Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT): An innovative application to monitor sustainability of paper supply chains

The Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (www.epat.org) is a web-based platform that allows suppliers and buyers of paper and paper-based packaging to share key sustainability metrics.

EPAT has been in use for the past 15 years by several North American companies and is now in its third improved version. The tool is based on measured data from supplying pulp and paper mills for over 25 performance indicators in the life cycle of paper-based products, including greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint data.

Buyers of print, paper and paper-based packaging can benefit from EPAT by accessing all key supplier data in one location for viewing and benchmarking. For suppliers, EPAT demonstrates transparency and a commitment to sustainability while helping engage customers on the many environmental aspects of paper and paper-based packaging manufacturing. The app also shows historical improvements and can help suppliers benefit from their sustainability efforts.

In their detailed guide on Sustainable Procurement of Forest Products[1], the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development state that “EPAT is a comprehensive, online decision-support tool to facilitate direct dialogue and collaboration between producers and buyers on various issues and allows users to evaluate trade-offs in purchasing decisions.”

“EPAT has all the key elements of a reliable sustainability scorecard and enables dialogue with our customers around the many environmental aspects of paper manufacturing. It is comprehensive in its coverage of key indicators in the life-cycle of paper-based products and is focused on measurable performance data”, says David Marshall – Manager of Sustainability & Public Affairs at Resolute Forest Products.

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