proud tradition of achievement in paper recovery for recycling, and we are looking forward to recognizing the invaluable involvement of businesses, schools and communities in making paper recycling a success.  Paper offers a recyclable product made from a renewable resource, which is one of many strong points that makes paper the choice that consumers can trust and be proud to use.

  • Government policies must support American free enterprise

    by Anna harris | Jan 29, 2014

     By Donna Harman
     President & CEO, American Forest &  Paper Association 
     The Hill, Congress Blog

     The annual State of the Union address helps bring focus to the agenda
     in Washington, D.C., and last night was no exception. Topics like job
     creation, economic growth, innovative manufacturing, trade agreements,
     energy, and environmental policies are on the minds of business men
    and women across the country. The U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry is proud of its achievements in these areas and our contributions to the American economy, and we hope government policies – whether by executive order, legislation or regulation – will reflect the strength of the American free enterprise system and unleash the power of the marketplace to bring stronger economic growth in the coming year. 

    Environmental policies and regulations are an important part of the government’s function. To work in the long-term, they must be achievable and affordable – meeting economic needs, environmental concerns, and social expectations.

    Our industry is a leader in sustainability. We depend on a renewable resource – trees – for the products we make and the bioenergy we use to run our mills. As forests grow, trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it to organic carbon, which will return to the atmosphere regardless of whether it is burned for energy or lost through biodegradation or in a forest fire. We harness the energy value of the CO2 on site before it escapes by using carbon-neutral biomass to produce, on average, about two-thirds of the energy our members use. And a recent study shows the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits of our industry’s use of biomass residuals are enormous – equivalent to removing 40 million cars from the road. Our industry is part of the solution. Regulations should reflect the role we play in the sustainable carbon cycle – not add to business uncertainty that curbs investment in innovations.

    The U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry is prepared to do more through voluntary, self-directed initiatives. Between 2005 and 2010, American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members reduced their GHG emissions by 10.5 percent and have a goal to reduce those emissions by at least 15 percent by 2020. On energy efficiency, AF&PA members have seen an 8.1 percent improvement in their purchased energy efficiency since 2005 and are committed to reach at least 10 percent by 2020. These are just two of several industry-led initiatives that show U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers are contributing to a more sustainable future through innovative thinking and advancements in environmental performance.

    Our country is replete with opportunities for high-skill, family-wage, green jobs, but we must create a policy environment in which employers can operate to continue down this path. Our industry employs nearly 900,000 men and women in the U.S., meeting a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and accounting for approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing gross domestic product. 

    We stand ready to work with the administration and Congress to reform and improve the regulatory system to equip it for 21st century challenges. Subsidizing new jobs and innovation at the expense of existing success is not even a zero-sum game. The American free enterprise system is the greatest engine for economic growth and freedom the world has ever known, and we are optimistic about our future. 


    Donna Harman is president and chief executive officer of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and is recognized by industry leaders and policymakers alike as one of the leading experts on public policy concerning the pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry. 

  • Climate rules should maintain “all of the above” approach

    by Anna harris | Jan 23, 2014
      National Journal Energy Insider Blog
      by Donna Harman
      President & CEO

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certainly has a
      critical task before it to strike the balance between the president’s
      climate action plan and what is feasible to ask utilities and industry
      to comply with, especially in light of the mountain of other rules the agency has pending. However, it is important for the agency to work within the context of the administration’s stated focus on an “all of the above” energy strategy and to not disadvantage one solution or another.

    The paper and wood products manufacturing industry’s primary fuel source – biomass manufacturing residuals – provide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits equivalent to removing 40 million cars from the road. EPA is currently drafting an accounting framework for biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that we believe should establish our industry’s use of biomass as carbon neutral and distinguish biomass emissions from fossil fuel emissions; this framework would then guide development of regulations such as the Tailoring Rule and prevention of significant deterioration and Title V air permitting rules. Until this framework and the subsequent rules are finalized, facilities are in a holding pattern for investment, perpetuating an atmosphere of uncertainty.

    That said, what EPA does today with regard to utility rules affects our facilities, potentially driving up cost for facility ratepayers and setting precedent for industry regulation down the road. We already face a tremendous number of air regulations from boiler maximum achievable control technology to national ambient air quality standards to new source performance standards. Some of the actions being proposed, such as the electric generating unit rules, are based on the availability of yet undemonstrated technology. If passed, this rule would selectively disadvantage coal, taking an important domestic fuel out of the mix for the foreseeable future and raising costs for our facilities that need to purchase electricity. With billions in additional compliance costs on the way for other regulations, it just adds unnecessarily to the cumulative burden that our industry is already facing.

    EPA and the administration should focus on ensuring rules are set using sound science, like treating biogenic emissions as carbon neutral, but also with an eye to the social and economic impacts those rules could have – not just environmental.

  • Paper and Paper-based Packaging: A Shining Example of How Voluntary Recovery Works

    by Anna harris | Dec 13, 2013
     As Featured in the November/December issue of AICC Boxscore
     By Cathy Foley
     AF&PA Goup Vice President

     Some states are looking for new legislative ways to divert waste
     from landfills for both environmental and economic reasons.  One of
     the concepts that some states have considered for printed paper
     and packaging is extended producer responsibility (EPR).  In the
     U.S., we are more familiar with EPR programs for electronics, batteries, and mercury thermostats rather than printed paper and packaging.  

    EPR programs tend to place end of life responsibility largely, if not entirely, on the product manufacturer.  In the U.S., EPR can be expressed in one of four ways at the state level:  1) product-specific legislation; 2) framework legislation; 3) solid waste management plan; or 4) executive order.  The most popular form of EPR has historically been through product-specific legislation.  In 2013, 10 states introduced 18 pieces of EPR legislation, while three states took regulatory action to address paper and paper-based packaging specific EPR.  

    The paper and paper-based packaging industry has worked for 20 years to establish voluntary recycling and recovery programs that are yielding results today.  Through these efforts we have voluntarily increased recovery rates, not because of mandates, but because it makes good business sense.  Paper recovery and recycling programs are market-driven.  EPR programs for printed paper and packaging have the potential to add unneeded and unnecessary costs, creating a complexity to an existing, successful system.  

    We all recognize the importance and share the goals of increasing recycling, recovery and diverting paper from landfills - which is exactly why the paper industry has spent considerable resources to build a voluntary infrastructure to recover and recycle its own products.  Paper is a commodity that is highly recyclable, compostable and renewable.  More than 60 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. has been recovered for recycling each year since 2009 – most recently exceeding 65 percent in 2012. Corrugated recovery reached 91 percent in 2012.  The industry’s recovery rate far outpaces all other commodities in the municipal solid waste stream. As part of Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative, AF&PA members have set a goal to exceed 70 percent paper recovery by 2020 and are working with communities, businesses, and schools to reach this goal.  

    Proponents of EPR, believe that the current recycling and recovery systems in the U.S. are not working.  They believe that EPR programs will help expand access to recycling or recycling rates, control solid waste costs, create job opportunities, and leave industries paying higher prices for those commodities that were landfilled.

    However there are serious concerns amongst the paper industry and other interested industries regarding the implementation of any EPR programs.  This approach could dismantle the effective infrastructure that currently exists to collect and recycle paper and paper-based packaging materials.  

    Our industry has a proven record of setting and achieving recovery goals.  We’ve established an infrastructure that meets market demands and maximizes paper recovery in states from coast to coast.  We have a system that is working and a commodity, in paper that leads all others in recovery and landfill diversion.  When it comes to paper and paper-based packaging, EPR is a solution in search of a problem.  
  • AF&PA Honors Member Company Sustainability Efforts

    by Anna harris | Nov 26, 2013

     By Donna Harman, AF&PA President &CEO

     Five member companies were recognized for their commitment to 
     sustainability through the 2013 AF&PA Sustainability Awards at
     AF&PA’s annual meeting. The awards are part of the paper and
     wood products manufacturing industry’s sustainability initiative, 
     Better Practices, Better Planet 2020
    , and are an annual recognition
     of exemplary industry sustainability programs and initiatives.

    AF&PA sustainability award applicants are considered in two categories – “Innovation in Sustainability” and “Leadership in Sustainability.” The five “Leadership” subcategories – Paper Recovery for Recycling, Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Sustainable Forest Management, Safety, and Water – correspond with and support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals.  The “Innovation” award category recognizes projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices, but that do not specifically address one of the sustainability goals.

    KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation’s Longview Mill received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Greenhouse Gas Reduction/Energy Efficiency award for the “One-Year Snapshot of Longview’s Multi-Year Journey” project. The mill embarked on a multi-million dollar improvement project that spanned three years, contributing to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent over the last decade; reduction of overall energy use by 37 percent since 2007; reduction of overall energy used per ton of paper produced by 17.6 percent since 2007; and an increase of total tons of paper produced by 50 percent since 2006.

    RockTenn was awarded a “Leadership in Sustainability” Paper Recovery for Recycling award for the “RockTenn and Customer Recycling and Waste Reduction Initiative” project. RockTenn partnered with a national customer to educate the company’s team members about an existing recycling program so they would become more conscious of their disposal decisions and divert recyclables from the waste stream. The initiative resulted in 61.6 percent of the customer’s waste stream being recycled in 2012; 80.2 percent of the total recycle stream was composed of paperboard, corrugated and mixed paper.

    Domtar was recognized with two “Leadership in Sustainability” awards. First was a Safety award for Domtar’s “Hazard Mapping at Ashdown” project at the Ashdown, AR mill, which began in 2011 and involved specialized training, compiling information, developing electronic symbols and systematic area mapping.  Since the program’s implementation, 324 hazards have been eliminated.  Ashdown achieved a 1.07 recordable incident rate in 2012, making it the best year for safety in Ashdown’s 45-year history.

    Domtar also received a Sustainable Forest Management award for the company’s “Four States Timberland Owners Association” fiber certification program.  Domtar formed the Four States Timberland Owners Association in 2010 to educate landowners and managers on how to obtain sustainable forest management certification.  Domtar and 55 individual landowners representing more than 70,000 acres of forestland achieved certification in November 2012. The association is aiming to double the amount of certified acreage in 2013.

    Brunswick Cellulose, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific LLC, received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Water award for the “Water Use Reduction” project at its cellulose mill in Brunswick, GA.  Georgia-Pacific installed a single-line bleach plant to replace three older pulp bleaching processes.  The upgrade project resulted in a reduction in overall groundwater use of nearly 10 million gallons per day, or 30 percent of the mill’s total daily use, since the new equipment became fully operational in the first quarter of 2012.  The project also allows for a smaller energy footprint and lower air emissions from energy production.

    Graphic Packaging International was this year’s sole recipient of an “Innovation in Sustainability” award for the for “Tite-Pak® Innovation Beverage Package” project. Tite-Pak® was designed to reduce the amount of glass bottle breakage without increasing total packaging materials.  Research indicates that the implementation of Tite-Pak® has led to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among the 12 and 18 bottle packs. Graphic Packaging promotes a long-term reliance on paperboard packaging instead of plastic through this innovation.

    The winning projects are good indicators of the high bar AF&PA members continue to set for better business practices and are representative of the ingenuity and hard work taking place across the industry, which are key to achieving the industry’s sustainability goals by 2020.

    In 2012, AF&PA’s biennial Sustainability Report  showed that the U.S. pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturing industry has made significant, measurable progress toward achieving the goals of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative.  AF&PA will release its next report in mid-2014.

    For more information about the Sustainability Awards program and AF&PA’s Better Practices initiative, visit www.afandpa.org/sustainability.

  • Tax Reform Must Foster Jobs, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness

    by Anna harris | Oct 11, 2013
      Tax Reform Must Foster Jobs, Economic Growth, and
      Competitiveness


     by Donna Harman
     President and CEO
     American Forest & Paper Association


     Featured on ACCF's Capital Corner

     With comprehensive tax reform on the Congressional front-burner,
     paper and wood products manufacturers are educating lawmakers
     on the tax profile of the industry and the possible effects of
     wholesale reform of the tax code.  Our priority is to ensure that any
      changes result in improved economic growth, job opportunities and the
      competitiveness of U.S.-based forest products businesses.     

    The U.S. forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP.  Our companies produce about $200 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries.  They meet a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and rank among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.  Our companies and their business structures take many forms including C-Corps, S-Corps, partnerships and others.

    Click here to read more!

  • AF&PA and Agenda 2020 Collaborate to Transform the Forest Products Industry

    by Anna harris | Sep 30, 2013

    Paper Age Magazine, September/October edition 2013

    By Donna Harman, AF&PA President & CEO and Ron Brown, Agenda 2020 President & Executive Director

    As the forest products industry has evolved over the past few decades, so has the need for increased advocacy support and expanded focus on technology research opportunities.  Today, our industry has the benefit of two organizations whose complementary missions help move the needle on many issues:  the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance. 

    In 1994, AF&PA worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to form what has become an indispensible industry partnership in Agenda 2020.  An international alliance of companies, research institutions, and government partners promoting collaborative research and development projects, Agenda 2020 establishes the industry’s technology research priorities and advances the technology agenda by attracting government funds for breakthrough technology research for the forest products industry.   It seeks to attract a larger share of available government research dollars for our nationally important industry. 

    In 2011, Agenda 2020 became an independent organization to advance industry-related, pre-competitive technology programs.  Agenda 2020’s focus on industry transformation through innovation by collaborating on research in manufacturing processes complements AF&PA’s public and marketplace policy advocacy mission.    

    THE ROADMAP

    As one of its primary mission elements, Agenda 2020 developed the Forest Products Industry Technology Roadmap with the DOE, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech, and AF&PA. Development of this roadmap incorporated the contributions of more than 100 industry experts from around the world who participated in two workshops: one to identify the critical issue areas and one to define the industry’s research and development (R&D) needs.  By synthesizing and prioritizing the issues that industry representatives have designated as most crucial, the roadmap invites the research community to engage in research, development and demonstration programs that provide the foundation for deployment of new technology-driven solutions.

    Agenda 2020’s work, guided by the roadmap, focuses on four platform areas:

    • Sustainable Manufacturing - addresses new approaches for reducing water and energy demands and emissions of greenhouse gases that will make the industry's production processes more sustainable and efficient
    • Value from Biomass - encourages new methods of getting value from wood, including biomass-to-energy, biorefineries integrated with pulp mills, and high-value chemicals
    • Novel Materials - promotes the development of knowledge and techniques that can enable companies to develop new products and innovative features in existing products
    • Sustainable Forest Productivity - drives programs that assure forests will sustainably supply ample wood to meet the future demands for traditional paper and wood products as well as new demands for use in biofuels, energy, and bioproducts

    In September, Agenda 2020 also launched five industry-led teams to promote advanced manufacturing techniques with high potential to reduce energy and water demands in pulping and papermaking; transform the way wood is converted to fiber; and enable companies to more easily develop markets and uses for cellulosic nanomaterials.  Each team is tasked with delivering specific research plans in less than one year.

    STRATEGIC ALLIANCE ENSURES SUCCESS

    AF&PA advocates in support of public and marketplace policies to advance the sustainability and competitiveness of paper and wood products manufacturers.  Fact-based advocacy, grounded in solid policy research, helps AF&PA members achieve their policy goals. AF&PA works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the administration, Congress, states, and other stakeholders to advocate for public policies that promote sustainable manufacturing in a cost-effective manner for the industry.

    Whereas AF&PA is the recognized voice of the U.S. industry on policy and regulatory matters, Agenda 2020 develops the industry’s technology research agenda and collaborates with universities, government agencies, suppliers and a broad cross-section of paper and wood products manufacturers to ensure that future technologies meet changing business needs.  Agenda 2020’s partnership with the research community is particularly important for the forest products industry because sustainable manufacturing of paper, pulp, and wood-based products requires a broad range of technology solutions.

    AF&PA and Agenda 2020 collaborate and exchange information on objectives, efforts, initiatives and current issues on an ongoing basis.  Staffs of both organizations participate actively in committees, work groups, and informal task teams for mutual benefit.  AF&PA’s advocacy on policy topics such as renewable energy, carbon neutrality of woody biomass, energy and water use, and wood supply frequently takes into account Agenda 2020’s objectives, keeping the industry aligned. 

    Together, Agenda 2020 and AF&PA advance the technology and policy interests of the forest products industry to ensure continued, long-term growth and global competitiveness.

     

     


  • The Millennial Generation and Paper-Based Packaging

    by AFPA Communications | Sep 06, 2013

     The Millennial Generation and Paper-Based
     Packaging

     By Cathy Foley, AF&PA Group Vice President

     In order to continue to build a leadership voice on packaging, The 
     Responsible Package initiative recently researched how the millennial
     generation uses and views paper-based packaging.

    Millennials are the largest living generation in the U.S. The fact that they are entering their prime consuming years makes them uniquely influential because preferences they establish now will determine future trends.
    Through an in-depth research study that incorporated social media, interviews and focus group discussions, we researched Millennials’ attitudes, values and behaviors when it comes to paper-based packaging and gained insights into the role it plays in their lives.

    Click here to read more!

     

  • Administration’s Climate Plan Should Recognize the Carbon Neutrality of Forest Products Manufacturing Residues

    by AFPA Communications | Jul 02, 2013
      By: AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman
      July 1, 2013

     New government regulations that threaten to increase the cost of
     manufacturing without taking into account the economic, social, and
     environmental contributions provided by the paper and wood products
     manufacturing industry should be avoided. 

    Our industry already faces additional capital costs of roughly $14 billion from recent and upcoming Clean Air Act rules, and our investments in highly-efficient biomass energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels with woody residues that would have decayed anyway.  On average, about two-thirds of our energy comes from carbon neutral biomass energy and our products help create market demand to keep land in forests that sequester carbon rather than development.  

    EPA’s upcoming framework and regulations on biogenic carbon provide an excellent opportunity for EPA to recognize that paper and wood products manufacturers prevent further increases in carbon in the atmosphere by using biomass residues to produce energy.   

    Biomass residues offer exceptional benefits among energy fuels.  As forests grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.  That carbon dioxide will later be released as trees die and decay.  But that same carbon dioxide can also be released as the biomass is combusted, generating energy but adding no more carbon than would otherwise have naturally been released.  As long as forests are sustainably managed, this opportunity to take advantage of energy value that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere will continue.

    Renewable biomass is already helping to power one of the most significant manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy.  The paper and wood products manufacturing industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all U.S. manufacturing GDP, generating approximately $200 billion in products annually and employing nearly 900,000 Americans.  American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members have been taking voluntary efforts to improve the sustainability of the industry and the planet for years and are committed to doing so into the future.  We have improved our energy efficiency by 8.1 percent since 2005 and are on track to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.  Further, by recovering over 65 percent of the paper consumed in America for recycling, we are helping to reduce methane emissions.   

    The use of biomass residues to generate power at forest products facilities is part of the carbon cycle and takes into account social, economic, and environmental objectives essential to a sustainable future.
  • Letter to the Editor: Biomass-based energy vital to Maryland RPS

    by Anna harris | May 10, 2013

      Letter to the Editor: Biomass-based energy vital to Maryland RPS
      By: Donna Harman, President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association
      March 1, 2013 

       Dear Editor:

       The Post’s Feb. 22 story (“Md., DC Utilities Pay Paper Mills Burning ‘Black Liquor’
       For Alternative Fuel Credits”) leaned heavily on inaccurate and misleading
       statements from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and missed the real issue of increasing energy costs to Marylanders.  By discriminating against biomass, the market for Renewable Energy Credits would dismiss an important and cost-effective energy source.

    Biomass plays an important role in our country’s renewable energy portfolio.  Energy produced in forest products mills from wood residues is widely recognized as carbon neutral around the world, and rightly so.  Trees absorb CO2 and release it again upon natural decay.  By including these residues as a fuel, we capture the energy value, displace fossil fuels in the process, and complete the recycling loop. 

    The forest products industry, like other sectors of our economy, is making large investments in highly efficient biomass energy that meets stringent environmental standards.  Our nation’s renewable energy future demands low-cost baseload energy, and the forest products industry can be a key part of the solution.

    Discriminating against low-cost biomass energy is short-sighted and costly to both employers and consumers.

    Donna Harman
    President & CEO
    American Forest & Paper Association

     

     

Features

AF&PA 2014 Federal Policy Priorities Address Industry's Biggest Challenge

  March 24, 2014
  By Donna Harman
  President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association

  Paper Age, March/April 2014 edition
 
 Each year presents a new set of challenges in Washington, D.C. and
 in state capitols.  Some issues carryover from one year to the next;
 others shift with public opinion and legislative results from the prior
 year.  

The AF&PA board of directors ensures that our policy priorities are in line with the political environment and with business needs. We concentrate our advocacy efforts with lawmakers and regulators on the industry’s highest priorities.

Click here to read more.


Continuous Commitment to Paper Recovery for Recycling

  February 25, 2014
 
By Donna Harman
  President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association
  Paper Age, January/February Edition

  Recovering paper and paper-based products for recycling has long been a priority for
  our industry and an effort in which  AF&PA members continue to be proven leaders.
  Since 1990, when we first set a nationwide paper recovery goal, the U.S. recovery rate has nearly doubled, topping 65 percent in 2012. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2011, only 27.6 percent of glass, 20.7 percent of aluminum and 8.3 percent of plastics were recovered from municipal solid waste streams.

Click here to read more.


Government Policies Must Support American Free Enterprise

  January 29, 2014
  By Donna Harman
  President & CEO, American Forest &  Paper Association 
  The Hill, Congress Blog  

  The annual State of the Union address helps bring focus to the agenda in 
  Washington, D.C., and last night was no exception. Topics like job creation,
  economic growth, innovative manufacturing, trade agreements, energy, and
  environmental policies are on the minds of business men and women across the
 country. The U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry is proud of its achievements in these areas and our contributions to the American economy, and we hope government policies – whether by executive order, legislation or regulation – will reflect the strength of the American free enterprise system and unleash the power of the marketplace to bring stronger economic growth in the coming year.

Click here to read more.



Climate rules should maintain “all of the above” approach

 

 January 23, 2014
 by Donna Harman
 President & CEO, American Forest & Paper Association
 National Journal Energy Insider Blog

 

  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certainly has a critical task before it
  to strike the balance between the president’s climate action plan and what is feasible to ask utilities and industry to comply with, especially in light of the mountain of other rules the agency has pending. However, it is important for the agency to work within the context of the administration’s stated focus on an “all of the above” energy strategy and to not disadvantage one solution or another.

Click here to read more.



AF&PA Honors Member Company Sustainability Efforts

  November 8, 2013
  by Donna Harman
  President and CEO, American Forest & Paper Association


 Five member companies were recognized for their commitment to sustainability
 through the 2013 AF&PA Sustainability Awards at AF&PA’s annual meeting. The
 awards are part of the paper and wood products manufacturing industry’s
 sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020, and are an annual
 recognition of exemplary industry sustainability programs and initiatives.

AF&PA sustainability award applicants are considered in two categories – “Innovation in Sustainability” and “Leadership in Sustainability.” The five “Leadership” subcategories – Paper Recovery for Recycling, Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Sustainable Forest Management, Safety, and Water – correspond with and support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals. The “Innovation” award category recognizes projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices, but that do not specifically address one of the sustainability goals.

KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation’s Longview Mill received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Greenhouse Gas Reduction/Energy Efficiency award for the “One-Year Snapshot of Longview’s Multi-Year Journey” project. The mill embarked on a multi-million dollar improvement project that spanned three years, contributing to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent over the last decade; reduction of overall energy use by 37 percent since 2007; reduction of overall energy used per ton of paper produced by 17.6 percent since 2007; and an increase of total tons of paper produced by 50 percent since 2006.

RockTenn was awarded a “Leadership in Sustainability” Paper Recovery for Recycling award for the “RockTenn and Customer Recycling and Waste Reduction Initiative” project. RockTenn partnered with a national customer to educate the company’s team members about an existing recycling program so they would become more conscious of their disposal decisions and divert recyclables from the waste stream. The initiative resulted in 61.6 percent of the customer’s waste stream being recycled in 2012; 80.2 percent of the total recycle stream was composed of paperboard, corrugated and mixed paper.

Domtar was recognized with two “Leadership in Sustainability” awards. First was a Safety award for Domtar’s “Hazard Mapping at Ashdown” project at the Ashdown, AR mill, which began in 2011 and involved specialized training, compiling information, developing electronic symbols and systematic area mapping. Since the program’s implementation, 324 hazards have been eliminated. Ashdown achieved a 1.07 recordable incident rate in 2012, making it the best year for safety in Ashdown’s 45-year history.

Domtar also received a Sustainable Forest Management award for the company’s “Four States Timberland Owners Association” fiber certification program. Domtar formed the Four States Timberland Owners Association in 2010 to educate landowners and managers on how to obtain sustainable forest management certification. Domtar and 55 individual landowners representing more than 70,000 acres of forestland achieved certification in November 2012. The association is aiming to double the amount of certified acreage in 2013.

Brunswick Cellulose, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific LLC, received a “Leadership in Sustainability” Water award for the “Water Use Reduction” project at its cellulose mill in Brunswick, GA. Georgia-Pacific installed a single-line bleach plant to replace three older pulp bleaching processes. The upgrade project resulted in a reduction in overall groundwater use of nearly 10 million gallons per day, or 30 percent of the mill’s total daily use, since the new equipment became fully operational in the first quarter of 2012. The project also allows for a smaller energy footprint and lower air emissions from energy production.

Graphic Packaging International was this year’s sole recipient of an “Innovation in Sustainability” award for the for “Tite-Pak® Innovation Beverage Package” project. Tite-Pak® was designed to reduce the amount of glass bottle breakage without increasing total packaging materials. Research indicates that the implementation of Tite-Pak® has led to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among the 12 and 18 bottle packs. Graphic Packaging promotes a long-term reliance on paperboard packaging instead of plastic through this innovation.

The winning projects are good indicators of the high bar AF&PA members continue to set for better business practices and are representative of the ingenuity and hard work taking place across the industry, which are key to achieving the industry’s sustainability goals by 2020.

In 2012, AF&PA’s biennial Sustainability Report showed that the U.S. pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturing industry has made significant, measurable progress toward achieving the goals of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative. AF&PA will release its next report in mid-2014.

For more information about the Sustainability Awards program and AF&PA’s Better Practices initiative, visit www.afandpa.org/sustainability.

  


Tax Reform Must Foster Jobs, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness

  October 4, 2013
  by Donna Harman

  President and CEO, American Forest & Paper Association

  Featured on ACCF's Capital Corner

  With comprehensive tax reform on the Congressional front-burner, paper and wood
 products manufacturers are educating lawmakers on the tax profile of the industry
 and the possible effects of wholesale reform of the tax code.  Our priority is to
 ensure that any changes result in improved economic growth, job opportunities and
 the competitiveness of U.S.-based forest products businesses.     

The U.S. forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP.  Our companies produce about $200 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries.  They meet a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and rank among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states.  Our companies and their business structures take many forms including C-Corps, S-Corps, partnerships and others.

Our industry is capital-intensive and operates in a highly competitive international marketplace.  Comprehensive business tax reform should allow for economic growth and improve the competitiveness of important job-creating sectors, including the U.S. forest products industry.  Between 2006 and 2011, our industry has invested $52 billion in new equipment and production capability

We are leaders in the field of renewable energy, generating electricity and other usable forms of energy for operations.  Our businesses offer robust family-wage and benefits -- earnings of pulp and paper mill workers exceed the average for all U.S. private sector workers by about 50 percent.  And, our industry exceeds the average for all manufacturing in value-added per dollar of shipments.

Paper and wood products manufacturers also support jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy.  For instance, a study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found that each paper industry job supports 3.25 jobs in supplier industries and local communities from re-spending and tax receipts. Additionally, the United States is a net exporter of pulp and paper products.

Priorities for comprehensive federal tax reform:

•    Tax rates - The United States has the highest statutory corporate tax rate among OECD countries. This is because most other OECD member countries have lowered corporate rates during the past two decades, while U.S. corporate rates have remained stagnant.  A significant reduction in all taxes on U.S. business income is needed to be more in line with the average among other OECD countries.  A tax system with the lowest possible tax rates is desirable to foster capital investment, jobs creation and economic growth.

•    Business investment -Business investment is another crucial driver of economic growth and jobs. Appropriate treatment of depreciation, interest expense, and research expenditures to ensure capital intensive manufacturers -- such as paper and wood products companies – continue to invest in new and more efficient equipment.

•    International tax rules - The global market place is more competitive than ever and home country tax systems can provide a competitive edge as companies seek to enter new markets and compete in existing markets.  Unfortunately, the United States has fallen behind when most OECD countries have moved to competitive tax regimes.  The U.S. international tax rules should be reformed to include a competitive territorial tax system like those of many other countries so that U.S.-based companies can compete on a level playing field in vital global markets.

•    Employees benefit provisions - The U.S. forest products industry is a leader in providing excellent employee payroll, retirement and health benefits to its workers. Changes in tax law could have a dramatic effect on companies’ ability to continue these benefits.

•    Transition relief - Major changes in federal tax policy could have a negative impact on existing business investment and create considerable uncertainty.  Appropriate transition relief and protections against retroactive tax law changes are essential elements for federal tax reform.  For example, the full benefit of net operating losses and unused tax credits should be protected and allowed to be carried forward to future years.

Maintaining a vibrant U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing sector is essential to our nation’s economy.  We hope lawmakers will resist the temptation to pick winners and losers among businesses and avoid counter-productive tax increases that will be harmful to economic growth and job creation.  A reformed tax code should provide a level playing field for business activity, allowing our businesses to compete in the domestic and global marketplace.


The Millennial Generation and Paper-Based Packaging


 
  Boxscore, May/June 2013

  By Cathy Foley
  Group Vice President

  In order to continue to build a leadership voice on packaging, The Responsible

  Package initiative recently researched how the millennial generation uses and
  views paper-based packaging.

Millennials are the largest living generation in the U.S. The fact that they are entering their prime consuming years makes them uniquely influential because preferences they establish now will determine future trends.

Through an in-depth research study that incorporated social media, interviews and focus group discussions, we researched Millennials’ attitudes, values and behaviors when it comes to paper-based packaging and gained insights into the role it plays in their lives.

Basic perception

First off, the research results showed that packaging is fundamental to Millennials’ lives. So fundamental, in fact, that they often take it for granted. Most participants claimed they don’t spend much time thinking about the packaging that surrounds them. When they were asked to take notice of the packaging in their homes as part of the research, they discovered it’s “everywhere”.

Participants claimed they rarely consciously consider packaging when buying a product, basing their purchases on the actual product instead of its package. But packaging can influence their purchase decisions when they are trying a new product or deciding between similar products. Some participants credited paper-based packaging as reflecting positively on the product or brand. The packaging enhanced their perception that natural, organic or earth-friendly; or handmade as opposed to manufactured.

Convenient (re)use

While Millennials appreciate practical benefits like product protection and identification, they’re most interested in packaging that they deem convenient. Paper-based packaging is generally preferred for being practical, affordable, easy to use, earth-friendly, and versatile.

Millennials love the idea of repurposing – doing so makes them feel good. Compared to most other materials, they are more likely to repurpose paper-based packaging: paper bags and shopping bags are used over and over to carry, hold and transport other items, or are used as containers for waste; shoe boxes are used to store and organize materials; and large boxes are used for storage and moving.

The Eco-friendliest of them all


Paper-based packaging is considered to be the most environmentally friendly packaging option there is. Participants credited it as “natural”, easily decomposable, and least harmful of all packaging materials in a landfill environment.

In fact, even when prompted, very few participants mentioned any perceived negative effects on the environment. Given environmental groups’ messaging about the forest products industry, this part of the study was surprising.

Many participants anticipated paper-based packaging to hold an even more prominent role in the years to come. Most think companies will strive to be more conscientious, which will lead them to prefer and use more paper-based packaging.

On the other hand, Millennials are not yet willing to make any sacrifices, such as making lifestyle changes or paying a premium, for more eco-friendly products or packaging. Their belief in “having it all” leads them to expect to have great packaging that makes their life easier, looks good, and still aligns with their developing values around sustainability.

Recycling packaging


Participants cited two key factors in influencing their recycling behavior: their parents who instilled recycling behavior at an early age, making it a second-nature behavior; and their education at school, where they learned about recycling and had recycling clubs. 

However, most Millennials do not pay attention to the type of paper-based packaging used and have minimal knowledge about the differences between paper-based packaging materials.

Few are aware of the differences between blends with partial recycled paper and virgin paper, although they do recognize and appreciate the varied weights, sturdiness, and textures paper-based packaging offers.

Participants agree that recycling all types of paper-based packaging is important, with most of them recycling at least some of the time. Here, convenience is an important factor as well. When recycling is limited, it is often due to lacking county, city or building support.

Industry opportunities

Creating a more active relationship between Millennials and paper-based packaging and reframing the way they think about it would allow the industry to raise the visibility of paper-based packaging.

By reminding Millennials of their values and linking those values to the benefits of paper-based packaging – its practical, convenient and sustainable traits – it is possible for paper-based packaging to become a conscious consumer decision.

While participants noted that paper-based packaging can enhance their perception of the environmental nature of a product or brand, they are also increasingly leery of “greenwashing” and false claims. Companies should take note to be transparent and to avoid making environmental promises they cannot keep.

Finally, Millennials still need guidance regarding correct recycling behavior and making decisions about how to recycle, what is recyclable, and so on. Industry efforts can arm them with the information they need to recycle efficiently and regularly. 

The Responsible Package initiative is an industry-wide effort to promote the versatile and sustainable packaging solutions provided by paper-based packaging. The Responsible Package supports paperboard, corrugated, and paper bag and sack products and will further the paper-based packaging industry's commitment to providing renewable, recyclable and sustainable packaging that also is reliable and economically viable.

Originally published in May/June Boxscore, p. 25:  

http://www.aiccbox.org/boxscore/ZMag/May_June_2013.html



Administration’s Climate Plan Should Recognize the Carbon Neutrality of Forest Products Manufacturing Residues

  July 1, 2013
  by Donna Harman
  President & CEO
  American Forest & Paper Association
 

  New government regulations that threaten to increase the cost of manufacturing
  without taking into account the economic, social, and environmental contributions
  provided by the paper and wood products manufacturing industry should be avoided. 

Our industry already faces additional capital costs of roughly $14 billion from recent and upcoming Clean Air Act rules, and our investments in highly-efficient biomass energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels with woody residues that would have decayed anyway.  On average, about two-thirds of our energy comes from carbon neutral biomass energy and our products help create market demand to keep land in forests that sequester carbon rather than development.  

EPA’s upcoming framework and regulations on biogenic carbon provide an excellent opportunity for EPA to recognize that paper and wood products manufacturers prevent further increases in carbon in the atmosphere by using biomass residues to produce energy.   

Biomass residues offer exceptional benefits among energy fuels.  As forests grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.  That carbon dioxide will later be released as trees die and decay.  But that same carbon dioxide can also be released as the biomass is combusted, generating energy but adding no more carbon than would otherwise have naturally been released.  As long as forests are sustainably managed, this opportunity to take advantage of energy value that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere will continue.

Renewable biomass is already helping to power one of the most significant manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy.  The paper and wood products manufacturing industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all U.S. manufacturing GDP, generating approximately $200 billion in products annually and employing nearly 900,000 Americans.  American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members have been taking voluntary efforts to improve the sustainability of the industry and the planet for years and are committed to doing so into the future.  We have improved our energy efficiency by 8.1 percent since 2005 and are on track to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.  Further, by recovering over 65 percent of the paper consumed in America for recycling, we are helping to reduce methane emissions.   The use of biomass residues to generate power at forest products facilities is part of the carbon cycle and takes into account social, economic, and environmental objectives essential to a sustainable future.



Biomass residues are a valuable sustainable energy source

  by Donna Harman
  President and CEO
  June 12, 2013
 
Originally published on The Hill's Congress Blog http://bit.ly/127h6ta

  A report on greenhouse gas emissions earlier this week by the International Energy
  Agency will have policymakers once again discussing sustainable energy options.
  Reasons for this renewed interest range from energy security to protection of our
natural resources. Paper and wood products manufacturers have long known the benefits of using biomass residues to produce energy and, in optimizing its use, have reduced greenhouse gas emissions 10.5 percent since 2005, with a goal to reach 15 percent by 2020.

The carbon cycle is nature’s way cleaning the air. As forests grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. That carbon dioxide will later be released as trees die or woody residues decay. But that same carbon can also be released as the biomass is combusted, generating energy while adding no more carbon than would otherwise have naturally been released. This is an opportunity to take advantage of energy value that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere.

Biomass is helping to power one of the most significant manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4.5 percent of all U.S. manufacturing GDP, generating approximately $200 billion in products annually and employing nearly 900,000 Americans. Paper and wood products manufacturing facilities produce 70 percent of the renewable biomass energy used by the entire manufacturing sector in the U.S. And on average, paper and wood products manufacturers meet about two-thirds of their energy needs from renewable biomass residues that would have decayed anyway, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. By using these residues as fuel, we’re capturing the energy value while reducing the use of fossil fuel that would otherwise be needed to power our manufacturing facilities.

Given the science behind the sustainable carbon cycle and the obvious benefits of biomass-based energy, particularly that resulting from residues, federal policies should not choose winners and losers among renewable, sustainable energy sources. Where state or federal government policies exist, those policies must treat existing industry energy generation from biomass equally with newly-created renewable energy generation, promote sustainable forest management, and provide incentives for reliable and affordable regional fiber supplies rather than a particular use while maintaining open market access.

The forest products industry voluntarily supports the sustainable nature of biomass.
In the United States, more wood is grown than is harvested for forest products. This sustainable forest resource enables AF&PA member companies to make products essential for everyday life from a renewable and recyclable resource and also to produce renewable biomass energy through highly-efficient combined heat and power technology. The industry has also committed to continuous improvement through our sustainability initiative, Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. As our biennial Sustainability Report shows, we have made significant progress on the initiative’s six key goals: increasing paper-recovery for recycling; improving energy efficiency; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting sustainable forestry practices; improving workplace safety; and reducing water use.

As the debate about energy options warms up again, it’s time that federal policies recognize the forest products industry’s contribution to sustainable manufacturing in America and how our unique use of biomass residues in energy production contributes more broadly to our country’s energy profile.

Donna Harman is president and chief executive officer of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and is recognized by industry leaders and policymakers alike as one of the leading experts on public policy concerning the pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry.



Letter to the Editor: Biomass-based energy vital to Maryland RPS

  March 1, 2013

 
Dear Editor:

  The Post’s Feb. 22 story (“Md., DC Utilities Pay Paper Mills Burning ‘Black Liquor’
  For Alternative Fuel Credits”) leaned heavily on inaccurate and misleading
  statements from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and missed the real issue
  of increasing energy costs to Marylanders. By discriminating against biomass, the market for Renewable Energy Credits would dismiss an important and cost-effective energy source.

Biomass plays an important role in our country’s renewable energy portfolio. Energy produced in forest products mills from wood residues is widely recognized as carbon neutral around the world, and rightly so. Trees absorb CO2 and release it again upon natural decay. By including these residues as a fuel, we capture the energy value, displace fossil fuels in the process, and complete the recycling loop. 

The forest products industry, like other sectors of our economy, is making large investments in highly efficient biomass energy that meets stringent environmental standards. Our nation’s renewable energy future demands low-cost baseload energy, and the forest products industry can be a key part of the solution.

Discriminating against low-cost biomass energy is short-sighted and costly to both employers and consumers.

Donna Harman
President & CEO
American Forest & Paper Association



Letter: Paper Bags Over Plastic

  by Cathy Foley
  Group Vice President
  January 16, 2013
  The Daily Journal

  Editor,

  In response to Cathy Browne’s guest perspective, “Everyone loses under bag bans” in the Jan. 3 edition of the Daily Journal, the record on paper bags needs to be set straight. When choosing a grocery bag, paper is the most environmentally-conscious choice. The guest perspective states that plastic bags are made from a natural gas derivative and not from oil. Natural gas, just like oil, is a fossil fuel and non-renewable. Unlike plastic, paper bags are made from recovered paper and wood fiber, a renewable and sustainable resource.

The Forest Products Industry sources the fiber used in its products from sustainably managed forests. In fact, the United States has 20 percent more trees today than it did on the first Earth Day celebration more than 40 years ago.

Paper bags can be recycled, reused and even composted, as evidenced by their use throughout the country in municipal leaf mulching programs.

Paper bags are 100 percent recyclable and their recovery rate is at nearly 50 percent, while that of plastic bags is at nearly 10 percent. Many of the products’ plastic bags are recycled into are precisely the types of hard plastics that the guest perspective claims are the culprit of oceanic pollution. Plastic bag litter itself is a major threat to marine animals.

If you want to make a responsible and sustainable choice, choose paper bags.

Cathy Foley

Falmouth, Maine

The letter writer is the group vice president for the Renewable Bag Council and American Forest and Paper Association.