The Three Pillars of Sustainability

The Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative recognizes the three essential pillars of sustainability — economic, environmental and social — interdependent factors that collectively support long-term viability, growth and improvement. AF&PA members subscribe to the sustainability concepts recognized by a number of international forums, including the United Nations.


The economic health of the U.S. paper and wood products manufacturing industry is vital to its sustainable future. AF&PA advocates for government policies and regulations that allow the industry to remain competitive in order to manufacture essential products for everyday living. AF&PA believes that market forces should be the primary drivers of sustainability initiatives.


Our industry relies on natural resources to make products people use and depend on. Sustainable practices — forest management, efficient manufacturing, energy generation and conservation and fiber recovery — define the paper and wood products industry’s dedication to protecting our environment while also meeting economic and social commitments.


People are at the heart of the paper and wood products industry. The health and safety of workers is a top priority for our industry. So is making a positive contribution to the lives of our employees and the communities that surround our manufacturing facilities.

AF&PA members must formally agree to adhere to the association’s Sustainable Procurement and Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Principles.

To learn more about these sustainability-related requirements, read the principles here.