Rainforest Leadership Profiles: Scholastic

December, 2013

In the six years since Scholastic Corporation announced its environmental paper policy, it has solidified its position as a publishing industry leader and proven that running a successful business can go hand in hand with sound environmental practices.

Scholastic’s detailed and comprehensive paper policy gets high marks. In January of 2008, the company set industry-leading targets for increasing the percentage of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fiber and recycled fiber in its books. The policy also prohibits sourcing from illegal logging operations, High Conservation Value forests and endangered forests, as well as from suppliers that use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or that fail to respect human rights.

Even the best policy is only as good as its implementation, and RAN sees positive signs that Scholastic has taken this follow through seriously. This includes verifying that action is taken and publicly reporting on progress made. Scholastic remains focused on responsible paper sourcing by setting ambitious targets, verifying its supply chain and eliminating controversial fiber from threatened forest landscapes like Indonesia. Scholastic is also one of the most proactive companies in the publishing industry when it comes to investigating what’s going on in its supply chain. To clarify requirements for their suppliers, the company added language to its contracts and purchase orders specifying what types of fiber can and can’t be used in Scholastic books. The company also performs independent fiber tests to make sure that its suppliers are complying with its requirements – and not just on finished books, but also on the paper it expects to use in a book before it goes to press.

Scholastic has driven real change at its paper mill and printer suppliers by asking that controversial fiber sources are eliminated, new paper grades with higher recycled fiber content be developed and by asking suppliers to become FSC certified.

The company currently prohibits any sourcing from Indonesian tropical forests, as well as from problematic suppliers Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) or Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) or from any of their affiliated companies. Prohibitions like this have been crucial to changing the behavior of problematic suppliers. Publishing companies that make and implement these types of commitments are making a real difference on the ground.

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