Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

GCA label WWF report ‘unfair’

Research ignores FSC certification and claims cards aren’t from sustainable sources

THE WWF’s latest claim that consumers wrongly assume greetings cards companies are selling ethically sourced products has been denounced by the GCA as “unfair and inaccurate”.

Greeting Card Association CEO Sharon Little told Greetings Today today (Tuesday, December 22): “This is a very unfair and inaccurate story – as an industry we have an excellent record of being environmentally friendly.”
The WWF claim comes from their survey and timber scorecard, which assesses the publicly available timber-buying policies of 128 UK retailers, manufacturers and traders. The scorecard sees the organisation award zero trees for no apparent progress on sustainable timber and timber products, with up to a maximum of three trees for sustainability policies in place where more than 70 per cent of timber sourced is sustainable.
Having released a similar report in February about Valentine’s cards, this latest one from WWF states greetings cards are among the products not covered by the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), and they picked out Hallmark as scoring highly, with Paperchase and Clintons getting the lowest mark.
Thirteen per cent said an important factor when buying Christmas cards was that the card materiel comes from recycled or sustainable sources that don’t contribute to global deforestation with 16 per cent admitting they never buy festive cards, or only send ecards – and 27 per cent more interested in send high quality products so the recipients don’t think they’re stingy.
The survey by YouGov for WWF of just over 2,000 UK adults reported that 52 per cent said that they assumed greetings card retailers source sustainable products from well-managed forests, whereas 39 per cent said that they bought their cards from specialist stores.
The research was commissioned by WWF as part of their Save Forests campaign to encourage UK businesses to pledge to buy timber products from sustainable sources by 2020, and publish clear policies that outline their progress in sustainable sourcing.
Nowhere in the release from WWF or yesterday’s (Monday, December 21) report carried by does it mention the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the international non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests, and the standard the majority of UK publishers insist their paper and board meet.
The FSC run a global forest certification system, with the tick tree logo, which allows consumers to identify, purchase and use timber and forest products produced from well-managed forests and they state: “When you see the FSC logo on a label you can buy timber and other wood products, such as paper, with the confidence that you are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests.”
They don’t mention the Programme For The Endorsement Of Forest Certification (PEFC) who also run a Chain Of Custody Certification that many greetings industry suppliers adhere to.
Sharon added: “Most cards are made from environmentally-certified FSC, PEFC or recycled boards.”
David Jones, Group Marketing Director at Premier Paper, explained: “FSC is recognised and supported by many environmental NGOs and using or buying products with this certification is the best way to ensure that the raw fibre used in the manufacture of paper and boards comes from sustainable sources and complies with EUTR. It is also the case with PEFC.”
Julia Young, WWF’s adviser on sustainable and legal timber trade, said: “Thousands of our supporters tweeted Paperchase and Clintons last week to try to persuade them to up their game. Clintons tweeted back that they are complying with the EUTR, but say nothing about sustainability.
“Paperchase tweeted that they are sourcing from sustainable wood sources but we still can’t find any policy about this on their website, and they are not responding to our direct enquiries about this.”
A spokeswoman for Paperchase told the company intend to have full FSC accreditation across all card ranges in 2016.
She added: “At least 92 per cent of Paperchase Christmas cards are made from sustainable wood sources and the vast majority have FSC accreditation. Paperchase no longer work with suppliers who do not have FSC accreditation.”

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