Is the Paper in Your Books Violating the Lacey Act?
Furthermore, they portend the possible use of this technology by third parties to uncover Lacey violations. Some NGOs have already used fiber analysis to determine whether books were made from plantation wood or from natural tropical rainforests. Now we know they can find potentially illegal species in paper, too.
So what can companies in the paper supply chain do to avert the risk of purchasing paper with illegal fiber in it?
First and foremost, exercise due care. "Due care" lies at the core of the amended Lacey Act. It is the legal term for exercising the level of appropriate action that would be taken by a reasonably prudent person under the same circumstances to minimize the risk of purchasing plant products that were harvested or traded illegally.
Examples of due care in the context of purchasing paper products include:
1. Ask questions. Ask your paper supplier questions such as: What
is your supply chain? Can you trace the paper all the way back to
the forest? What is the degree of illegal activity in that forest
or region? What processes do you have in place to prevent
illegally harvested fiber from entering your supply?
2. Assess risk and respond accordingly. Determine the relative
risks associated with the forest of origin. Is the region
suspected by credible sources of having high levels of illegal
logging? Are civil society campaigns currently underway that
indicate that this is a forest of concern? If so, compare the risk
of inadvertently sourcing illegal paper to your degree of risk
aversion. If responses from your supplier to the questions you ask
do not meet your risk tolerance levels, consider sourcing paper
from a different supplier or region.
3. Adopt a comprehensive forest products purchasing policy.
Establish a forest products purchasing policy that
reflects company values and incorporates environmental and social
safeguards. Such policies can be a good foundation for practicing
due care. Training employees on the policy and putting in place
systems and performance incentives for policy implementation can
effectively reduce risk.