Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why go paperless when you can have crap?

Warning: This post is not for the offensive-languagely sensitive

What do wombats, kangaroos and sheep have in common?

  1. they have all survived the global financial crisis (so far)
  2. they all sleep standing on their heads
  3. they all produce shit from which specialty paper is made
  4. they all devour Chunky Monkey when given the chance

And the answer is: errrrrrrrrrr. yes. it …..is………………..(3). and (4)
Sustainability in the paper industry has now reached an all time high. Or should I say low. The most environmentally friendly version of paper to hit our Shaeffer nibs is made from the excrement of our friends in the animal kingdom. Roo Poo Paper made from Kangaroo dung is a major innovative leap (pun intended!), Wombat paper made from the droppings of this furry Australian marsupial is contributing to the health of the Australian economy, and Sheep Poo Paper is made from super-fresh sheep feces, collected with care from the rural Welsh mountainside. You can even pre-order your Reindeer Poo Paper as Christmas gifts for all your loved ones! (Darling, here is a gift to remind you of me. A piece of shit . But it comes in handy if your copmuter is broken)
So what is this fixation of paper makers with.. err … crap ? And more often than not, CSR reports are accused of containing crap rather than being printed on it. I thought I would just check what CSR reports are actually printed on, to see if this innovative crap technology has reached the most advanced of reporters.

Novo Nordisk's annual report for 2008 is printed on paper from recycled fiber, from well managed forests and controlled sources.
General Electric 2008 report is made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled FSC-certified paper. The emissions from the electricity used to manufacture this paper are offset with credits from windpower projects.
Coca Cola 2008 is printed on FSC certified recycled paper from mixed sources from well managed forests, recycled wood or fiber
ArcelorMittal's 2008 report is printed on ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) and FSC certified pulp from well-managed forests and printed using vegetable based inks.
State Street Corporation's 2008 report is not printed or paper-type not disclosed (could it be crap?!) BAT's 2008 report is FSC certified and CarbonNeutral®. The paper used Revive 50:50 Silk, comprising 25% post-consumer and 25% pre-consumer waste, and 50% virgin wood fibre sourced from well managed forests independently certified according to the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council. And its recyclable.
Vodafone's 2008 398 page mammoth report is not printed but the very very very short 25 page summary report is printed on FSC Certified Revive 75 Silk, manufactured in the EU at mills with ISO 14001 accreditation and comprising 50% de-inked post-consumer waste, 25% pre-consumer waste and 25% virgin fibre. Printed in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system using vegetable-based inks.

Well, as you can see, I scored a duck. Leading CSR reports are not (yet) printed on crap-based paper. What can we do to encourage report producers to adopt this new sustainable shit technology? Perhaps we could make a real-time video of kangaroos, wombats and sheep producing their raw material ? Perhaps we could parcel up a load of wombat nuggets (that's what they call original wombat droppings) and send them to leading csr managers with a letter on crappy paper entitled: Please print a crap report. hmmmm. Maybe some of them already got that letter….
But seriously, how do reporters select the paper for printed reports? And more importantly, I wonder if this super duper FSC-certified-post-pre-recycled-consumer-waste-carbon-offsetted-de-inked-non-virgin-wood-fibre-everything-sustainable paper that is used for reports is used for any other printed materials in their business? It seems to me that the height of csr hypocrisy would be to print the csr report on this special paper and everything else on regular un-FSC un-everything un-sustainable paper. Just a thought.

Anyway, I am now going to write tomorrow's to-do list. Let me go get a sheet of that crap-type paper. Or to put it another way, I 'm going for a cr**p.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at: www.b-yond.biz/en

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