Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to the environment is evident in a number of ways: the company promotes the use of eco-friendly fuels at its manufacturing plants, supports sustainable forestry through its procurement operations and encourages recycling in several different forms.

Those are just a few examples. After all, the company employs more than 40,000 people around the world and with that breadth and depth, there are lots of opportunities for Georgia-Pacific to exercise environmental responsibility.

According to its Web site, Georgia-Pacific has developed a three-pronged approach to helping its varied companies implement sustainable practices into their businesses. The company evaluates the social, environmental and economic dimensions of its business decisions and aims to strike a balance between those three competing needs.

The company defines each of these dimensions in the sustainability section of its site: The social dimension touches on establishing healthy workplace environments as well as supporting the communities where Georgia-Pacific employees live and conduct business.

The environmental dimension relates to using natural resources wisely and promoting sustainability. And lastly, the economic dimension takes into account the cost to consumers who buy Georgia-Pacific products as well as the company’s impact on local economies through its purchase of goods and services and tax payments.

Here are a few items highlighting the relationship between Georgia-Pacific and the environment:

Sustainable forestry: Georgia-Pacific does not own any forests but the company has established several guidelines for its wood suppliers, including a requirement that all suppliers receive training in sustainable forestry practices. In addition, Georgia-Pacific acquires wood fiber under the ‘certified sourcing requirements’ set forth by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. According to the Georgia-Pacific Web site, the company also recognizes certification from other organizations including the Forest Stewardship Council , the Canadian Standards Association, American Tree Farm System and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification.

Renewable woody biomass: According to the company’s site, Georgia-Pacific is responsible for approximately 10 percent of the electricity generated through renewable woody biomass in the United States. Woody biomass is considered eco-friendly because wood products can be re-planted and the carbon emissions from the bio-mass combustion process are partly off-set by the new generation of trees and shrubs. In addition, Georgia-Pacific is a member of the Green Power Market Development Group, a collaborative project in which 12 large corporations — including Google, IBM, Starbucks and General Motors — seek to bolster and expand the market for green energy sources.

Recycling: GP Harmon Recycling, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific, is one of the largest buyers and sellers of wastepaper in the world. Of seven million tons of wastepaper GP Harmon managed in 2008, almost half of it went into Georgia-Pacific mills to create consumer products. In addition to paper recycling, Georgia-Pacific uses recycled gypsum and its gypsum plants are designed to help reduce wastewater.

Green building: Georgia-Pacific notes that several of its products may help a project receive certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In particular, the company’s DensArmor Plus family of interior panels has received recognition as eco-friendly products due to their GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Children and Schools certifications. On the energy efficiency front, Georgia-Pacific’s Thermostat radiant barrier roof sheathing helps reduce maximum attic temperatures by 30 degrees by reflecting 97 percent of the sun’s radiant heat. That quality helped the sheathing products become eligible for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR’ program.

In the community: The company, through its foundation and facility-based outreach programs, gave away approximately $7 million in 2008. Aside from financial support, Georgia-Pacific also gives back to the community by donating products, surplus equipment, employee volunteers and event sponsorships.

Transportation optimization: The company has begun using special computer technology to maximize the amount of material that can be transported on Georgia-Pacific trucks and rail cars. Also, the company joined the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2008 in a bid to increase the fuel efficiency of its transportation operations.

With so many initiatives in place, there’s little doubt that Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to the environment will benefit our world for decades to come.

Editor's note: Georgia-Pacific is a sponsor of the Mother Nature Network.

Georgia-Pacific and the environment
Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to the environment is evident in a number of ways.