MODEL ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIFICATIONS
Use these specifications as a model, replace [Organization] with your company name, and adapt it for your specific needs
1) Recycled Content
All paper and paper products must contain the minimum levels of postconsumer recycled content for federal agencies as outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Vendors are encouraged to offer products that contain a higher percentage of postconsumer material than these minimums.
Vendors must verify the postconsumer recycled content of products offered. Preference will be given to paper and paper products with recycled content that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Other certification systems may be considered if their standards meet or exceed FSC’s standards; their governance and funding mechanisms are fully balanced, transparent, and independent; and they are widely accepted by environmental and social stakeholders.
After maximizing recycled content, preference will be given to paper and paper products whose remaining content includes other recovered materials, including, but not limited to, pre-consumer fibre and agricultural residues.
Recycled copy paper must function properly in all [Organization]’s copiers, fax machines, laser printers, and ink jet printers without jamming.
All packaging, including ream wrappers and cartons/boxes, must contain a minimum of 35 percent postconsumer recycled content, and include a written statement verifying the actual percentage of recycled content. Efforts should be taken to reduce the use of packaging materials when possible.
2) Responsibly-Sourced Fiber
Vendors must verify the source of any virgin fibre content in paper and paper products. Preference will be given to suppliers and manufacturers that have a “chain of custody” tracking system in place to reliably identify the origin of fibre sources.
Preference will be given to paper and paper products that can be guaranteed to be free of fibre that threatens endangered forests. Endangered forests are defined as those meeting the criteria outlined in the Wye River Coalition’s Endangered Forests: High Conservation Value Forests Protection – Guidance for Corporate Commitments and ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Rainforest Action Network’s Ecological Components of Endangered Forests.
Preference will be given to papers that can be guaranteed to be free of fibres from the conversion of diverse natural forest ecosystems into plantations. [Organization] supports Forest Stewardship Council’s criteria specifying November 1994 as the cut off date for no more conversion of natural forests to plantations. Wood from forests converted to plantations after November 1994 is unacceptable unless the plantations are being restored to natural forests.
Preference will be given to paper and paper products with a remaining virgin tree fibre content that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Other certification systems may be considered if their performance-based forest management and chain of custody standards meet or exceed FSC’s standards; their governance and funding mechanisms are fully balanced, transparent, and independent; and they are widely accepted by environmental and social stakeholders.
If paper and paper products made from alternative fibre crops (e.g. hemp, kenaf, etc.) are offered, vendor must submit in writing that the fibre source crops were grown and harvested using sustainable farming practices.
Vendors must verify that fibre content of paper and paper products do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This includes transgenically modified trees and plants that have genes of other animals and plants inserted.
3) Cleaner Production Practices
Preference will be given to paper and paper products that are processed chlorine free (PCF).
Preference will be given to suppliers and manufacturers that use renewable energy to supply electricity for their facilities, either on-site or through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Vendors must provide information including percent electricity from renewable sources used for power generation, type of renewable energy, and any third party certifications, such as Green-e.
Paper and paper products must be recyclable in business or municipal recycling programs.
All packaging, including ream wrappers and cartons/boxes, must be recyclable in business or municipal recycling programs.
[Organization] strongly encourages Vendors to submit materials electronically whenever possible. If submitting hard copies, it is desirable that materials are printed on paper with a postconsumer waste content of 30 percent or higher. [Organization] also encourages the use of submittal materials (i.e. paper, dividers, binders, brochures, etc.) that contain postconsumer recycled content and are readily recyclable. [Organization] discourages the use of materials that cannot be readily recycled such as PVC (vinyl) binders, spiral bindings, and plastic or glossy covers or dividers. Alternative bindings such as reusable/recyclable binding posts, reusable binder clips or binder rings, and recyclable cardboard/paperboard binders are examples of preferable submittal materials. Respondents are encouraged to print/copy on both sides of a single sheet of paper.
[Organization] strongly urges Vendors to adopt a paper policy consistent with the Environmental Paper Network’s A Common Vision for Transforming the Paper Industry: Striving for Environmental and Social Responsibility as well as implement other environmentally and socially responsible policies and practices.
Vendors will help [Organization] track purchases of environmentally preferable paper and paper products by providing semi-annual and annual reports on all products purchased under this contract. Information to be included in these reports must include, but are not limited to, total number of products purchased by category, total dollars spent on products by category, and the environmental attributes of products purchased.
Vendors will also help purchasers identify environmentally preferable paper and paper products on its website and in its catalogs.