Bank of America Implements Paper Procurement Policy

Bank of America Implements Paper Procurement Policy

Bank of America, the largest retail bank in the U.S. -- and one of the world's largest consumers of paper products -- has devised a new paper procurement policy geared toward reducing impacts on the world's forest ecosystems and promotes sustainable forestry practices.

In addition to simply encouraging best practices that protect endangered forests, the new policy aligns with the bank's forest practices lending policy, according to Greg Taylor, supply chain management executive. "Suppliers of paper products to the bank must remain in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing timber harvesting and ensure their third party suppliers also comply with applicable laws and regulations."

The new procurement policy has three primary goals:
  • Source Reduction and Recycling -- minimizing the bank's consumption of paper products containing virgin wood fiber, in order to reduce demand on forests

  • Sustainable Forest Practices -- ensuring that source forests from which virgin wood fiber is procured are managed using environmentally preferable practices

  • Protection of Endangered Forests -- requiring the bank's suppliers of paper products to identify and appropriately manage endangered and high conservation value forests.
The bank developed the policy in partnership with a group of key suppliers, such as International Paper, and environmental organizations such as Metafore, a nonprofit group that works to conserve, protect and restore the world's forests, and the nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense.

As part of the policy, the bank will continue its existing efforts to reduce paper consumption, maximize recycled content where paper elimination is not feasible, and recycle the paper it uses in internal operations and receives from external sources.

During the same time period in which the bank's assets have grown from $670 billion in 2000 to more than $1 trillion in 2004, it has decreased the amount of paper used in internal operations by 32%. To reduce paper sent to outside parties, it now offers online banking customers the option of electronic statements in place of paper statements, for which over 1 million customers have signed up. In 2004, the bank recycled 28,268 tons of paper, effectively recycling all the paper it uses internally, plus the same amount again received from external sources.

In 2004, 70% of the paper purchased by the bank contained recycled content, at an average of 20% post-consumer content. The bank has set a goal that 90% of total paper purchases contain a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content by 2006.

"Efficient use of resources reduces environmental impacts and expenses, driving benefits for both our shareholders and the communities in which we do business," Taylor said.

Regarding forest practices, the bank will not align with suppliers engaged in the conversion of high conservation value forests or natural forest ecosystems to tree farms or plantations, on any scale, on lands that they own or manage. The bank will require its suppliers to work with their third-party suppliers of wood fiber to encourage and monitor compliance with conversion requirements and promote retention of high conservation value forests and natural forest ecosystems.

Bank of America will require suppliers of paper products to warrant that neither their products nor product inputs, whether sourced from internal operations or third party suppliers, were derived from the harvesting of primary tropical moist forests, or primary forests in temperate or boreal forest regions that are not managed using sustainable forestry practices as verified by an independent third party audit.