EarthChoice Tour Wins Domtar New Fans

Paper company Domtar wrapped up an exhibit last week showcasing classic rock ‘n’ roll album covers from The Eagles, The Doors and other bands that also promoted its EarthChoice line of environmentally friendly paper. The yearlong tour has brought EarthChoice groupies in the music industry and among Fortune 100 companies and a few financial institutions.

The invitation-only poster exhibit traveled to eight cities, reaching out to corporate paper buyers, people in the design community and commercial printers in each destination.

The Montreal-based company doesn’t go to these lengths for every launch, but EarthChoice isn’t your average line of recycled paper, said Lewis Fix, director of business development at Domtar EarthChoice.

EarthChoice, introduced in April 2005 for business applications such as direct mail and catalogs, claims to be the most comprehensive line of environmentally responsible paper on the market. It is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which means that the virgin wood it contains comes from well-managed forests. Most of the line also contains 35 percent to 100 percent post-consumer waste.

EarthChoice Tour Wins New Fans for Domtar

From a printing and production standpoint, the line purports to equal other top-quality papers, meaning that not only will it produce bright whites and vibrant colors but it also can withstand printing processes such as foil laminating and double-density black.

To illustrate the line’s capabilities, Domtar partnered with renowned album graphic designer Gary Burden and had him recreate some of his best-known cover designs from albums by The Eagles, The Doors, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills and Nash, among others, on EarthChoice paper. The designs were digitally printed on 47-by-47-inch wall posters for the exhibit.

Mr. Burden promised to push the limits of the line. For example, the companion brochure to the exhibit shows an album with a number of fine grooves. Inside, the cover for Joni Mitchell “Blue” album is heavily laden with ink yet still was able to print with highlights in the shadow areas.

The exhibit traveled last year to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Denver, Chicago, Montreal and New York. Its final stop was Aspen, CO, on June 22 of this year. The events averaged 200 attendees, Mr. Fix said.

Mr. Burden usually spoke at the events, as did representatives from the Forestry Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance and Domtar. There was also a live oil-and-water painting show choreographed to music that took place during the events.

Attendees were asked to sign in when they arrived at the exhibit and whether they wished to receive a copy of the commemorative book. Domtar followed up with attendees in person or by mail.

The company has mailed 4,000 copies of the commemorative book during the past year. It also gained major new accounts as a result.

For example, the cover for Neil Young’s recent CD “Prairie Wind” was printed on EarthChoice paper. The Gary Burden exhibit “helped us in the music industry, where we’ve never been a player before,” Mr. Fix said.

In addition, four top Fortune 100 companies chose to print their 2005 annual reports on EarthChoice paper.

“We have 2,500 tons of new annual reports this year that we’ve never had before,” Mr. Fix said.

Several financial institutions also are using EarthChoice paper for their bank statements, envelopes and monthly calendars and are determining where else it might fit into their paper needs, he said. One Canadian bank even designed a campaign around the Forestry Stewardship Council and included an insert with its bank statements showing its commitment to the organization.

The exhibit has raised Domtar’s profile as a leader in the sustainability movement, Mr. Fix said. It’s not unusual for people in the industry to contact him with questions related to environmentally friendly printing practices, he said.

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