Domtar’s Acquisition of Xerox Paper Business Lays Ground for Continued Sustainability Progress
When Domtar recently announced its acquisition of the Xerox North American paper business, I wondered what the positive sustainability impact would be. Domtar has built an environmental leadership position in the pulp and paper industry over a 10-year period. Just Means writer Meirav Even-Har did a great job last year of describing Domtarâs strong combination of: Long-term NGO partnershipsâwith World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Alliance, and the Nature Conservancy; Ambitious FSC goalsâa 25% increase in FSC fiber use by 2020, reaching 100% FSC-sourced in the long-term; and Consumer tools to support sustainable paper choicesâsuch as Pixel and Print Logic and The Paper Trail online resource calculator. I didnât know as much about Xerox sustainability, but learned that the Xerox paper line offers a number of paper options with FSC and SFI certified content. Xerox also collaborates with the Nature Conservancy and their commitment has included a $1M pledge made in 2010. Providing customers with a trusted brand According to Stuart Lister, Manager, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Domtar, the sustainability story here is in the strengthening of the Domtar offering and brand. As is well known, the top-line paper business in North America is declining. âAdding a household name to the already strong brands in our paper line insulates us against secular demand decline while providing our customers with a trusted brand,â says Lister. The deal plays to the strengths of both organizations. Xerox is able to focus more closely on its core technology business. At the same time Domtar gives Xerox branded paper an efficient route to market while gaining a technology connection. Xerox paper will be sold alongside Domtarâs EarthChoice products, now representing 25% of sales. This deal represents creative change, and Domtar has had innovation on its mind since before 2011. âIf paper is experiencing a 3-4% a year decline, itâs about how we take what we are good atâ100 years of wood fibre experienceâand see what else we can do with it,â says Lister. With much of the environmental work accomplished at the mill level, Domtar is looking at product development in earnest in its Personal Care division, with super-absorbent cores, as well as in its Pulp and Paper division, with wood fiber bioproducts such as lignin and cellulose nanocrystal. With the deal set to complete by early June, it remains to be seen how the addition of Xerox paper into the portfolio will impact Domtarâs FSC goals in particularâor any other aspects of the sustainability program. Itâs simply too early to tell. I look forward to connecting with Sustainability VP, DavidÂ Struhs later in the spring to learn more.