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Effects of the Green Movement on the Printing Paper Market


The green movement has and will continue to affect the market for printing papers in several ways. First of all, improved environmental stewardship will most likely lead to a reduction in print volumes by eliminating “waste” by not printing e-mails, increasing duplex rates, adopting “do not mail” legislation, and other measures. These efforts are expected to have a major impact on how marketers, advertisers, and print buyers disseminate information to their customers. In fact, digital print media may be perfectly suited toward the green movement and may drive the transition from analog. Shorter runs combined with custom, personalized messages deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time. Digital processes do away with the “spray and pray” approach to marketing, and the resulting source reduction helps the environment by eliminating unwanted and ineffective print pieces.

Recycling has been a prominent feature of the print and paper industry in the United States and Europe for the past 30 years, and it is still important today. The AF&PA, for instance, recently announced that 56% of all paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling in 2007. It has stated a recovery goal of 60% for 2012. While recovery rates in packaging grades and newsprint are impressive, many NGOs are pushing for improved collection rates of business and office papers that would be suitable for printing and writing grades.

Higher recovery goals, while laudable, raise extremely complex questions on incentives, policy options, collection systems, messaging, and investments in deinking capacity. One thing, however, is clear: there is currently not enough high-quality recovered paper collected to meet current and expected future demand for printing and office papers with ever-rising levels of post-consumer content. This will most likely result in rising prices of ledger and sorted office recycling grades and premiums for printing papers that possess high quantities of post-consumer content, at least in the short term. In addition, if China and India start purchasing higher quantities of these grades, there will be even more pressure on recovered paper supplies in the longer term.

Forest certification is another more recent aspect of the green movement. Forest certification involves a complex “accounting” of wood fiber resources used in the manufacturing of paper products. Increasingly, these systems involve chain-of-custody mechanisms that are able to trace the wood fiber back to the forest source it was harvested from. Forest certification schemes such as the SFI® program, FSC, and PEFC assure the buyer that the papers they are using came from a sustainable source and were manufactured in accordance with green principles that extend to the harvesting techniques used, re-planting, use of riparian zones, adherence to water and air guidelines, respect for indigenous peoples, and set-asides for recreation and biodiversity, among other considerations.

The preceding is an excerpt from a report entitled Demand Drivers for Printing Paper. To learn more about this report, visit our online store or contact Scott Phinney ext. 123 or via e-mail at .

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