An environmental watchdog group rappelled from the Washington Avenue Bridge on Monday to hang a giant, 40-foot Post-It note in protest of 3M's impact on the environment.
ForestEthics organizers called on Post-It maker 3M to use more recycled paper and "clean up its environmental act."
The group claims 90 percent of Post-It products have no recycled content, and that 3M sources its paper from protected habitats and endangered forests, arguing that clear-cutting of forests leads to erosion, flooding and landslides, and that the logging and paper sourcing is done with "minimal consultation of local communities and indigenous people."
"3M's commitment to innovation should make the company particularly ashamed to being doing something as outdated as making disposable products from old-growth and endangered forests," said a statement from ForestEthics executive director Todd Paglia. "Great companies evolve, and we believe 3M can go from loser to leader on the environment, when the company decides to."
3M PAPER SOURCING POLICY STATEMENT
According to 3M's paper sourcing policy, "3M is committed to sustainable forest management and the conservation of natural resources," which includes:
- Ensuring the wood is legally harvested
- Sourcing paper from certified, sustainably-managed sources
- Using recycled paper products in order to reduce waste to landfill and promote the effective use of resources when technically, operationally and financially feasible
- Adhering to the principles and generally accepted criteria of sustainable forest management
- Protecting ecologically and culturally significant forest areas by avoiding the use of products from such forests
"3M is among the most acclaimed companies in the world for its stewardship of the environment," Jean Sweeney, vice president of Environmental, Health, Safety and sustainability Operations, said. "We consider our sustainability practices to be a core value of the company, and we take enormous pride in our commitment to the environment."
A 3M spokesman also told FOX 9 News that only 10 percent of forests on the planet are certified as sustainably managed, but the company adheres strictly to those sources.
"This campaign is about competing certification standards," Stephen Sanchez said of the protest. "We are in favor of those standards."
Furthermore and specifically regarding Post-it Notes, Sanchez explained that 3M invented a renewable, plant-based adhesive that reduces petroleum use, and the company plans to expand its use as its group of sustainable products continues to move forward. Currently, 3M does offer products, including Post-it Notes, made entirely of recycled materials and it also incorporates recycled paper and other recycled elements in products and packaging.