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The partnership between Rhodia and Clairefontaine is a really wonderful thing. The two French companies officially joined forces in 1997 after each operating successfully for generations. Rhodia was established in 1934 and Clairefontaine in 1858. Their partnership is a perfect match - the world's best paper mill for writing (Clairefontaine) and the world's best notepad (Rhodia). Today, located in the Vosges region of France, Rhodia-Clairefontaine was established on the site of a 16th century paper mill. The Clairefontaine mill has been making paper since 1858 and stationery products since 1890.
Their long term success is the result of total expertise in their field as well as responsible management of their resources. Clairefontaine's Paper Mill was established at a time when the people and community in the local area relied exclusively on the natural resources around them, nestled in the south east corner of France near the Swiss border. Because of this, a culture of strict environmental responsibility and careful resource management remains a cornerstone of Clairefontaine's production and manufacturing.
In other words, Rhodia-Clairefontaine is as careful about the environment as they are about the quality of their products. Unlike other companies, Rhodia-Clairefontaine manufactures its own paper from sustainable forests with minimal environmental impact. By taking control of the whole process of production, from forestry right through to final production and distribution of its stationery, the company can proudly boast what is probably the most environmentally responsible paper manufacturing process in the world.
Not just environmentally friendly, this total control ensures incredible quality and reliable consistency. Every Rhodia pad or Clairefontaine notebook, whether on a French school desk or in an Australian boardroom, is of the same near-breathtaking quality. The supply of materials and the process that turns them into the World's Best Paper for Writing is the same, totally consistent and reliable. Other stationery brands who purchase materials from various paper mills cannot make this guarantee.
Some other wonderful advantages of the Rhodia-Clairefontaine partnership include:
- Rhodia-Clairefontaine paper is made from pulp and wood by-products from forests independently certified by Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) as sustainably managed. This certification also ensures that endangered wildlife habitat is protected, worker health and safety laws are kept, and the rights of indigenous communities are respected.
- Rhodia-Clairefontaine reduces its water consumption through advanced recycling of the water used in the production process. The water is returned to the River Meurthe cleaner than when it arrived at the Vosges mill. The water is so clean when it leaves the facility local people can fish, boat and swim downstream within sight of the mill.
- Rhodia-Clairefontaine paper is chlorine-free. A gift of nature, a mineral called calcium carbonate gives Clairefontaine paper its famous trademark qualities of extra white and ultra smooth. Calcium Carbonate also strengthens the bond between pulp fibres, creating beautiful paper which will never 'feather' when using a fountain pen. It also reduces the likelihood of the sheet tearing.
Reduced Energy Use:
- Rhodia-Clairefontaine operates a dual power generation system (electricity and steam) which supplies 80% of their energy needs.
- The waste from the water treatment plant is converted into agricultural compost. This is a first for the paper industry and has obvious positive side-effects for the surrounding community.
- Through a plan for improving sorting at source and recycling/transforming, Rhodia-Clairefontaine has reduced the quality of solid waste produced by the plant by over two thirds. Packaging is designed to produce the least waste (returnable containers, bulk packaging, etc.) Rhodia-Clairefontaine is the first paper mill to use a new technology to recycle formerly non-recyclable by-products.
- Recycled paper is part of the solution to reducing the use of virgin fibers. But not all recycled papers are good for the environment. Too often the amount of energy used, as well as by-products, and chemicals entering the production process are highly toxic and detrimental to the environment.
- Clairefontaine does make various recycled paper products such as Zap Books and this paper stock converts 106kgs of waste destined for landfill into 100kgs of finished paper products.