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Paper Calculator v4 Continues to Drive Sustainable Use, Purchasing

Image credit: Chief Packaging Officer

From packaging to copy paper and tissue, global paper consumption is steadily increasing. Reducing paper’s impacts on the planet is critical, but only what’s measured is managed. Previous tools to help quantify paper’s environmental performance have had limited data quality, scope and accessibility.

The free, web-based Paper Calculator is a powerful, comprehensive environmental performance estimator that can help any company reduce its environmental impacts related to paper. This critical tool for corporate responsibility supports reduced resource use, GHG emissions, water consumption, waste and ecosystem impacts from paper use.

The Paper Calculator has been a trusted, free and independent resource for tens of thousands of users since its launch in 2005. The new Paper Calculator v4 was launched this month by the Environmental Paper Network, an alliance of over 140 nonprofit organizations, with technical assistance from leading third-party certifier and standards developer, SCS Global Services (SCS). The Calculator v4:

  • Includes new biodiversity and ecosystem impacts, as well as more accurate climate change reporting, than previous versions.
  • Uses a complete Life Cycle Assessment methodology to review all environmental performance factors for paper, considering 24 indicators in all.
  • Uses the highest-quality data available from the North American paper industry.
  • Provides estimates of the environmental performance of an expanded range of paper grades, including the growing sector of tissue products.
  • Shows the benefits from reducing paper consumption.
  • Enables comparison of the environmental performance of different paper types with varying recycled content.
  • Allows users to create easy-to-read reports to help them make better paper choices and measure the results.
  • Provides improved transparency via a new resource document that details the Calculator’s methods.

Thousands of high-profile companies and organizations use the Paper Calculator, including Toyota, General Electric, Target, Adobe, Hallmark, HP, Lexmark, Boeing, Fidelity Investments, Sprint, Green America, Numi Tea, Union of Concerned Scientists, Whole Foods, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Patagonia, Bloomberg, Bank of America, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as paper companies including Cascades, Mohawk, Monadnock, Neenah, New Leaf and Rolland.

The new version 4 reflects a multi-year effort by experts from leading environmental groups including Canopy, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and Conservatree, as well as representatives from academia and business, including the University of Southern California and Kimberly-Clark Corporation. It integrates feedback from thousands of organizations that have used the tool over the past thirteen years. Version 4 includes an improved user interface, advanced analytical features and enhanced data outputs that make it even easier for users to make better paper choices. It also provides users with new resources, such as detailed descriptions and common product examples of the paper grades included, as well as a feature to calculate the weight of a user’s copy paper using the number of reams or sheets.

The Paper Calculator v4 will be the topic of a presentation at the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) LCA XVIII conference in September in Fort Collins, Colorado.

For questions about the Paper Calculator or to request a demonstration for you or your team, please contact [email protected]

Joshua Martin has been the Director of the Environmental Paper Network since 2005. Joshua has extensive experience in coalition building and working with regional, national and international non-profit organizations and corporate leaders on sustainability issues. Joshua has a background… [Read more about Joshua Martin]


As Director of Research and Development at SCS Global Services, Mr. Schultz is responsible for innovation at the company. He identifies new processes, technologies, and opportunities, to expand and improve SCS's service…
[Read more about Tobias Schultz]

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