Paper Merchants: Telling the Sustainability Story of Print and Paper Products

When paper was invented by the Chinese more than 2,000 years ago, merchants quickly became an integral part of its history, taking paper making around the world and helping to develop its many variations and uses. Today’s merchants remain a vital part of the paper chain, linking paper to people and delivering value to those they serve in more ways than ever before.

In Values a Merchant Provides, the National Paper Trade Association (NPTA), a long-time member and enthusiastic supporter of Two Sides, spells out important ways merchants add value to the paper chain. These include not only critical operational values such as managing efficient supply chains, developing strong relationships with mills, sharing best practices and fostering creativity, but also efforts that speak to the very foundation of the industry, namely, proactively telling the great sustainability story of print, paper and paper-based packaging. Aligned with these efforts, the paper merchant community supports a variety of organizations that promote fiber-based sustainability options. These include Two Sides, which currently has 29 merchant companies as members.

As a tie-in that focuses on the Values a Merchant Provides, NPTA recently launched PaperChain, a digital content hub designed to help merchants, mills and their consumers stay informed on developments and trends in the paper industry. Featuring new insights, innovations and consumer resources each month, the site includes a dedicated Sustainability section that helps merchants share the inherently sustainable nature of paper in its many forms. Visitors to the site will find content that is both informative and entertaining, from stories about real-world product solutions and fact sheets to useful and creative recycling ideas.

For example, among the site’s current features are a Two Sides fact sheet on why both recycled fiber and fresh wood fiber are essential for the paper lifecycle, and an engaging, downloadable infographic on why paper bags are a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.  An interesting video explains why corrugated packaging was the first choice of the National Mango Board as they worked with Cal Poly University to develop a new shipping box that is stronger, safer and more sustainable that previous packaging. And there are a host of creative project ideas for repurposing cardboard boxes from the Paper and Packaging Board.

To help spread the word about PaperChain, NPTA has put together a package of social media messages, images and links that are available to its members and other stakeholders. If you’d like to join the conversation, please contact Priscilla Gil at