United Methodist Women’s Green Team meets with Office Depot on the Chlorine-Free Paper
Letterwriting Campaign, January 31, 2006, Delray Beach, FL
by Grace Pyen
When United Methodist Women write, people respond!
In the Fall of 2005, United Methodist Women started another letterwriting campaign for Processed Chlorine-Free Paper (PCF). Led by the Green Team, women carried out a massive mailing to Office Depot, Office Max and Corporate Express, paper retail suppliers.
Within 6 weeks of beginning the campaign, the Women's Division received a call from Mr. Steve Sauls, Vice-President of Corporate Relations of Office Depot, after receiving his fifthieth letter from United Methodist women. Mr. Sauls initiated a meeting of the following three major parties to discuss the importance of Processed Chlorine-Free paper: United Methodist Women, Chlorine-Free Products Association (3rd party certifier), and the manufacturers.
Attending the meeting were: Archie Beaton , Executive Director of Chlorine free Products Association;
Robert Boivin, Steve Cormier, Walter Hudson, Dennis Lion, Isabelle Faivre of Cascade Paper Co.; Scott McDougall, CEO of TerraChoice; Chantal Line Carpentier , Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Cooperation; Steve Sauls, Linda Boykin, Wade Eveleth, Shari Hendrixson of Office Depot; and Grace Pyen of UMW Green Team.
I spoke to the group about the importance of using PCF paper. I spoke about the toxicity of dioxin and how it affects the environment and human health. I also talked about the over-consumption of water when bleaching paper with chlorine. Archie Beaton of Chlorine Free Products Association and other members of the group spoke about the importance of 3rd party certification and the difference in Processed and Elemental Chlorine Free paper (ECF).
It is significant that this meeting was a direct result of our letterwriting campaign. I told them that we want to buy PCF paper but we have yet to find a major retail store that carries 3rd party certified PCF paper on an ongoing basis. I made a plea to Office Depot to uphold the moral imperative to practice environmental stewardship and asked them to join us in this movement. Office Depot expressed their appreciation for our unending struggle and for taking a moral stance.
The meeting ended with Office Depot committing to continue dialogue with those present at this meeting and for Mr. Saul and his colleagues of Office Depot to go back to their management team to discuss plans for participating in environmental stewardship by choosing quality PCF paper.
Date posted: Feb 16, 2006