Myths seem to weave their way into almost every aspect of our lives, from the notion that sitting too close to the TV will give you square eyes to the belief that chewing gum takes seven years to digest. Paper is also not immune to these misconceptions.
Enter Two-Side UK, a dedicated not-for-profit global initiative striving to correct these misunderstandings and champion the sustainable attributes of print, paper, and paper-based packaging. They have recently launched the results of their ‘2023 Trend Tracker’ survey, which brings with it a wealth of interesting facts and statistics about the paper industry.
Our partnership with Two-Sides has allowed us to join forces on this blog, using their recent survey results to unravel the most prevalent myths surrounding paper.
1. Forests are shrinking: This might be the biggest misconception surrounding the paper industry. Over 85% of consumers think, in some capacity, that forests are shrinking because of the paper industry. However, between 2005 and 2020, European forests grew by 58,390km. That’s a larger surface area than Switzerland!
2. It’s bad for the environment: It’s not uncommon for people to assume that paper communications are read and then immediately thrown away, contributing towards waste. However paper is one of the most recycled resources we have, with the paper recycling rate in Europe the highest in the world at 71%.
3. Communicating via paper is outdated: Many believe that paper communications are a thing of the past. But traditional paper-based communication methods continue to hold their place, even in the age of digital dominance. For example, 76% of people want the right to choose how they receive bills or statements, proving that paper communications are still relevant and utilised in the channel mix.
4. People prefer going online: It’s assumed that the preferred way for people to receive information from businesses is digitally, however, 32% of people believe they suffer from digital overload and a further 49% of people agree they spend too much time on devices. Paper-based communications offer users a welcome respite from screens, providing an opportunity for a much-needed digital detox.
5. People don’t respond to print: Digital adverts are everywhere you go – from TVs to billboards and even on mobile phone devices, so it’s assumed that this is the medium that generates higher response rates. However, 31% of people are more likely to act when receiving an advertisement in the post, as opposed to seeing it online.
6. Digital communications are more environmentally friendly: Many individuals believe that paper-based communications have an increased environmental footprint compared to digital. In Europe, the paper sector is one of the lowest industrial gas emitters at just 0.8%, compared to 5-9% for the ICT industry.
7. It's not sustainable: While the myth that paper isn’t sustainable still exists, organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) actively work to correct this. The FSC are a not-for-profit organisation that promotes responsible management of the world's forests. They aim to ensure raw materials are sourced from sustainable forests and utilised by businesses across the world.
Navigating the landscape of sustainable communication providers can often feel like a daunting task. In an era where environmental consciousness is on the rise, recognising genuine sustainability from greenwashing has become increasingly challenging. To help you make an informed decision, here are some crucial factors to consider when evaluating potential suppliers who truly prioritise sustainability:
Environmental-based accreditations: Look out for accreditations such as ISO 14001:2015 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, that recognises a fully integrated and effective Environmental Management System. An EMS is designed to streamline operations, allocate time and resources more effectively, reduce waste, reduce risk and increase overall efficiency across manufacturing sites.
Partner with ethical organisations: Businesses that collaborate with ethical organisations, particularly those engaged in environmentally-focused initiatives, are more likely to demonstrate genuine commitment to sustainability.
Use sustainably sourced paper: Opt for companies that prioritise utilising paper that’s FSC approved and/or recycled. This demonstrates their pledge to reduce their impact on the environment.
These are just some of the initiatives that we work by here at CFH, why not find out more about what we do to reduce its impact on the planet here?