Paper is a big part of our business at the Principal Financial Group®. Customer communications, legal documents, marketing campaigns and more are just some of the many ways in which we use it.
While we’ve significantly reduced the amount of paper we use over the last several years, our Print-to-Mail facility still printed more than 369 million pages in 2012. Thanks to our sustainability efforts, however, more than 99.7 percent of the paper we used had sustainable forestry certifications.
That’s because we successfully pursued “chain of custody” certifications for our Print-to-Mail facility in Urbandale, Iowa. The certifications are awarded—after a painstaking process—by the Forest Stewardship CouncilTM, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
These certifications demonstrate that the paper The Principal uses has been tracked every step of the way — from the forest to the finished product — and has been managed in a sustainable fashion.
The process starts with the forest. “The certifying organization, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, looks at a lot of things when it evaluates a forest—such as whether or not sustainable planting is being practiced, as well as the impact on the local economy, the wildlife and so on,” explains Rex Brooker, assistant director of document services for The Principal®.
The next step in the process—the paper mill—must also be certified. “Then we buy the paper from the paper mill,” Brooker says, “and we’re part of the chain of custody.”
Regular auditing ensures that certified organizations maintain the chain. “We get audited once a year. They look at our facility and check our records. We do quite a bit of recordkeeping to make sure everything is documented.”
“We’re particularly pleased with our Sustainable Forestry Certification. It’s a demonstration to our customers and shareholders that we’ve embraced sustainability and an eco-friendly strategy,” says Jed Fisk, vice president and chair of the Sustainability Committee at The Principal.
We continue to look for more ways to reduce paper usage. Meanwhile, we’re proud that the printing we are doing is being done in environmentally responsible ways, as evidenced by the certifications mentioned above.