The concept of forest certification, which ensures that the forests used to create pulp and paper products will continue to remain environmentally viable after harvest, has existed for more than 20 years. Ecolabels, including Type 1 ecolabels like ECOLOGO® and EU Ecolabel, help consumers easily identify products sourced from well-managed forests.
Paper was one of the first items to carry an ecolabel, in recognition of the many benefits that trees provide. Today, demand for ecolabels as indicators of sustainability has increased significantly. According to the Ecolabel Index, there are more than 450 ecolabels in the marketplace, each highlighting an environmental or social benefit associated with a product’s sourcing or manufacture.
Just as Domtar revolutionized the industry when it became the first company in North America to offer Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified copy paper in 2005, the company has become an early adopter of other certifications. For example, our Windsor Mill in Quebec meets standards for two well-known Type 1 ecolabels: ECOLOGO and EU Ecolabel.
Type 1 Ecolabels Demonstrate Holistic Certification
Studies show that consumers are increasingly enticed by sustainable brands. These brands tend to offer products that are environmentally responsible, socially conscious or manufactured in a way that reduces negative impact, as indicated by the presence of an ecolabel. To address this trend, an entire class of voluntary marks was created, defined by the International Organization for Standardization as Type 1 ecolabels. These marks all share the following traits:
- They are voluntary programs.
- They require compliance with environmental and other relevant legislation.
- They consider the entire product lifecycle.
- They establish criteria that differentiate environmentally preferable products from conventional products.
Here’s more information on ECOLOGO and EU Ecolabel, the Type 1 ecolabels adopted by Domtar.
ECOLOGO is one of North America’s most stringent multi-attribute environmental certification marks. Founded in 1988, the program is administered by UL, a global independent safety science company. This voluntary, lifecycle-based standard certifies that products demonstrate a reduced environmental impact.
Beginning in 2014, Domtar’s Windsor, Quebec Mill met the rigorous requirements for acceptable fiber sourcing and manufacturing practices, including stringent criteria on chemical use, in order to include the ECOLOGO label on products it produced. Domtar was the second paper producer to offer such certification. Today, all EarthChoice® Office Paper, EarthChoice 30 Recycled Office Paper and EarthChoice 50 Recycled Office Paper produced by the mill bears the ECOLOGO mark.
Though rigorous scientific testing and auditing were necessary to achieve this Type 1 ecolabel certification, the effort was well worth it, according to Kevin O’Brien, director of sales, Business Papers. “ECOLOGO remains highly desirable by the largest paper consumers in Canada, including the federal and Quebec governments, both of which mandate the purchase of ECOLOGO–certified paper,” says O’Brien. “In fact, it was our ability to offer certification that recently led to Domtar being named Vendor Sales Team of the Year by Staples Business Advantage Canada.”
Established in 1992, the EU Ecolabel is a voluntary mark developed by scientists, NGOs and stakeholders to develop a transparent way for consumers to make environmentally responsible choices. Developed by the European Commission, EU Ecolabel certifies products with manufacturing that processes help reduce their environmental impacts across the entire lifecycle of the product, from sourcing to manufacture and use and, ultimately, to their next life.
Given the standard’s origins, EU Ecolabel is primarily required by European customers, and currently appears on approximately 40,000 products and services, from baby clothes to electronics. Our Windsor Mill is one of the few manufacturers outside of Europe that boasts EU Ecolabel certification for copying and graphic paper. Today, the mill offers the popular EU Flower logo on select private brands that we export overseas.
“Over the last few years, EU Ecolabel certification has become widely specified by government and industry as mandatory, making it a requirement to do business in Europe,” says Justine Sharpe, market director, European Paper Sales. “Domtar’s ability to offer EU Ecolabel–certified paper products puts the company on par with Europe’s major manufacturers and stands as a testament to the Windsor Mill’s commitment to operating sustainably. It has proven instrumental in our sustained growth in the continent.”
To learn more about the suite of certifications that demonstrate Domtar’s commitment to lower its environmental impact, including Type 1 ecolabels such as ECOLOGO and EU Ecolabel, please visit the Our Certifications page on our website.