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AF&PA Releases Sustainability Progress Report

“AF&PA was among the first to establish comprehensive, quantifiable sustainability goals for a manufacturing industry” – Heidi Brock

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Sustainability Progress Report, which highlights the paper and wood products industry’s sustainability achievements. AF&PA members met or surpassed most of the sustainability goals, including a 24.1 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“AF&PA was among the first to establish comprehensive, quantifiable sustainability goals for a manufacturing industry,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “Our remarkable progress is the result of our members’ commitment to sustainability. Through innovations in manufacturing processes and products, our industry has helped create more value for people who rely on our products every day, while being good environmental stewards.”

AF&PA’s Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 achievements include:

  • AF&PA member companies reached a 30 percent improvement in the safety incidence rate from the 2006 baseline, surpassing the 25 percent goal. AF&PA also established a voluntary program for member companies to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.
  • Members surpassed their goal to reduce GHG emissions, achieving a 24.1 percent reduction from the 2005 baseline.
  • AF&PA members adhered to sustainable fiber procurement principles, which assure that wood is sourced from suppliers who are committed to sustainable management and harvesting practices. Members procured 99.2 percent of the total wood fiber through a Certified Sourcing Program – a 12.2 percent increase from the 2005 baseline.
  • AF&PA members surpassed their energy efficiency goal with a 13.3 percent decrease in purchased energy from the 2005 baseline. Member pulp and paper mills self-generated 58 percent of the electricity needed to power their mills in 2020, most of which was renewable using carbon-neutral biomass manufacturing residuals.
  • AF&PA members help drive greater water stewardship. Members’ reduced water use at pulp and paper mills by 8.3 percent.
  • Paper recycling rates have continuously grown over recent decades and remain consistently high, meeting or exceeding 63 percent since 2009. In 2020, nearly 66 percent of paper was recycled.

Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 is a decade-long initiative involving members and key stakeholders. Since 2011, AF&PA has published five biennial reports tracking members’ progress. The current report reflects data from the 2020 member performance verification survey.

In 2021, AF&PA released its updated sustainability goals, Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. AF&PA will continue to issue biennial sustainability reports, tracking progress on the updated goals initiative. The first Better Practices, Better Planet 2030 report will be released later this year.

“While we celebrate our accomplishments, we are also working to advance the sustainability of our industry even further,” Brock said. “Our members are constantly striving to reach new limits of possibility. Our new goals will help deliver more sustainable products for a more sustainable future.”

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