Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sprint Tops Green Grades from ForestEthics, Others Lag

Today ForestEthics released its 2011 Green Grades Report Card, ranking a dozen U.S. Fortune 500 companies that impact forests through heavy paper use. Now in its 5th year, Green Grades has established itself as a key information source for consumers and companies seeking to match environmental values with paper purchasing and business decisions.

Download the report card here >>

This year Green Grades focuses on companies in the credit card, insurance and telecom sectors – a group characterized by heavy paper consumption, including direct mail marketing. The following companies are graded: American Express, AT&T, Bank of America, Capitol One, Chase, Discover, GEICO, Sprint, State Farm, Travelers, USAA, and Verizon.

Green Grades evaluates companies on key paper sustainability measures, including: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification; maximization of post-consumer recycled content; reduction in paper consumption; and avoidance of Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) greenwash.

Among all companies surveyed, Sprint emerged as the clear leader. The company will amend its paper policy to avoid fiber from endangered forests and set a purchasing goal of 90% FSC paper by 2012. These commitments enhance an already strong policy, which includes the impressive goal of reducing the total weight of paper the company purchases by 30% within the next year, and 40% by 2017.

AT&T also made important new commitments, including giving preference to FSC certified products for paper purchases.  Discover made the most progress among credit card companies, adopting its first-ever paper procurement policy, and declaring a preference for FSC. Insurer USAA acted to improve its direct mail paper use by setting a minimum goal of 10% post-consumer recycled fiber, with a target of migrating toward 30%. 

Insurance giants GEICO and Travelers are Green Grades’ biggest laggards.  They declined to return the Green Grades survey, and have no publicly available information about their paper policies and practices.

“As some of the world’s largest paper consumers, these companies are part of forest destruction in many regions.  The good news is that ForestEthics has persuaded several of them to use their influence and buying power to help protect forests,” said Mark Schofield of ForestEthics. “We’re most disappointed by GEICO and Travelers, two noted junk mailers who, despite having significant impacts on forests because of paper use, have made no commitments to environmental responsibility in this realm.”

Download the report card here >>

ForestEthics is a member of the Environmental Paper Network.


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