Hillsboro, OR—Following more than a year’s worth of testing, comparing response to and availability and pricing of recycled paper, $208 million apparel and gifts cataloger Norm Thompson Outfitters has decided to produce all future catalogs on paper that contains a minimum of 10% postconsumer recycled content. The cataloger conducted the test in conjunction with the nonprofit environmental group Alliance for Environmental Innovation.
Norm Thompson’s use of recycled paper will result in 4,400 fewer tons of wood and 20 billion BTUs of energy consumed each year, says president Rebecca Jewett. It will also prevent the creation of 11.7 million of gallons of wastewater and 990 tons of solid waste annually. She adds that the company achieved these savings “without spending an additional dime.”
“We believe it’s the right thing to do–not just for the environment, but for our company,” Jewett says. “As natural resources decline and consumers express interest in corporate responsibility, we think it’s smart business to look for opportunities to lighten our environmental footprint without sacrificing profitability. Recycled paper fits that bill.”
As for future costs involved in its use of recycled paper, Norm Thompson corporate sustainability manager Derek Smith says that some of the company’s paper suppliers “routinely offer recycled paper at price parity. In other cases, we are able to partner with our suppliers to create purchasing arrangements that allow them to offset any potential cost differences and offer the recycled paper at the same price. We negotiate prices for recycled paper, just like prices for virgin paper.”
As for setting an example for other mailers, Jewett says that although “we respect that our colleagues might be directing their energies toward developing tactics to deal with economic uncertainties, we’ve proven it can be done so that others can do it without investing time or money. The Alliance research shows that supply exists. So if we as an industry send a steady, consistent demand signal and partner with our suppliers, there’s no reason recycled paper shouldn’t become the industry standard, no matter what the larger economic picture looks like.”