Today at Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics conference, New Leaf Paper released a rigorous study using the most advanced life cycle assessment (LCA) framework currently available, comparing the environmental sustainability performance of its new, 100% postconsumer recycled Reincarnation 100 coated freesheet paper with similar papers from virgin sources.
The study was conducted by SCS Global Services (SCS), an internationally recognized LCA practitioner and third-party certification body. The advanced LCA framework used in the study, known as LEO-SCS-002 standard, is midway through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation process. The framework of this standard has been proposed for international adoption by a coalition of academics, industry representatives, LCA experts, and environmental groups. International adoption of this standard is a significant step forward in assessing the environmental sustainability of products, as it will expand the usefulness, accuracy, comparability, and practicality of LCAs for products across industries.
“We asked SCS to do an honest examination of New Leaf Reincarnation, our 100% post-consumer recycled coated paper, and found that the product is better for the environment for most impacts than virgin papers produced in North America,” said Jeff Mendelsohn, founder of New Leaf Paper. “New Leaf is proud to be driving transparency in the paper supply chain by commissioning this study featuring new methodology.”
Among its key findings, the LCA showed that Reincarnation 100 has a high level of environmental performance for almost all impacts, with lower impact levels for almost 150 impact categories. The LCA framework also found that there were mixed results for six impact categories, with impact levels which are lower than virgin paper from some sources, yet higher than other mills. Reincarnation 100 had higher impact levels for only two categories out of over 150 which were examined.
Another key finding is the wide differences in the impact levels of virgin paper from different mills. For example, the number of endangered species affected by logging in the fiber basket of the considered mills varied from 10 to over 100, reflecting differences in local logging practices and the condition of local forest ecosystems.
The study was peer reviewed by an expert panel including representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservatree, and the University of Wisconsin. “The panel reviewed the report and submitted over 450 comments,” said Susan Kinsella, chair of the review panel. “Based on our thorough examination, we are confident that this LCA is one of the most comprehensive and exacting reports on paper production impacts to be published, and that it is a fair and reliable comparison of the papers considered.”
“By using this standardized LCA framework to examine the environmental sustainability performance of Reincarnation 100, New Leaf has set a new bar for transparency in environmental claims in the paper industry,” said Tobias Schultz, Manager of Corporate Sustainability Services at SCS. “This framework is a powerful tool for companies to examine the environmental performance of different products. By using it, New Leaf is setting a trend for other companies to follow.”
To see the full LCA, visit the SCS Resource Center:
About SCS Global Services
SCS Global Services has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for more than three decades. Programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, and more. SCS is a Benefit Corporation, reflecting its corporate commitment to creating a material positive impact on society and the environment. For information, visit www.scsglobalservices.com.
About New Leaf Paper
New Leaf Paper is the industry’s leader in developing papers with the highest sustainability and least impact on our environment, since 1998. Voted B-corp “Best in the World” again in 2015.