Who doesn’t love a field trip?  Remember how excited you were as a child when that rare opportunity to get out of the classroom came along?

Whether it was visiting a national park, going to the zoo or traveling to the local farm, there was value in seeing first-hand what you’d only been studying in books in school.

The same thing holds true today.

These days, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors.  There, many of us work behind a desk in an office, where for hours a day we focus on perfecting our craft.  Designing. Creating. Executing.  Printing.  Communicating.

For those of us in sustainability, the disconnect between so often speaking about what we’re doing for the environment, yet working in our collective office parks is especially pronounced.

That’s one of the reasons we love bringing customers to where it all begins for our pulp and paper products – back to the forest.  There is tangible value in seeing the very first step in the supply chain, and how decisions made behind a desk hundreds of miles away actually have real-world impacts.

Recently Domtar and Staples, industry leaders in sustainability, joined forces with the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance to host a field day in the Southern Appalachians of North Carolina.  This unique place is home to some of the most diverse collections of plants and animals in the world, as well as a host of forest-based producers, including Domtar’s Kingsport, Tennessee mill. Throughout the day, procurement professionals witnessed the power their decisions have on the supply chain and the positive on-the-ground benefits they are helping promote.

Customers toured lands certified to maintain biodiversity and protect water quality, while still providing the wood needed to make a host of forest products.  Later they were treated to a hike through breathtaking scenery endemic to the area, providing a better appreciation for the ecology that their responsible sourcing policies indirectly help protect.

Overall, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Much like field trips from years past, participants were thrilled to experience something other than “another typical day at the office.”

Check out more from the hands-on experience at: