Forest Products - Results

Results to Date

  • Taking direct and indirect emissions intensity together, AF&PA member companies decreased their emissions intensity from 0.738 to 0.637 tons of CO2 equivalents per ton of production – a decrease of 14 percent.
  • This total is comprised of a direct greenhouse gas emissions intensity decrease of 24 percent, from 0.513 to 0.389 tons of CO2 equivalents per ton of production and an indirect emissions intensity increase of 10 percent. Indirect emissions are those generated by suppliers of purchased electricity.
  • From 2000 to 2006, AF&PA member companies collectively reduced their absolute direct GHG emissions 34 percent, from 61.2 to 40.5 MMTCO2–eq. Absolute indirect emissions associated with the generation of purchased electricity decreased 4 percent from 26.8 to 25.8 MMTCO2–eq from 2000 to 2006.
  • In addition, in 2006, AF&PA member companies' use of recycled paper to make new paper products has resulted in avoided emissions of 21.1 MMTCO2–eq due to the avoidance of methane emissions from landfills, where the paper would otherwise decay.
  • Carbon sequestered in trees becomes stored in wood and paper products for the duration of the products' useful life.
  • In 2006, long–term carbon storage in products produced by AF&PA member companies increased by 23.8 MMTCO2–eq.

Estimating Emissions

AF&PA, in association with the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Resources Institute (WRI) has developed methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities. The calculation tools serve as a unified industry approach to emissions accounting. Prepared by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), the calculation tools are based on protocols previously developed by WRI, WBCSD, and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The tools were peer–reviewed and endorsed by the WRI and WBCSD through their project, the GHG Protocol. The most current versions of the calculation tools are available at the NCASI web site.

Estimating Product Sequestration

AF&PA, again working with the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, has developed a tool for estimating the amount of carbon stored in forest products over a 100–year period. The tool, which was developed by the NCASI, allows companies to calculate the long–term contributions of their annual production. A report explaining the methodology and a spreadsheet calculation tool are available at the NCASI web site.


The AF&PA voluntarily established a paper recovery goal of recovering 55 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. by 2012. The recovery rate reached 56 percent in 2007 – five years ahead of schedule – and the industry has set a new 60 percent recovery goal by 2012. AF&PA expects that achieving the recovery rate of 60% will continue to lead to corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by reducing potential emissions from landfills. The recovery goal will be achieved through integrated public–private sector partnerships with the EPA, Keep America Beautiful, Scholastic, Inc., and others that have been established to educate and encourage towns and cities, office buildings, schools, and private citizens to recover more high–quality papers in their communities and workplaces.


Page Last Modified:   March 11, 2009