By Chuck Fuqua
Executive Director, Strategic Communications
President Obama last week proclaimed October 20-26, 2013 National
Forest Products Week. I applaud the President’s commitment to
sustainable forestry practices and the recognition of wood building
products. But, there is so much more to know and appreciate in the
paper, pulp, packaging and wood products sectors.
The forest products industry creates and provides an array of products people depend on in their daily lives across the country and around the world. Products that communicate and inform, promote clean hygiene, provide shelter, package and protect goods, and capture life’s memorable moments. We create the paper and wood products consumers depend on today and will expect tomorrow.
When it comes to sustainability, AF&PA members have a proven track record of leadership. We are in the third year of our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative – one of the most comprehensive quantifiable set of sustainability goals for any manufacturing sector. Our member companies certify their adherence to sustainable forest management as a condition of membership, and have for much of the 20 years we have existed as AF&PA. We are leaders in sustainable manufacturing.
Paper and wood products manufacturers continue their proud history of responsible, efficient use of this renewable resource to manufacture recyclable products. In 1993 we set our first paper recovery goal, having achieved and raised the bar four times since - nearly doubling the recovery rate over the last 20 years, now striving for 70 percent recovery by 2020. We set the standard for progress in recycling.
Our members stay on the cutting edge of technology to innovate and develop new products, such as: stronger, lighter packaging with wood-based nanomaterials; to produce cellulosic pulp used in high-tech products; and generate cleaner renewable energy to power our facilities.
We appreciate President Obama’s proclamation, but welcome him and his Administration to join us in realizing all that the paper and wood products industry offers through our people and our products. Our record is strong on sustainable forestry practices, sustainable manufacturing and creating recyclable products from a renewable resource. We are an industry worth recognizing for our contribution to our environment, our communities and our Nation’s economy.