Stacks of paper

Stacks of paper awaiting the printing press

Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic

National Geographic Society (NGS) and its subsidiaries require that all products manufactured and delivered for NGS comply with all local and national laws and regulations. The purchaser and/or manufacturer must ensure that all supplied paper and other materials conform to the Lacey Act as amended in May 2008. In addition, any materials, paper or other forest product must be sourced in compliance with internationally accepted forestry protocols. No paper or other materials shall be derived from high conservation value forests or other illegal sources. All materials must be harvested sustainably.


Read National Geographic's Sustainability Procurement Policy.


Paper for National Geographic magazine

The National Geographic Society purchases paper from a mill operated by Verso Paper in Jay, Maine, that has been criticized by some environmental groups. Standards for waste emissions and other environmental concerns related to paper manufacturing are set and compliance is monitored by the state of Maine in accordance with the Clean Water Act of 1972. Although the Society recognizes there is no such thing as a totally clean paper mill, the Verso Paper mill, on the Androscoggin River, performs, according to the Maine Department of the Environment, within those standards, as publicly available data show. In addition, a review of the key metrics the state of Maine looks at—discharge levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), and phosphorus—shows the discharge levels at the mill are not only within the state-determined limits, but may have recently improved as the result of capital investments involving waste- and emission-reduction projects made by the mill over the last three years. National Geographic is in the process of hiring an expert in environmental emissions to conduct an independent study and analysis of the mill’s performance, and the Society will continue to closely monitor whether the mitigation projects being undertaken by Verso Paper result in improvements beyond the permit standards set by the state of Maine.

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