KPM Blog

Print sustainability

Print sustainability

Print marketing? It’s greener than you think

From recycling and eating more sustainably, to cutting our air miles and using less plastic, conscious consumerism is where it’s at.

As people become increasingly aware of the impact their individual choices have on the environment, conscientious companies are keen to follow suit. It makes sense, and with a stronger spotlight on green business practices, it’s a smart step for those who don’t want to see their custom go elsewhere.

But do we really know how green our choices are?

Go green, save the trees

Not-for-profit organisation Two Sides sets out to explode the myriad myths surrounding print sustainability. For instance, did you know that the European paper industry is a world-leader when it comes to sustainably-sourced raw materials, renewable energy and recycling rates? And that’s not all.

  • 59% of European consumers believe European forests are shrinking. The truth? They’ve been growing by the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches every day
  • Only 13% of the world’s wood harvest is used to make paper
  • At 72.3%, the European paper recycling rate is approaching the practical theoretical maximum recycling rate of 78%
  • The paper and printing sector is one of the lowest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for less than 1% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions
  • 93% of the water used in the European paper industry is returned, having been reused within the mill before being suitably treated

Produced, used and disposed of responsibly, paper is inherently sustainable. But it’s not just about how sustainable paper production is; it’s the lack of awareness when it comes to the carbon footprint left by the digital industry.

The electronic waste problem is colossal, and it’s growing. In 2016 alone, 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste were generated globally, of which 435 thousand tonnes were mobile phones, representing more than the mass of the Empire State Building.”

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018

The ICT industry accounts for around 2.5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions; a figure that’s predicted to rise to 14% by 2040. The manufacturing of digital devices, along with the energy required to power them, leaves a heavy carbon footprint of its own. So when it comes to going green and saving the trees, it’s not all black and white.

Integrated marketing for a brighter future

There’s no denying the reach of digital comms, but while more and more businesses are carving a stronger online presence, print remains a big hit with consumers.

People enjoy reading printed mediums; they often absorb information with greater ease than through digital channels, and feel a higher degree of trust in what they read. Online ads are often seen as a nuisance, while printed adverts are more likely to be acted on. But both can co-exist, and should co-exist for greatest effect.

With a keen eye on climate change, sustainability and the environment, consumers are happier to give their green to a company doing its bit for a better future.

Whether it’s buying Fairtrade, sticking to organic, or shopping second-hand, people want to feel happy in their choices. So promoting the values you share with your customers makes good business sense. For instance, adding some notes at the bottom of your paper-based comms about the sustainable source of your chosen marketing medium helps to evidence that your choices matter to you, too.

Whichever medium you use, there are ways to maximise your green credentials:

  • Use recycled paper from FSC or PEFC certified, sustainably managed forests
  • Print double-sided when possible to reduce any waste
  • Use digital marketing in unison with print (using printed pieces to direct people to online offers can maximise campaign success rates)
  • Adopt print on demand technology, and print corporate and marketing materials as and when required
  • Switch from desktops to laptops, as laptops require less energy – or better still, tablets
  • Encourage car-sharing amongst colleagues, or introduce a cycle-to-work scheme
  • For even less impact from travel, encourage and facilitate home-working
  • Practice green procurement (sourcing goods and services that are produced and supplied in a sustainable fashion, and preferably from local suppliers)
  • Non-recycled E-waste ends up in landfills, incinerated, or exported to developing countries, so if you’re replacing electronics, see if your old kit could be used by schools or charities

Delivering sustainable print solutions for better business

If you’re choosing print marketing, make sure it’s the best. We care about our products – where they come from, and how they end up. That’s why we’ve built a reputation for delivering high-quality print management.

You can rest assured that we hold the 14001 ISO Accreditation for Environmental Management, which ensures that we;

  • enhance our environmental performance
  • fulfil our compliance obligations
  • achieve our environmental objectives

From direct mail that gets noticed to navigating cost-effective postage options, we’ll help your campaigns to make an impact. Get in touch to find out more.

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