Treetop Develops Procurement Solution for Environmental Assessment of Paper Products

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Treetop Tech works with leading companies to develop a web based tool to evaluate the environmental performance of paper products.

Treetop Tech today announced the development of a business procurement tool to evaluate the environmental performance of paper products. Treetop has worked to develop the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT in conjunction with the non-profit organization Metafore and the Paper Working Group (PWG).

Publicly unveiled at the Forest Leadership Forum in Portland, Oregon on May 3-6, 2006 and planned for general release in late summer 2006, Treetop Tech has led an extensive beta testing program of the EPAT for the past 6 months with participants of the PWG, a group of major corporate paper purchasers brought together by Metafore, an Oregon-based non-profit organization. The PWG participants include: Bank of America, Cenveo, Hewlett-Packard Company, FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services, McDonald's Corporation, Nike, Inc., Norm Thompson Outfitters, Staples, Inc., Starbucks Coffee Company, Time Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. The goal is to increase the supply and affordability of environmentally preferable paper.

“This innovative web-based tool establishes for the first time consistent language and metrics for companies to evaluate the environmental footprint of paper-based products they buy,” said Metafore President and CEO David Ford. “The process of developing this tool is as unique as the tool itself. Leadership companies from many market sectors are collaborating to achieve common social and environmental results.”

Other groups providing input and feedback for the EPAT’s development include environmental organizations and groups of paper-industry representatives. Based on this collaboration, the PWG has developed indicators as the core of the EPAT. While every paper purchaser will have its own special requirements, the EPAT will create some standard guidelines to aid suppliers. More details and a preliminary draft of the EPAT indicators can be found at http://www.metafore.org.

”The EPAT project has been a very interesting and rewarding project for our Treetop web applications development team,” states Treetop Tech’s President Kriss Kirchhoff. “Not only has it enabled us to showcase our capabilities to build a leading-edge procurement portal using some of the industry’s newest technologies under an Agile development methodology, it has also enabled us to participate in the delivery of a solution that will have a significant impact on the ecology of our forests for years to come.”

For the past two years Treetop Tech has been working with Metafore on this project. Following an agile development methodology to keep pace with the input from Metafore and the PWG, the Treetop development team utilized a web-based technology stack. “Our team chose ASP.NET, C#, SQLServer 2000 and the Microsoft Enterprise Library to build EPAT,” stated Jason Grundy, Treetop Tech’s’ project lead. “In addition, in order to employ an agile Test-Driven Development approach, we utilized some of the more advanced development technologies on the market, including NAnt, NUnit, NMock, NCover and continuous integration using CruiseControl.NET.

“The EPAT is an excellent example of the type of complex portal application development project that our Treetop team has been quietly and efficiently building for many years in the Northwest U.S. market,” states Charles Skamser, Treetop Tech’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “From conception to design to development to deployment, you can’t find a better team anywhere that can respond as quickly and ensure that your solutions will meet the needs of your agile business environments. Using the EPAT as a foundation, we plan to expand our presence as the IT Services firm of choice in the environmental market.”

More about Treetop Tech: Founded in 1997 in Boise, Idaho, Treetop Tech has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing IT Services companies in the U.S. Specializing in the design, delivery and support of complex software solutions for dynamic business environments, Treetop provides IT strategy, system design and architecture, custom development, packaged software integration, business intelligence, collaboration, help desk design and implementation and staff augmentation utilizing Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) under an Agile Development Methodology. The company’s list of clients includes several divisions of HP, Weyerhaeuser, Perot Systems, The Idaho Department of Transportation, Idaho National Labs, The Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor and PERSI. Its home page is http://www.treetoptech.com.

More About Metafore: Founded in 1997, Metafore (http://www.metafore.org) is a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works with businesses to align their practices with environmental and social results. Our vision is of a future where business practices—by their very nature—are in alignment with social and environmental interests. For us, this is not about trade-offs or about balancing financial, environmental and social objectives over the short term. This vision speaks to an evolution of business practices over time based on a gradual alignment of values and objectives. To inquire about Metafore’s mission, vision and suite of projects and services, contact us at 503.224.2205

More about The Paper Working Group: The Paper Working Group is collaboration between 11 leading companies and Metafore to make environmentally preferable paper products more widely available and affordable. The Paper Working Group defines environmentally preferable paper in terms of the following inter-related desired outcomes: (1) Efficient use and conservation of raw materials; (2) Minimization of waste; (3) Conservation of natural systems; (4) Clean production; (5) Community and human well-being; (6) Economic viability of environmentally preferable paper, and; (7) Credible reporting and verification. Having defined environmentally preferable paper, the Paper Working Group is now developing a tool to evaluate the environmental performance of paper products. The Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT) establishes consistent language and metrics for environmentally preferable paper and facilitates communication between the buyers and suppliers of paper products. Participants in the Paper Working Group include: Bank of America, Cenveo, Hewlett-Packard Company, FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services, McDonald's Corporation, Nike, Inc., Norm Thompson Outfitters, Staples, Inc., Starbucks Coffee Company, Time Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. For more information on this project, visit http://www.metafore.org/pwg or contact Thomas Pollock at 503.224.2205.

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Charles Skamser