Procure paper products for business use from ethically certified sources


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UN SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment


• Request access to certifications to identify the sourcing process of paper and paper-related products from your current and potential suppliers.
a. Organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have certifications such as the CoC (Chain of Custody) certification, to ensure the process of paper being manufactured is ethical throughout. Businesses that purchase printers and/ or papers from suppliers that are FSC trademarked are far more beneficial to the environment than paper & paper processing machines that don't have this trademark (Refer to the resource section)
b. The environmental non-profit, GreenBlue, has created an innovative assessment tool that allows buyers and sellers of paper products to evaluate environmental performance data along the paper supply chain. The Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT) can be used here as it helps buyers and suppliers find each other and assess the trade-offs and environmental attributes in paper purchasing decisions (Refer to tool in resource section)

• Perform an internal assessment of your current paper usage and the percentage of products that are ethically certified.

• Based on assessment results, identify opportunities to reduce paper use at different consumption points in your company without drastically affecting your daily operations.

Opportunity Identification 

Confirm with the suppliers on their certifications and opting to purchase from such suppliers is a low-cost option to support the environment. Supplier diversification from choosing ethical paper suppliers can provide inventory security for your supply chain operations.

Environmental responsibility is ensured in the process of paper manufacturing when using paper that is FSC certified. Different supplier profiles can be assessed using the EPAT tool, promoting sustainable product sourcing.

Strategy Build & Execution

Option 1:

• Conduct an internal assessment, identify your current suppliers' sourcing and manufacturing practices, and see if they are FSC certified.

• Contact suppliers and work out with them the various ways that they can improve their current operations

• Support the suppliers with the implementation of the certificate, set agreements with suppliers, and internally to regulate paper purchasing.

Option 2:

• Seek out ethical suppliers in the EPAT platform (or other platform equivalent promoting green suppliers in the paper industry).

• Conduct an internal assessment to determine the feasibility and degree of commitment your stakeholders have, so as to ensure that the switch will result in procurement from more ethical and diverse suppliers.

• Align with your stakeholders to ensure that they are aware of changes being made, and that the action is a company-wide initiative to achieve a common goal.

• Based on data, make an informed decision, and make the switch.

• Submit an Request for Information (RFI) to seek out suppliers that can satisfy your needs.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Consider working with a supplier to build their resources, tools, and capacity to adopt FSC practices and develop ethical sourcing practices in their operations.

• When entering contract agreement with new suppliers, leverage the business creation for a discounted rate from suppliers. Agree on quality and maintenance accountability and responsibility, discuss how the certificate benefits the relationship and business between yourself and the vendor.

• Inclusion of quality assurance and warranty clauses in the contract to ensure the extended higher quality life of the product.

• Emphasize your initiative to source and procure ethical paper in your contract, make this a high priority item when engaged in negotiations.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Perform an internal review after certificates have been obtained, check in with suppliers on the paper product standards, upholding the guidelines specified on the certificates.

• Evaluate the commercial impact of procuring paper products from ethical suppliers, include an assessment on environmental impact; compare to historical data to track progress.

• Discuss new certificates and see if it is the new standards for paper manufacturing in terms of sustainable paper materials and the necessity for applying for these new certifications.

Resource Links

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