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Frank Learns about PrintReleaf at Print17

Published on November 3, 2017

Frank meets Jordan Darragh of PrintReleaf which helps printing organizations nullify the effect of print on forests. Printers use online tools to calculate print job effects and trees are planted in five forests around the world to compensate for the tress used for printing. Over 500,000 trees have been planted.

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Discussion

By Dean D'Ambrosi on Nov 03, 2017

Frank, I just want to let everyone know that Idealliance is a big supporter of PrintReleaf. So much so that we are proud to announce (formal announcement is coming shortly) that we have partnered with Jordan & PrintReleaf to become the latest addition to our Member Advantage Program (MAP). Members of Idealliance receive member only pricing that will save them money while supporting a great initiative. My only regret is that we did not enter into this partnership in time for Print17. Thanks for reporting!

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 03, 2017

I'm all for planting trees, however, as far as I can determine PrintReleaf is getting printers to subsidize regional social initiatives that have little to no connection to the pulp used in papermaking for the print industry.

The website states: "We calculate how many trees were deforested to harvest your paper footprint." However, it's unlikely that the trees that were deforested were going to be used to make paper for printing since 66 percent of the sources of wood fiber for the global paper industry comes from managed natural regeneration forests and plantations and 17 percent from unmanaged regeneration forests. Basically sustainable tree farms. Recycled paper accounts for 38 percent of the world’s total fiber supply and non-wood fibers from plants like hemp or kenaf make up 7 percent.

If you want to plant trees - great. If you want to support social initiatives - great. But getting printers to subsidize your efforts based on what appears to be misleading information about the paper they print on - not so great.

 

By Dov Isaacs on Nov 03, 2017

Something doesn't add up here.

I was under the strongest impression that responsible paper companies replant the forests from which they harvest trees for word pulp for paper (remembering of course that much of the paper is from recycled sources). PrintReleaf implies that these companies simply harvest the wood pulp and leave their forest assets bare without replanting? That makes no sense and certainly doesn't match what the paper and even the wood companies claim.

Exactly where is PrintReleaf planting trees? In working forests managed by paper companies or elsewhere and if elsewhere, where exactly?

Sounds more like a “feel good” political correctness enterprise than a solution to a “problem” of paper manufacturers despoiling our forests!

- Dov

 

By Jordan Darragh on Nov 03, 2017

Gordon/Dov,

We do measure the trees harvested per an open source formula that is widely accepted and supported by the Environmental Paper Network and… resident in many other print software applications. We plant an equivalent number of trees (biomass) back into net/new growth forests and we verify survival. It’s an offset for responsibly/sustainably sourced paper. It’s a replacement for irresponsibly sourced paper. As a result, a customer’s environmental impact is net-positive or net-neutral, respectively. PrintReleaf can be applied in combination with recycled paper or sustainable standards such as FSC/SFI or, for a number of printers, as an alternative.

Moreover, we work “through” printers but the service is typically offered to and paid for by end customers who want to strengthen their commitment to sustainability and market their participation by designating their print job as PrintReleaf Certified™. Our partners and customers understand this; they don't think it is misleading and they love the idea. Hopefully it is now better understood in your view as well. Appreciate your input. It's always welcome if you want to message me at: jdarragh@printreleaf.com. Have a good weekend.

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 03, 2017

I hope this important discussion remains open and public rather than being hidden in private emails.

The top 10 drivers of deforestation (http://tinyurl.com/y894v9aw) are:

Commercial Agriculture (1/10)
Cattle Ranching (2/10)
Palm Oil Production (3/10)
Subsistence farming (4/10)
Logging for Timber (5/10)
Infrastructure Building (6/10)
Mining (7/10)
Fire (8/10)
Charcoal Production (9/10)
Firewood Collection (10/10)

The pulp and paper industry isn't in the top ten - for a good reason - it's not a driver of deforestation.

You say this tax subsidy (because that's what it amounts to) on printers is "a replacement for irresponsibly sourced paper."

I took a look at your US project: https://www.printreleaf.com/projects/us
The deforestation that took place there was caused by fire - not paper making. You are planting Ponderosa Pine - which is not used in paper making - it's used in construction (#5 in the top 10 above). (They are also planting fruit trees which are also not used in paper making.) So how is planting Ponderosa Pine a replacement for irresponsibly sourced paper? What percent of paper used in the print industry (esp. in the US) is sourced irresponsibly? And what do you actually mean by "irresponsibly"?

How you measure the trees harvested per an open source formula has nothing to do with the pulp and paper industry's role in deforestation. Neither does the fact that it is accepted and supported by the Environmental Paper Network - which by the way doesn't seen to include pulp and paper industry members but does include organizations such as Save the Rhino International and the Orangutan Land Trust. Should I trust their expertise on paper making?

If the pulp and paper industries are causing deforestation, should you be taxing them per paper volume manufactured using your formula instead of printers who are not involved with pulp sourcing?

Sorry, but your organization appears to have developed a money generating program (certification/usage charges) that is unrelated to its stated goal (countering the deforestation caused by the pulp and paper industry) which AFAIK is a fictional issue.

 

By Dov Isaacs on Nov 05, 2017

Gordon,

+1!

Excellent points.

There is no question that the world is suffering due to deforestation, but that has nothing to do with printing in the United States. And if PrintReleaf knows of paper companies (either domestic or international) who are mismanaging their own forest resources or plundering forest resources that are not theirs to plunder/mismanage, then they should be calling them out and advocating for remediation of those situations.

Frank, EFI, and IDEAlliance have all been had by this scam!

- Dov

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 08, 2017

It appears that Jordan Darragh has left the building.

 

By Jordan Darragh on Nov 08, 2017

Gordon, I received email notification of your comment. I stopped responding when you and Dov lowered the standard for constructive conversation; questioning the integrity of our solution and, moreover, our well respected industry partners. We, along with our partners and their customers, all know that paper companies replant trees. None of the trees we plant are specified to be a 1:1 replacement of the original species harvested. Anyone can understand this after a couple of minutes on our website. As I already stated, we provide a 1:1 biomass replacement and we do so in areas where we make a significant environmental (and social) impact. The U.S. is net positive over the last several decades on reforestation : deforestation. None of this is news to us, our partners, or their customers. Do you really think we would have spent 3+ years developing a Standard of measurement, certification, and a patented software platform?...and somehow overlook those facts?...no, of course not.

It is apparent that you and Dov are more focused on throwing stones rather than seeking a deeper understanding about where and how our solution fits into our industry, the market forces we help printers address, and… the interests of today’s customers we help fulfill. Many printers are burdened by sustainable forest/paper certifications that are costly to the efficiency of their operations and their bottom line, yet they are stuck meeting customer demand for those certifications. We provide an alternative model that is more cost effective and, we believe, delivers more environmental value. One overly-simplistic way of saying it is: we can generally plant one tree and… certify/verify its survival for less than the cost of certifying/verifying where one came from (the heavy cost of a sustainable CoC). And that model resonates with printers and customers we’re partnering with.

It is apparent that our message did not come through 100% clearly in the interview posted on this site. That said, instead of jumping to conclusions and attacking us and our partners on a public forum, I’d encourage you and Dov to learn more about sustainable paper certification (and it's position/value in the market) and broaden your view beyond the ‘United States’ and open a more constructive conversation if… you expect a constructive response. Our solution is designed to serve a global market with global partners (like EFI, Idealliance, and many more to come) – not just the United States. For example, do you think a global company with 100’s of offices and a worldwide supply chain for print, paper, and packaging (forest based products) with customers that demand a sustainable CoC is limited to the United States forestry system? They’re not and they do see value in our service. To that end, you can expect to hear about more PrintReleaf.


 

By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 08, 2017

I'm glad you've returned as a result of my last comment.

As I had originally stated, if you want to plant trees - great. If you want to support social initiatives - that's also great. However, implying that deforestation is related to paper usage by printers is simply untrue. And if you base your solution, no matter how sophisticated, on taxing printers for their contribution to deforestation as a result of consuming paper then you are basing it on a faulty premise. You are conflating two disparate issues.

If you consider Dov and I pointing that out using industry data then that's your problem. Your solution does not fit into the print industry because deforestation to provide pulp for paper making is not part of the industry.

You are not being attacked on a public forum. Your assertions, the basis for your initiative, are being questioned. I simply used your US activities as an example of how your activities regarding planting trees are unrelated to deforestation for the pulp and paper industry. I asked you what percent of paper used in the print industry (esp. but not exclusively in the US) is sourced irresponsibly. But you have not answered. I asked you what planting Ponderosa Pine had to do with deforestation for paper making and again - no answer.

I have no idea what efi and Idealliance know about the pulp and paper industry and I am disappointed that they - as well as Frank - did not appear to correct the premise upon which your solution is based.

Deforestation is a motherhood issue. No one in their right mind would support it - but it has no connection to paper used in printing, except perhaps in ignorance as to how pulp is harvested for paper making. If you think that paper mills are a culprit in deforestation for print grade paper then they are the ones that you should be petitioning for redress - not the printers who have no choice and are not responsible for how the pulp is acquired. But i suspect that imposing a "click" charge on paper usage by the printer is a much easier task than tackling the pulp and paper industry.

Your customers may see value in your service - however, if they think it is related to paper making they are, IMHO mistaken and/or being mislead.

If you're truly concerned about deforestation then shouldn't you be tackling at least the top three drivers like commercial agriculture, cattle ranching and palm oil production? If not, why not?

 

By Jordan Darragh on Nov 08, 2017

The percent of paper sourced from unsustainable sources is dynamic, not finite, but enough to surface the creation and ongoing development of sustainable sourcing standards such as FSC/SFI et al beginning 20+ years ago...resulting from customer demand for transparency in the forestry (paper/wood) supply chain -- and to prevent deforestation. I'm sure you've seen their certified logos on your mail, catalogs, etc. This begs the question to you: did you have another explanation for why these standards emerged and exist? I ask because their mere existence doesn't align with your absolute insistence that "deforestation has no connection to paper used in printing". My sense is the market for sustainable paper certification is a new sub-domain within the print industry for you.

On that basis, and given the options for sustainable paper certification, if a printer wants to offer PrintReleaf Certification to a customer as an alternative to FSC/SFI certification - as a biomass replacement/reforestation strategy - rather than potentially paying more expensive premiums to FSC/SFI and incurring operational inefficiencies to ultimately know that a tree was sustainably sourced, then they can. And, they can do that through our operationally efficient software automate by certifiably planting a Ponderosa Pine in S. Dakota (US) or an Oak tree in Ireland or a Mangrove in Madagascar ... through PrintReleaf. As you said, planting any one of those species has NOTHING to do with paper making and everything to do with biomass replacement/reforestation into our global forestry system which is central to our solution. No debate there and, again, in my previous comments, I already stated this.

George Pritchard doesn't have to prefer biomass replacement/reforestation (PrintReleaf) as a certification system compared to certified 'sourcing'. No one, including PrintReleaf, is by any means imposing any form of certification on a printer or a customer (let alone a 'tax'). It's an option if certification is of value to you. You can take it or leave it. But... many customers do want some form of certification. And many of them want PrintReleaf (some want FSC/SFI too) because, based on almost everything you've cited, especially with regard to most/many paper companies ALREADY reforesting, our customers end up certifiably planting MORE trees than those customers who pay to know where their tree came from. That outcome is net-positive. It's good. Customers like it and they like to talk about it and promote it. Moreover, they are not misunderstanding PrintReleaf (as you have routinely questioned or suggested). We and our partners spell it out for them just as I have here.

Again, I'd encourage you to look at our solution through the lens of global supply chains for forestry/paper based products and, furthermore, within the context of available options for sustainable paper certification. If, after doing so, you're still of the same mindset, so be it. It's okay to have different points of view and, for what it's worth, we've already established a place for our solution to 'fit' into the print industry. I appreciate you sharing your perspective. Hopefully you can appreciate mine... and I'm going to leave it at that.

 

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