By Donna Harman
President & CEO
Get Ready to Celebrate National Forest Products Week!
Consider the coffee in the paper cup you picked up on the drive to work headed to the office where your first task was to print off a to-do list from your computer. Then at lunch, you grabbed a paper napkin before pulling a sandwich from a paper bag. Later, at home before putting your children to bed, story time for a favorite book. Just another day, but one in which pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products emerged as a common theme.
From sunrise to sunset, opportunities surround us with ways to appreciate how a long list of forest products are intertwined with our lives. That’s why we especially look forward to the third week of October when National Forest Products Week (NFPW) puts our industry and its products center-stage for a well-deserved round of applause.
So, mark your calendars for October 15 – 21, and get ready to join in the 57th anniversary of the celebration. Throughout the week, AF&PA has a dynamic communications campaign in place to highlight the central role our sustainable manufacturing industry plays in society, economic competitiveness and job creation.
Our companies and their dedicated employees produce essential products that make our lives more convenient, safe, efficient and memorable. And, we’ll be joining other industry representatives, employees and advocates in Washington and around the country to share that story.
The numbers are impressive. In rural and urban communities across 45 states, we are among the top ten manufacturing sector employers of approximately 900,000 men and women and support about 2.4 million total jobs. Our companies meet a roughly $50 billion payroll every year and account for approximately four percent of total U.S. manufacturing GDP.
NFPW is a great platform to increase awareness about our work and help expand our industry’s footprint. That’s where AF&PA’s mission to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry comes into play. Through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy, we’re keeping decision makers in Washington and around the country aware of the need for common-sense, effective public policy.
That means pushing for regulatory reforms that do more good than harm so that companies can have the benefit of operating with the certainty that allows them to better plan for the future. Spending unnecessary time and money responding to Washington’s ever-changing and mounting regulations is inefficient and better utilized for innovation and investment in the future.
This past May, that focus paid off when the House and Senate passed and the President signed into law legislation including language clarifying federal regulatory policy to reflect the carbon-neutrality of forest-based biomass energy. We’re gratified to have led the advocacy for policy that can foster growth in U.S. manufacturing.
Looking ahead, we’re working to ensure consumers have the right to choose paper-based communications for essential federal government services. And, by highlighting the importance of paper recovery – like the record 67.2 percent recovery rate in 2016 – we educate about the importance of paper recycling in extending the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products.
These advocacy priorities, in combination with comprehensive tax reform, transportation efficiency from safely increased truck weight limits and freight rail reform as well as trade measures that recognize our strong global market position continue to have our strong backing.
That’s a long list, and we’re eager to accomplish it to provide our industry every chance to do what it does best – innovate, provide good jobs and make exceptional products.
But as the saying goes, there’s nothing like a celebration to bring people together, so let’s get back to the occasion at hand. From October 15 – 21, we’ll be using press releases, blogs, advertising, social media, a dedicated AF&PA website and more to tell our industry’s story during National Forest Products Week.
We hope you’ll be joining us in the conversation. You can stay up to date with latest information by tuning in to www.afandpa.org and following @ForestandPaper, #CelebrateFP and #withpaper on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s all celebrate together!