38 ENVIRONMENT | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 PAPER USE Spotlight on Paper Certification Certification systems allow consumers to directly influence forest management by purchasing certified products. Customers however assume that certified forest products come from sustainably managed forests and that all certification standards are equivalent, which may not be true. There are two common certifications available for forest products in Australia that are applied to copy paper. • Forest Stewardship Council certification and • Australian Forestry Standard Both certifications are underpinned by a process of standards consultation reporting and auditing. It is fair to say that both these certifications receive both support and criticism by different stakeholder groups and both are subject to commentary about how they balance interests of commercial harvesting verses environmental sustainability and communities. Many point to contradictions where high value conservation forests are harvested for certified timber products or where other losses or failures of compliance systems have led to unsustainable outcomes. The highest use of paper by law firms is 80 gsm copy paper. The number of large paper mills in Australian has reduced over the last ten years as a result of international competition for products. Australian Paper is now the only producer of copy paper in Australia but produces paper for several suppliers. Their plant at Maryvale produces different copy paper products using both recycled and virgin pulp - using fifty-seven percent planation pulp in total. Australian Paper has also recently commissioned a recycling plant capable of significantly increasing the proportion of recycled copy paper it produces. Australian Paper is the only Australian manufacturer of A4 copy paper that still uses native forest timber harvested by Vic Forests. This supply of native forest chips is certified by the Australian Forestry Standard but is not certified by Forestry Stewardship Council. 2017 AusLSA Member Performance Paper use in Australian Law firms is continuing to be displaced by several issues, including the increased uptake of electronic files, online lodgement processes, and electronic communication. The overall consumption of paper for all member firms this year decreased by 4.5% per head and is now at its lowest level over the past four years. Overall paper consumption reduced by 180 tonnes (or 8.8% of total paper use). Wide variations of paper consumption across member firms was again observed (from 27kg/person to 186kg/person) further supporting our underlying paper assumptions. Of the two thousand tonnes of paper consumed, only seventeen percent of this was recycled content. The market for recycled and sustainable paper seems to be a little difficult to navigate, and this may explain why the recycled content is a little low We reported last year that the use of paper continues to be a necessary feature of providing legal services and is influenced by the number and type of matters a firm undertakes. While this year’s paper consumption figures are pleasing, it does support the premise that the volume of paper used is transient. This also suggests that the adoption of paperless processes and technology may be becoming more widespread in the sector. 28.78 186.96 PAPER CONSUMPTION Tonnes C02 -e per employee for all firms PAPER USE kg per employee 2014 2015 2016 2017 106 119 108 111 27KG MINIMUM 187KG MAXIMUM 104KG AVERAGE