The Three Pillars of Sustainability


AF&PA members are an integral part of the communities in which they operate, often having provided jobs and taxes there for more than 100 years. They have a variety of programs to promote the well-being of their employees and the communities.

Industry sites enrolled in government voluntary protection programs in 2017

AF&PA members who offer apprenticeships or internships to college students

AF&PA members who have either a charitable giving program or a corporate foundation to promote philanthropic activities

Occupational Safety

In our industry, safety comes first. The Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 goal to improve worker safety is an important step toward achieving our industry vision of zero workplace injuries.

The forest products industry is among the top industry categories utilizing the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) . For a work site to be admitted to the VPP, it must meet rigorous performance-based safety and health criteria. In 2017, the industry had 149 sites (80 paper facility sites and 69 wood products sites) enrolled in federal and state VPPs.

Professional Development

Our members are dedicated to helping their employees realize their full professional potential. Seventy-one percent of AF&PA member companies support their employees’ continuing education and career development efforts through reimbursement of college tuition or external programs, in-house training or sabbaticals.

In 2017, the average age of a U.S. pulp and paper mill employee was 48.6 years. To educate and train a new generation of paper manufacturers, 71 percent of AF&PA member companies offer apprenticeships or internships to college, university and technical institute students. Forty-six percent work with colleges, universities or technical institutes to develop curricula that will produce trained graduates.

Aligns with objectives of UNSDG #4: Quality Education


Member companies offer their employees health risk assessments and health promotion programs, as well as hosting on-site health fairs. Many of our members offer education on a variety of issues, including diet and weight management, high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking cessation, stress and substance abuse.

Engaging Local Communities

Sixty-three percent of AF&PA member companies either have a charitable giving program or a corporate foundation to promote philanthropic activities.


Award Winner

2017 Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety

Sappi North America’s Over Two Million Hours Worked Without Lost Time Injury Project

Sappi’s mill in Cloquet, Minnesota implemented four unique safety programs, engaging and educating its employees on recognizing safety issues, reducing risk of injury, maintaining a safe work environment, and creating and sustaining safety standards. The programs led the Cloquet mill to reach a company milestone of two million hours worked without a lost time injury – an equivalent to over 450 days without significant injury.

Member Spotlights

Domtar’s Online University: My Knowledge Tree

Domtar’s My Knowledge Tree offers a large number of courses, books, videos and job aids on demand to every employee. These online learning resources are aligned with technical, functional and leadership development areas to support individual development planning and increase the reach of training at Domtar. Organizational safety and legal training are also administered and tracked through My Knowledge Tree, increasing critical awareness.


Glatfelter’s Ohio Operations PEOPLE Partnership with Tiffin Elementary School

Glatfelter’s successful partnership with local Tiffin Elementary School, in Chillicothe, Ohio includes greeting students on Fridays, helping sixth graders design wooden race cars for a Pinewood Derby event, and promoting literacy by providing children’s books printed on Glatfelter paper and reading to kindergarten classes. In 2017, the Ohio School Board Administration recognized Glatfelter with the Community Partner of the Year award for its impactful and evolving partnership with Tiffin Elementary.

UPM’s Blandin Employees for Life Fund

UPM’s employees at its Blandin paper mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota founded, manage and support the Blandin Employees for Life fund, which helps community members who are challenged with the financial burdens of traveling for cancer treatments. Working together with the Grand Rapids Area Community Fund, Blandin Employees for Life has distributed hundreds of gas cards to local community members in their time of need.


Our industry may support entire communities as the primary employer in many rural areas.