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Focus On

Green Paper

When it comes to the environment, we are starting to wake up. But how are companies responding to an increase in demand for sustainable products? Carys Evans finds out

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More consumers are looking to companies to provide sustainable alternatives

Answering a cry for change

It is no secret that we are living in a world of ever-developing digital products and a reduction in the use of traditional printed products such as magazines, academic literature, and old-school paper bank statements – all of which run the risk of having to make way for e-readers and online banking and give in to a time where there literally is an app alternative for anything.

However, amidst a rise in technology, the print industry is working hard to tackle another challenge – environmental impact. Split into two strands, the industry is both working to combat misconceptions around the sustainability of paper and meet the growing demands of consumers looking for environmentally friendly paper products.

Banishing misconceptions

Research conducted by polling company, Toluna, found that despite 69% of consumers saying that they prefer paper receipts over digital alternatives, over half of consumers believe digital receipts to be better for the environment.

Backed with this information, a global campaign called Choose Paper was launched to raise awareness of the sustainable features of paper receipts.

According to the campaign, total emissions generated by worldwide emails is estimated to be 300 million tonnes of CO2 each year – the equivalent to the annual emissions of 63 million cars.

Greg Selfe, spokesperson for Choose Paper explains how the environmental performance of paper manufacturers has improved “significantly” in the past several decades, including considerable investment into sustainable forestry practices.

Selfe says: “Sustainably managed forests breathe for the Earth, absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and producing the oxygen we require in return. By storing that carbon, forests help to regulate the global climate, absorbing nearly 40% of the fossil-fuel emissions produced by humans.”

Sustainably managed forests breathe for the Earth, absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and producing the oxygen we require in return

Referring to the rise of paperless alternatives, Selfe says: “In considering a move to digital alternatives to paper receipts, consumers and retailers need to bear in mind that this option is not free of environmental impacts. Server farms and data centres require vast amounts of energy to operate, with many using fossil fuels as their source.

“As technology progresses, the demand on these data centres increases and so does the carbon footprint. In fact, the share of digital technology in global GHG emissions could reach 8% by 2025, i.e. the current share of car emissions. This is roughly eight times the current share of the pulp, paper and print industries.”

On a similar note, Two Sides has re-launched its ‘Love Paper’ campaign as part of its global mission to tackle a lack of education around the sustainability of print, paper and paper packaging.

Research conducted by the not for profit organisation found that 63% of European consumers falsely believe that European forests are shrinking when in fact they are growing by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches each day.

European forests are growing by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches each day

Like with the paperless argument, research by Two Sides has also found that only a fifth of consumers are aware of paper and packaging’s high recycling rate of 72%. To combat these beliefs, the campaign aims to correct what the organisation describes as a “significant underestimation”.

That being said, Two Sides has noted that attitudes are beginning to change. Selfe, who is also country manager for Two Sides UK, comments: “Although there is still a long way to go, it’s fantastic to see perceptions of paper continue to improve. We are confident the Love Paper campaign has played a significant part in this.

“Since its origin, the Love Paper campaign has reached tens of millions of consumers in the UK alone. This has been thanks to the support of newspaper and magazine publishers donating millions of pounds of advertising space.”

Get creative

Italian paper manufacturer, Fedrigoni, pays close attention to the impact its production processes have on the environment and the ecosystem. To ensure the impact is minimised, the firm uses hemp and cotton which have no impact on forest heritage. It also supports sustainable forestry management by using 100% of Forest Stewardship Council pulp.

Ensuring that the day-to-day running of the company sits in line with these values, Fedrigoni produces the energy that it consumes through co-generation. To do this, the firm combines the generation of electricity and heat in a single plant resulting in less waste and less energy consumption.

In terms of its water use, Fedrigoni is also committed to reducing this. In 2002, 52 litres of water was needed to produce 1kg of paper; fast-forward 12 years and in 2015, the firm only used 29 litres.

In continuing to optimise its processes, while paper production has increased by 69%, the manufacturer’s waste production has decreased by 29%.

O Factoid: Research conducted by polling company, Toluna, found that 69% of consumers prefer paper receipts to digital alternatives O

Berenberg Equities Highlights magazine is published three times a year by creative agency, c-ll-ct-v-ly, and features a mix of trend-led articles and company analysis. Each issue is curated into a “coherent visual aesthetic” which revolves around a single, core theme. For the 25th edition of the magazine, the theme focused on the increase in environmental, social and corporate governance-based investment as well as an in-depth analysis of carbon trading. 

In line with this theme, the team decided to produce a sustainable and carbon-neutral magazine and called in the help of Fedrigoni to do this. Drawn in by the manufacturer’s range of papers, both coated and uncoated, the publication says it knew the firm would deliver on the variety and quality it required.

Ellie Rose, of c-ll-ct-v-ly, explains: “Throughout the magazine, we used Fedrigoni papers including 80% recycled Woodstock, 50% recycled Oikos, X-per and Splendorgel, each serving a different purpose for the magazine. We wanted to create an obvious break in the centre of the magazine, keeping the artwork monochromatic and using silver as a base – X-per in its lovely new shade of white provided a great solution and the inky artwork by JMG studios looked excellent.

“One of the great privileges of this magazine is the freedom to experiment with unusual papers and finishes. For this issue, we wanted to create a textural and tactile cover. Something that appeared simple at first glance, but then revealed further complexity through touch and focus. We designed the leaf pattern, expertly crafted by Russell Bell and then made into a deboss die.”

Rose goes onto explain how after the team ran tests on a range of different papers, it was Woodstock that stood out as the best option. “We also experimented with blending Pantone 351 with a fluorescent Pantone to achieve a vivid green blended colour,” she adds.

In keeping with the environmental theme, both X-per and Splendorgel papers are FSC certified and the entire project was carbon balanced using the carbon balanced paper initiative which is available on all Fedrigoni papers.
Fedrigoni is celebrating the launch of its new range of FSC and environmentally friendly paper called Arena.

Look to make changes

As the UK’s sole manufacturer of recycled paper honeycomb made by converting paper into paper products, Dufaylite says the pressure to find sustainable alternatives is everywhere. Ashley Moscrop, managing director of the firm explains that this is why sustainability is at the forefront of everything Dufaylite does.

Moscrop elabourates: “Dufaylite provides its customers with environmentally friendly substrates to replace existing substrates such as Foam Board, Rigid PVC, MDF. This allows our customers to deliver solutions that are made from recycled materials and fully recyclable via traditional cardboard recycling schemes, to their own customers.
“Due to the unique honeycomb structure, we are also able to deliver various thickness and strengths within our product offering that use less paper compared to alternatives. The strength of the honeycomb allows us to deliver this with reduced paper content compared to corrugated centred alternatives.”

Dufaylite converts paper into 100% recyclable paper products which are used widely in the print and sign industries

In addition to Dufaylite’s Ultra Board honeycomb solution, its Envirolite and Clayboard products also act as a sustainable void filler alternative in the construction industry.

Despite manufacturing a 100% recyclable, robust and versatile paper product, the St Neots-based firm experiences pressure to reduce its use of plastics and polystyrene.

Dufaylite has experienced pressure to eradicate its use of plastics

Selfe also predicts the recent uproar from the younger generation regarding the future of our planet will be a driving force for the success of sustainable products moving forward. He says: “Consumer demand to eradicate the use of plastics, specifically single-use plastics is a definite driving force. There is also a greater understanding of our need to reduce our environmental impact on the planet to leave it in better condition for the next generation.

“Lots of young children are being taught about environmental issues at school so they are educated from a young age, for the future. Recent news stories have shown how seriously this generation is taking the issue already and this will only further support the use of more sustainable products across the board in everyday life.”

400 years of sustainability

Part of the Holmen Group, Holmen Paper is a 400-year-old Swedish forestry company with 1.3 million hectares of forest. The company uses this vast space to produce sustainable construction material and joinery products.

Daniel Barrett, commercial director of Holmen Paper describes how the narrower part of the tree and wood from thinning is used to make 1.1 million tonnes of Holmen Paper each year, and 525 tonnes of board at Iggesund each year. Ensuring sustainable practice carries across the entire production and manufacture process, the remaining branches, bark and sawdust is then used to produce renewable energy. By 2020, the company aims to use 50% of its own produced electricity.

Holmen Paper produces uncoated wood containing papers for the graphical printing industry, for books, magazines, catalogues and direct mail from 38-80gsm in bulks of 1.1 to 2.3, as well as offering sustainable packaging solutions with food contact certification.

Reflecting on the company’s environmental efforts, Barrett comments: “Perhaps the most important fact is that Holmen is a carbon positive business. Our operations contribute major climate benefits by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by just over 2.9 million tonnes, while also contributing renewable forest raw material, climate smart products and green energy. The volume of standing timber in Holmen’s forest is increasing by 1% a year and our forest volume has doubled since the 1940’s.”

Despite long-standing concerns over the sustainability of paper and its connotations with deforestation, and its alleged negative impact on the environment, Barrett explains how the company’s operations in fact work to combat this.

He says: “For every tree we harvest we plant 2 to 3 seedlings; in fact we plant over 30 million seedlings each year by hand from our own nurseries. We also ship all our products into the UK on our own fully chartered vessels to reduce carbon emissions.”

With growing awareness of climate change and our part to play in this, a concern of businesses looking to make changes can also be about added costs that could come with this. For Holmen Paper, this is not a problem and it can in fact save its customers money too. Barrett explains: “Our green bulky products also bring cost savings allowing our customers to reduce grammage without losing the thickness of their products or alternatively giving the opportunity to print more copies to reach a wider audience.”

So, despite concerns over deforestation and negative views towards paper, organisations and companies serving the paper and packaging markets, are working hard to combat these views as well as looking within to ensure their own operations are run as sustainably as possible.

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