Glossary of Sustainability Terms
Biofuel – Fuel that is derived from biomass — recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts, such as bark and other wood residuals, the solids that result from mill effluent treatment, and spent pulping liquor generated as a byproduct in the manufacture of pulp from wood. It is carbon-neutral and is a renewable energy source, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal, and nuclear fuels.
Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) – Carbon dioxide is recognized as a greenhouse gas than contributes to global climate change. Other greenhouse gases have varying degrees of climate change potential. To provide a common frame of reference, the potential of GHGs such as methane and nitrous oxide is often expressed as the equivalent amount of CO2.
Carbon footprint – The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or products. For example, in the daily operations of a paper mill it is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalents emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels. For a paper product, it is the measure of CO2-e emissions as determined by a lifecycle analysis.
Carbon neutral – The point at which greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere by a particular activity, like manufacturing paper products or driving fossil-fueled vehicles, is balanced with an equal amount of carbon sequestration or carbon offsets from a third party.
Carbon offset/carbon allowance – A carbon offset or carbon allowance is a credit that an individual or organization can purchase to negate its carbon emissions, thereby achieving carbon neutrality. Revenue generated from the purchase of offsets is typically invested in renewable energy and other environmentally friendly projects.
Certified fiber – Wood fiber that originates from a forest which has achieved third-party certification to a credible forest management certification standard.
Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification – A process that assures documentation of the amount of third-party certified wood fiber as it moves through the supply chain from a certified forest through a pulp/paper mill to the customer. The various forest certification standards (FSC, SFI, PEFC, etc.) have differing CoC requirements. Some of the certification standards offer opportunities for product labeling if all CoC requirements are met, products contain a specified amount of certified fiber credits and all other uncertified fiber comes from responsibly managed forests.
Delignification – The removal during the pulping process of lignin, the “organic glue” that holds wood fibers together.
Elemental chlorine bleaching – A pulp bleaching process formerly in wide use by the paper industry. This process, which uses chlorine gas, produces small amounts of persistent chlorinated organic compounds such as dioxin.
Elemental chlorine-free bleaching – Currently the global standard for pulp bleaching, this process replaced elemental chlorine gas with chlorine dioxide as the bleaching agent, eliminating the production of persistent chlorinated organics such as dioxin. The chlorine atoms in chlorine dioxide leave the bleaching process as a salt.
Forest management certification – Certification by an accredited, independent auditor that a forest is managed in accordance with the principles of sustainable forest management.
Global climate change – Ongoing changes in average weather conditions, including the rise in surface temperature often referred to a global warming.
High conservation value forests – Forest areas with unique biological, geological, cultural or historical significance.
ISO 14001:2004 – A voluntary environmental management standard that specifies the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS). The ISO 14001:2004 standard provides guidelines to help organizations systematize and improve their environmental management efforts and achieve continuous environmental performance improvement. The standard is not designed to aid the enforcement of environmental laws and does not regulate the environmental activities of an organization.
Post-consumer content – Recovered paper fiber used in recycled products that is collected from consumers. It does not include, for example, recovered paper fiber such as paper waste from a mill or unsold copies of newsstand magazines. Any fiber collected for recycling that has not been used by a consumer is called pre-consumer content.
Recovered fiber – Paper products that are collected for re-use in recycled products.
Sustainable business practices – Business practices that provide products of value for a growing world population without diminishing resources or degrading the environment.
Totally chlorine-free bleaching – A pulp bleaching process that uses oxygen and/or ozone as the bleaching agent to whiten kraft pulp. Ozone and oxygen destroy or degrade more wood fiber than the chlorine dioxide used in elemental chlorine-free bleaching, resulting in lower yields and weaker fibers. This, in turn, results in less efficient use off wood resources and reduces the number of times paper can be recycled.
Total incidence rate (TIR) – TIR is calculated as the number of “OSHA-recordable” injuries and work-related illnesses (cases requiring medical treatment and/or work restrictions) per 200,000 hours worked. It is roughly comparable to the percentage of people injured in the workforce each year.