By Abigail Sztein
Manager, Government Affairs, and
Director, Government Affairs
Face-to-face interaction is one of the most effective ways to inform and educate policy makers about our industry’s sustainability practices and results. By connecting lawmakers with the companies in their constituency, valuable information can be shared and the impact of legislation made tangible.
That’s why we recently partnered with supporting associations to host a series of “Advocacy Days” across State Capitols in Maryland, Washington and Oregon. The events provided member companies an opportunity talk about the voluntary, sustainable business practices they use to keep our forests healthy, while ensuring that the renewable resources used to make our paper and wood products are readily available for future generations. These methods play a central role in keeping our industry competitive and productive and illustrate a key point: costly and complex regulations and legislation are not always necessary.
A big thank you goes out to the Printing and Graphics Association of the MidAtlantic who helped us organize the January 31 event in Annapolis, MD. We send the same appreciation to the Northwest Pulp & Paper Association and the Washington Forest Protection Association for joining with us for the February 8 program in Spokane, WA and the Northwest Pulp & Paper Association and the Oregon Forest & Industries Council for supporting the March 7 schedule in Salem, OR.
When it comes to implementing sustainable forest management and procurement practices, wise use of water and paper recycling, efficient production and use of large quantities of carbon-neutral biomass energy, our businesses continue to lead. The same holds true for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. Member companies recently underscored their commitment to sustainability by announcing a GHG reduction goal of 20 percent by the year 2020 (using a 2005 baseline) under AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative. This builds on the 2016 announcement that GHG emissions from member facilities were reduced by 16 percent.
As legislators in Maryland, Washington and Oregon other states conduct their work, we hope they recognize and learn from our sustainability achievements. We hope the same for companies in our industry and others. A day’s worth of collaboration can have a mountain of impact.