We love people and the planet. That's why we take sustainability seriously. We believe that environmental and social responsibility is an essential investment in the health and future of our world.
Forests are essential to our survival. They filter the air we breathe and the water we drink. That’s why all of our paper originates exclusively from responsibly managed forests that prevent overlogging. This means there is a limit to the number of trees cut down, which helps reduce the risk of landslides and helps maintain healthy oxygen levels for the forest ecosystem. To ensure responsible logging, forest owners or managers must create written logging plans that include details for tree retention. Special considerations are taken regarding rare old-growth trees and their need for conservation. Additionally, they must make sure that any protected areas (parts of the forest of special biological, cultural or historical significance) are appropriately designated, mapped, and managed in order to protect their biological, cultural or historic attributes. In these areas, management activities — including logging — for any purpose other than ecological improvements are absolutely prohibited.
Roads are required to transport workers and logs in and out of forests. When it rains, poorly managed roads without proper drainage are at risk of causing erosion. In this scenario, rainwater displaces nutrient-rich topsoil and creates sediment build-ups in nearby streams, rivers and lakes. The displacement can decrease forest growth and increase the risk of road failure, while the build-up can damage water quality and harm fish and wildlife habitats. That’s why road management is an important component of responsible forestry. To minimize erosion, forest owners and managers in our supply chain are required to conduct a pre-rainy season check to be sure all road drainage structures are open and functioning. This includes ensuring logging debris is never left in a drain channel, the flow of water is never blocked, drains are never used as skid trails or roads, drains are crossed only at right angles, and rutting is avoided.
Protection from hazardous chemicals
Part of keeping forests healthy is controlling pests and invasive vegetation when necessary. When this is required, the first course of action in forests where our paper originates is to use non-chemical intervention. If non-chemical intervention is unsuccessful, only then will the forest owner or manager use chemical intervention, and they must use the least environmentally damaging formulation and application method possible. Intervention plans must include an eventual phase-out of chemical use whenever feasible, and must also include proactive strategies to prevent future pest outbreaks (e.g. creating habitats that encourage natural predators) to ideally avoid the need for any intervention going forward.
A forest must sustain a variety of native wildlife to function as a healthy ecosystem. That’s why our paper comes from forests that ensure protected ecological biodiversity. This means that forest owners or managers create long-term plans for managing and preserving native species and their habitats (including animals, plants, fungi, lichens, etc.). They do so by consulting with verified data sources such as conservation groups whose primary mission is science-based biodiversity protection and management (e.g. The Nature Conservancy, The National Audubon Society) and local experts (e.g. hydrologists and soil scientists with local forest expertise). The goal: to maintain or enhance habitats for the native species that keep forests thriving.
Protecting endangered species
A critical part of biodiversity conservation is taking special care to protect rare, threatened, and endangered species. Forest owners and managers in our supply chain are required to check their land for rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species before conducting any site-disturbing activities. Surveys are conducted by biologists with appropriate qualifications and expertise in the species of interest. If a RTE species is determined to be present, its location is reported to the manager and the area is designated a conservation zone. If adequate information doesn’t exist to verify the presence of a RTE species but its presence is likely, the forest owner or manager must take a precautionary approach and manage as though they are present. Forest owners or managers may be required to have third-party reviews conducted by independent experts as a part of maintaining these protected zones. It’s important that conservation zones receive special consideration because the habitats of RTE species are often especially vulnerable and fragile — and protecting RTE species and their habitats helps maintain the overall ecological integrity and function of the forest.
Healthy rivers, lakes & wetlands
Our paper is manufactured in a way that prioritizes protecting the water quality of rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands, especially where laws or industry-based guidelines are inadequate. The water quality is determined by a series of standard physio-chemical parameters (e.g. turbidity, temperature, bacterial count, pH, and dissolved oxygen), biological parameters (e.g. community composition and functionality), as well as the incidence of disease. These natural water sources filter much of the world’s fresh water, so it’s critical for humans, animals, and the planet that we protect them.
Making paper requires water. It’s mostly needed for pulping (reducing wood to a fibrous mat) and bleaching (whitening and brightening the fibers). Conventionally, the used water is immediately collected, treated, and returned to the environment. Instead, our paper manufacturer conserves water by continually recycling it within the paper mill until it can no longer be reused. Then and only then will it undergo water treatment and discharge.
ECF & PCF
All virgin fiber content in our paper is elemental chlorine free (ECF). In the bleaching process, elemental chlorine reacts with wood and produces environmentally harmful byproducts. ECF bleaching uses safer, more environmentally responsible compounds like chlorine dioxide instead. Plus, all recycled fiber content in our paper is processed chlorine free (PCF), which means that the post-consumer recycled fiber in our paper is processed without any additional chlorine or chlorine compounds.
Local communities & jobs
Approximately 300 million people live in forests and more than a billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. That’s why our paper comes from forests where managers or owners are required to invest in local economic and social stability. This means that the communities within or next to the forest management area are given opportunities for employment, training, and other services. Employee compensation (including salary or wages, and benefits) and hiring practices must meet or exceed the prevailing local norms within the forestry industry. Job opportunities should be of high quality, indicated by attributes such as: long term and stable employee relationships, jobs that include a mixture of diverse tasks that require varying levels of skill, training opportunities for employees to improve their skills, opportunities for advancement, and opportunities for employee participation in management decision-making. Additionally, the landowner or manager is required to monitor relevant socio-economic issues, including the social impacts of harvesting, participation in local economic opportunities, the creation and/or maintenance of quality job opportunities, and local purchasing opportunities. This keeps them informed and better able to engage with local communities.
Safe working conditions
An essential part of ensuring high quality job opportunities is maintaining safe working conditions for employees and contractors. Forests owners or managers in our supply chain and their employees and contractors are required to demonstrate a safe work environment. This means a few things. First, job contracts or other written agreements must include safety requirements. Next, forest management must meet or exceed all applicable laws and/or regulations covering the health and safety of employees and their families. There are annual audits where work environments are evaluated for safety through interviews and observations. Auditors want to see: consistently low accident rates; training sessions offered and attended; safety procedures and documentation posted in the workplace; inexperienced field workers given adequate instruction and supervision; workers utilizing personal protective equipment; landowners, managers or operators maintaining safety-training records; machinery equipment well-maintained and in safe working order. Additionally, forest management must respect all national and local laws and administrative requirements. Forest management plans and operations must demonstrate compliance with all applicable federal, state, county, municipal, and tribal laws, and administrative requirements (e.g. regulations).
Indigenous peoples rights
It is estimated that nearly 200 million indigenous people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Our paper comes from forests where management is required to recognize and uphold the legal and customary rights of local indigenous peoples. This means that indigeous peoples control forest management on their lands and territories unless they delegate control with free and informed consent to other agencies. In cases where tribal traditional knowledge will be shared with forest owners or managers for application in forest operations, indigenous peoples must be compensated. This compensation is formally agreed upon with their written consent before forest operations commence. Forest management is then required to respect the confidentiality of this tribal traditional knowledge and assist in the protection of it. Additionally, forest owners or managers are required to protect areas of cultural significance. To do this, they must invite consultation with tribal representatives in identifying sites of current or traditional cultural, archeological, ecological, economic or religious significance (e.g. ceremonial, burial, or village sites; areas used for hunting, fishing, or trapping; current areas for gathering culturally important materials; current areas for gathering subsistence materials). Once these sites are clearly identified, forest managers must clearly mark them for special management so they can be adequately protected from forestry intervention.
Healthy forests act as natural carbon sinks, absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis than they release through deposition in forest biomass, dead organic matter, and soil. Through this dynamic natural process, they support their ecosystem and play a substantial role in maintaining Earth’s carbon balance. In fact, their global vitality may be one of our most powerful defenses against climate change. Unfortunately, deforestation caused by clearcutting, illegal logging, and slash-and-burn agriculture hinders this natural function. Meanwhile, increases in the frequency and severity of natural disturbances like forest fires and pest infections, already influenced by climate change, exacerbate the problem. As all of these disturbances shift the natural balance, some forests can even become carbon sources, releasing more carbon than they absorb. That’s why we source our paper exclusively from a manufacturer that is committed to energy conservation, emission reduction, responsible forestry, and climate change mitigation.
Paper production is resource and energy intensive. Through careful selection, we’ve found a paper vendor with a reputation for environmental leadership. To minimize emissions from their paper mills, our supplier has built state-of-the-art steam plants. In addition, 100% of the electricity used in their manufacturing operations is matched with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from Green-e certified windpower projects. They also offset a portion of the thermal energy they use by purchasing carbon credits, which fund renewable energy and emission-reduction projects. We hope they’ll continue to expand this initiative and shift toward totally carbon neutral production with a net zero climate impact. As for us, recent studies have found that e-commerce uses about 30% less energy than traditional retail. By only selling our products here on our site, we keep our energy consumption (and prices) much lower — and we intend to keep it that way. We put substantial effort, even as a small business with very limited resources, into making the best decisions possible when it comes to everything from raw materials to final packaging. We will continually examine our business with the objective of improving, and look forward to expanding our social and environmental stewardship as we grow.