Tag Archives: green

FAQs: What is FSC- or SFI-Certified Paper?

Since Conformer encourages all of our customers to use environmentally sustainable paper stocks, this question comes up a lot.  What does FSC-certified mean?  Is that the same thing as SFI-certified?  What’s the difference?

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council.  This is a non-profit organization that provides a third-party certification service to the paper industry to “promote management of the world’s forests.” It ensures that your paper is coming from sustainably harvested forests, meaning that it comes from a renewable source.  According to the FSC website, “plantations must contribute to reduce the pressures on and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.”   How does it do this?  The Forest Stewardship Council has developed a Chain of Custody process — effectively, an inventory management system —  that enables you to trace your paper stock back to the tree it was harvested from, thereby ensuring it came from a sustainably managed forest.

If the manufacturer is FSC-certified as an organization, that gives them the right to placed the FSC logo on products it manufacturers.  Alternatively, if the manufacturer is not FSC-certified but simply sources FSC-certified paper stock, your sustainably harvested paper is still exactly that but cannot have the FSC-certified logo printed on it.  Both are viable and “good” options.

SFI stands for Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and it is also an independent auditor of good forestry practices.  It is simply an alternative to FSC-certification and is just as good an indicator of sustainably harvested paper stock. 

These two organizations can be greatly credited for ensuring that trees get planted on this planet by the very industry that depends on them.  There’s some unconventional wisdom at play here, but I can’t think of another industry more committed to planting trees than the paper industry.  And that’s good news for our planet.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Northwestern University: Big Ten Conformer Fan

While I love both my children equally, occasionally one of them will do something that deserves an extra squeeze.  As far as Conformer fans go, Northwestern University gets an extra squeeze from me today.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern started using Conformer folders last year, and not just in admissions.  As America’s #1 “marketing school,” they understand that a folder in the hands of prospective students, recruiters, alums and CEOs represents their brand to everyone coming through their doors.  Prior to Conformer, Kellogg used a laminated, reinforced folder that was as eco-friendly as a diaper in a landfill, and their need for durability came at a high cost.  Kellogg’s new Conformer folder is FSC-marked, and its strong construction eliminates all expensive reinforcement features.

Enter the Northwestern Alumni Association.  They liked the fresh look of
Kellogg’s new folder and its versatility for alumni functions.  It holds an NAA pen gracefully, and organizes multi-sized literature that used to slid around the old folder when opened.

Kellogg, Part 2.  Now using an eco-friendly folder campus-wide, Kellogg used a Conformer folder to kick off their capital campaign for a new eco-friendly building.  Conformer won a PEAK Award of Excellence for this execution.  It’s a real beauty.

Northwestern Development jumped on board as well.  Traveling many miles to meet with alums, the development folks liked the fact that a Conformer folder would arrive alive with them.  Folders looked great off the press, but were they durable enough to withstand the rigors of actual usage?  You bet!

Recently, NU’s famed Medill School of Journalism ordered the Conformer paperboard mailer.  Those smarties know that their correspondence to newly admitted students could mean the difference in converting an admitted candidate to an attending student.   Even an NU scarf fits inside.  Goodbye, ugly bubble mailer!

So extra hugs to Northwestern University today for totally and completely getting the value proposition of Conformer Products — durability, versatility, brand-friendly, and eco-friendly.  Go, Wildcats!

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Buyers Prove More Cost-Conscious than Eco-Conscious

I love trees – don’t get me wrong – but I am just now shaking off my Earth Day media hangover.  My favorite misguided environmental piece argued the environmental impact of bicycle frame materials: specifically, whether carbon fiber was recyclable or not, and if it was more environmentally responsible to buy a steel bike.

We have been marketing environmentally conscious mailing products for some time.  I can say from experience that many companies are missing the environmental mark.  Consumers and corporations talk about making purchasing decisions based on environmental factors, but when it comes time to hand over the credit card, everything circles back to price.

I point to the hybrid car market as a perfect example.  Sixteen months ago, there was a three month waiting list for a Toyota Prius.  Fuel prices were near $4.  But now that fuel has dropped to $2, Toyota is offering Prius rebates.  Hybrids cost more, and with a sudden drop in fuel costs, hybrid sales went “From 60 to 0 at breakneck speed.”  What happened to carbon footprints and dependence on foreign energy?

There is no mystery here.  Environmental consciousness is terrific, but at the end of the day, consumers and corporations will only buy an eco-friendly alternative if it performs the same task and costs the same or less than traditional products.

by Bob Makofsky bmakofsky@conformerinc.com

Conformer Plastic Envelope Goes Green

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Conformer Products Uses Recycled Milk Jugs to Enhance Envelope Sustainability

Great Neck, NY, July 8, 2008 – Conformer Products has just launched its award-winning plastic envelope in 75% post-consumer material—specifically, recycled milk jugs. The recycled material enhances an already environmentally friendly product: the patented Conformer design uses up to 20% less material than standard envelopes, and the sturdy envelope can be re-used.

“The market is demanding sustainable products, and now our products are even better positioned to support corporate environmental sustainability initiatives,” said Marvin Makofsky, president of Conformer. ”In the last few months, we have introduced Forest Stewardship Council or FSC-certified paper envelopes, presentation folders and mailers, as well as paperboard mailers made from 85% post-consumer content. Now our line of plastic envelopes can be made from reclaimed milk jugs.”

“When we looked for products that would make sense to manufacture from recycled plastic materials, the Conformer envelope was at the top of the list,” said Earl Guinter, a plastics manufacturing industry veteran whose organization is licensed to make the Conformer product. “It’s a popular, versatile product that can also be easily customized.”

Sustainability has long been important at Guinter’s organization. The manufacturing plant re-uses 90% of post-industrial materials for other jobs and sells the remaining 10% for re-use in other plastic applications. “Now we are buying reclaimed milk jugs, re-extruding the plastic and using the material to make Conformer’s plastic envelopes,” he said.

One of the company’s most popular products, Conformer’s plastic envelope is a favorite among direct marketers and sales professionals because of its versatility to hold a little or a lot of content, depending on the need. The translucent material helps boost open and response rates by allowing recipients to see the contents, and the attractive design—available in eight colors, including clear—makes the envelope a popular choice for presentations.

by Bob Makofsky

www.conformerinc.com