J500 Media and the Environment

Fables of the Reconstruction by rebeccaly
October 27, 2008, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Society + Media, Waste + Recycling | Tags: , , , , ,

By Rebecca Lynch

Fables of the Reconstruction seems an appropriate title for the field work research I did today. I found it all fascinating and somewhat disturbing at the same time. My group, consisting of Stacey Chance, Jennifer Wyand and myself, is doing our presentation on ‘business’. Without giving too much away, I interviewed a business owner today of a litho company.

Ok – I know. You may be asking how the printing business can be sooooo fascinating. It wasn’t the business per se – it was the process in which they have to go through to be FSC certified (that means they have paid thousands of dollars to get a peice of paper that says they are certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council). There was so much irony to it all. The rules to apply to be FSC certified are 300 pages long – 300 pages! And these are the guys who are overseeing the forest industry’s efforts on sustainability. 

The paperwork and files that this business has to keep for their certification efforts are enormous AND, they have to have a guy on staff full time to keep up with the rules and procedures of the certification. I can see where this might have been someone’s good idea at one time, but it seems that the good idea got lost in translation – thus the fables of the reconstruction :-). Thank you R.E.M.

Here is a 2ish minute snippet that gives a brief overview of the FSC process –


4 Comments so far
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This is very relevant for me, as I just received a pamphlet from one of our vendor printers about its recent FSC certification. (Ironically, the pamphlet does not appear to be printed on FSC certified paper!)

This subject is such a tough one, especially with regard to authenticity. I’ve struggled with deciding just how much of a difference I’m making if I choose FSC certified paper. I would think the Forest Stewardship Council is going to have to push some sort of communication campaign that explains why it should be a trusted environmental steward.

Otherwise, consumers like me are left wondering if FSC is truly an entity worth trusting or just a group of folks who got together, gave their organization a nice name and started handing out certifications.


Comment by chrisr11

As architects, we like to waste paper. Not intentionally of course, but we produce some serious trash. It’s been interesting to see the number of printing companies that have recently contacted us, wanting to update everyone on their new “green” practices. For architects and contractors, its gone so far as to create a virtual print room. As companies find out that we’re trying to reduce the amount of trash we create, they’re finding ways to adopt their traditional printing business to include more document management services where we can upload files and contractors can view them online. It’s an interesting business to try and adapt to the new green ideas floating around out there. Great post Rebecca!
-Michelle M

Comment by michellemcgown

Chris – Your comments are right on. That’s precisely the point that the printer I was interviewing was making. He was and still is questioning if the effort is really producing a better end result. He’s followed the process all the way back to the tree farm in one particular instance and isn’t sure the process has made much of a difference.

I will say this – it does seem that it is policed a bit better than the process used to be. So, for example, they can be sure that trees aren’t being raped from the land in say, China – which, by the way, IS happening. Like everything else, a lot of paper comes from China and Korea because it is terribly cheap.So, in that respect, it does make a difference.

Thanks for the comments Chris.

Comment by rebeccaly

Michelle, thanks for your comments. It does seem that we could all do better in the paper conservation and usage areas. As we can all atest to, those of us in the marketing and ad world also use TONS of paper. It’s a bit bothersome. At least there are those of us who are consciously trying to help alleviate that issue – if only just a bit – we are doing our part and we are doing as much as we can. That’s all we can ask of ourselves.


Comment by rebeccaly

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