Newspaper Trailblazers See the Forest for the Trees: A Look at Who's Leading the Pack When It Comes to Sustainability

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We live in a hectic world; one where it's easy to focus on only what's in front of you, and to miss the forest for the trees. You can follow trail markers, but that means you' re never going to be out in front of the pack forging the path. That kind of trailblazing leadership requires creative, long-range thinking. A new report from Canopy and Green Press Initiative on industry best practices found that many within the newspaper business are already showing this kind of leadership by building sustainability fight into their business models.

Keys to leadership

The report shows publishers have the power to make a real difference when they commit to implementing paper procurement policies and production efficiencies, and encouraging suppliers to support forest conservation initiatives.

The environmental footprint of newspapers is the single largest of all publishing sectors. So, industry leaders have the potential to make among the most significant contributions toward protecting the world's forests, species, and climate and improving forest management.

Our study of eco-performance within the sector identified five areas that are fundamental to leadership on the environment:

* Sustainability is incorporated into the core of the company's operations.

* The protection of endangered and high conservation value forests is advanced by eliminating endangered forest fiber from the supply.

* Recycled newsprint is given preference due to its smaller eco-footprint.

* Production efficiency is maximized, thereby minimizing waste.

* The development of non-wood papers, such as straw papers, is supported as an alternative to virgin wood.

Performing above the fold

The report profiles the industry players who stand out above the fold on the environment. These publishers' efforts show the path for companies interested in making a difference for our planet through their business practices.

Here is just a sample:

The Globe and Mail--Setting a course with environmental direction

The Globe and Mail has developed a robust Sustainable Paper Mandate and is making consistent progress on implementing its policy by engaging suppliers on conservation issues throughout the supply chain. The Globe and Mail is a member of the Boreal Business Forum, which includes a select group of customers and investors committed to tracking and supporting the implementation of the world's largest conservation initiative, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The publisher is also involved with a group of C-suite conservation leaders called Canopy Club, which engages suppliers on conservation issues.

Hearst--Lending muscle to landmark conservation initiatives

Hearst, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle, is also engaged in the Boreal Business Forum and is supporting successful conservation outcomes in other sourcing areas. Hearst has created the Being Green Report specifically to benchmark its environmental performance. A trendsetting initiative of eco-transparency, such sustainability reports are a great way for leaders to ensure their companies are engaged responsibly on environmental issues and to highlight their successes to external stakeholders and partners.

The Guardian--Embracing sustainability

The Guardian's Environmental Vision and Paper Purchasing Policy is accompanied by environmental performance reporting that aims to cover all aspects of its operations. …