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Rating system

Rating system

Check Your Paper has been designed as a user-friendly tool to help paper purchasers and manufacturers to evaluate their environmental footprint. With the help of the Check Your Paper scheme, also responsible merchants and other distributors can verify and demonstrate the quality of the products they sell. This scheme aims to channel paper consumption and production towards alternatives with the least harmful environmental impacts. It focuses on a limited number of major impacts related to the health and vitality of humans and ecosystems, including:

  • forest impacts through wood harvesting
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • water pollutants
  • wastes

These impacts have been combined into a single "one-size-fits-all" measure that can be used to rate all paper grades. The subjectivity inevitably involved in the selection and weighting of impacts has been kept to a minimum by using a simple and transparent structure. Each impact is allocated a maximum of either 10 or 20 points, adding up to a maximum potential 100 points.

All the paper products listed in Check Your Paper on the audited list should be from known and legal sources. However, WWF's scoring does not provide a guarantee of legality. Disclaimer of responsibility.

We are currently planning our next evolution of paper tools, so aren't accepting new ratings and the database is not accessible at present.

Environmental rating of papers: Total rating

The total rating is shown as a percentage figure, illustrating the total environmental impact of the product. Rating categories are defined as follows:

  • Excellent 90-100%: These products have an excellent environmental performance.
  • Very good 80-89%: These products have a very good environmental performance.
  • Good 60-79%: These products have a good environmental performance.
  • Fair (lower than 60%): These products are on the right path and showcase the transparency of the producer/merchant.

Was the paper product you were searching for not listed? Encourage your paper supplier to join the Check Your Paper scheme by sending them our Check Your Paper brochure (.pdf, 882 kb)

Environmental rating of papers: Star-rating

The star-rating classification system describes the environmental performance levels of paper products in more detail. More stars indicate better environmental performance, in terms of fewer negative impacts on forests, climate change and aquatic ecosystems.

Forest performance illustrates:

  • the proportion of the fibre originating from recycled sources; or
  • the proportion of virgin fibre originating from legal, controlled and credibly certified sources.

To earn maximum points on fibre sourcing, a paper product should contain high proportions of post-consumer recyled fibre and/or virgin fibre originating from credibly certified, well managed forests.

Climate performance illustrates products' impacts on climate change, taking into account:

  • the minimising of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels used in manufacturing process
  • the use of recycled fibre and/or virgin fibre from verified legal sources
  • emissions of methane from related wastes sent to landfills.

Water performance illustrates pollution levels from the pulp and paper manufacturing process, taking into account:

  • measures to reduce water pollution involving bleaching chemicals, including the promotion of unbleached products or the use of totally chlorine-free (TCF) bleaching processes
  • measures to reduce organic water pollution.

The entry thresholds for ratings on emissions reflect the performance levels achievable by most major pulp and paper mills. To gain the highest ratings, manufacturing processes should have no emissions of fossil CO2, minimal water pollution (measured in terms of AOX and COD), and minimal waste- to-landfill. Top ratings can only be achieved by the best performers in the whole industry.