For many years the arguments have gone back and forth over the environmental impact of print. In the early days print suffered from bad press, borne mainly from insufficient research and lack of hard facts. Today, many millions of pounds are invested in providing buyers and consumers of print with verifiable facts and an informed view of how paper and its uses impact on our environment.
The truth is that print is largely produced using sustainable materials, being predominantly paper-based, with three to four trees replanted for every tree logged in managed forests. Printing companies are at the forefront of improvements in environmental performance in manufacturing, with high levels of take-up for both the ISO 14001environmental management standard and for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) chain of custody accreditations.
Print is absolutely sustainable, and companies can be clear and confident on the role it plays in their corporate social responsibility programme, their own commitment to reducing environmental impact, and of course legal compliance.
Print – it’s a 3 stage journey
Print can be split into three stages: paper, printing and consumption. For each point along this journey, there are a large number of processes, assessment and safeguards that significantly reduce the environmental impact of print.
It’s easy to assume that the world demand for paper means that European forests are shrinking. In fact the opposite is true. FACT European forests have been growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day.
Forests used in the paper-making industry are also well managed and sustainable, with certification schemes such as FSC and PEFC in place to ensure that paper comes from sustainable forest sources.
Printing processes are constantly becoming more environmentally friendly as materials and processes are continually being refined to reduce impact. ISO 14001 accredited printers are required to make a commitment to strive to reduce their carbon footprint across the entire company. This is done through the use of vegetable-based inks, recycling cleaning solvents and waste, sourcing paper from sustainable and well-managed forests and offsetting any remaining carbon emissions.
Paper is one of the world’s most recycled materials – far more than plastic or glass – and is one of the few materials that’s able to be completely recycled. FACT The European recycling rate for paper is the highest in the world currently at 72%.
There is understandably a consumer concern about the waste of paper, but studies are emerging about the environmental impact of digital media compared to print. A report by the Swedish Royal Institute for Technology states that: FACT Reading a newspaper can consume 20% less carbon than viewing the news online.
Print in marketing communications
Print is still a hugely powerful way to communicate with consumers, and no amount of high-tech digital communication will come anywhere near the visual and tactile experience that print delivers. Consider how different textures and weights of stock can improve your brand communication, not to mention the myriad of special finishes that can be used to further enhance a piece of printed material. It’s not just about the feel; your brand, product or message can now appeal to the sense of smell. Take the power of print one step further by taking the consumer experience to giddy heights by adding fragrance to the printed item.
We know of a top-end retailer of luxury bedding who has the fragrance of freshly washed linen embedded into the pages of its brochure – which incidentally also included a number of textural finishes – making it simply one of the most evocative and emotive brochures we’ve ever seen. We are sure that coffee makers and retailers will be quick to exploit this sensory experience by embedding the smell of coffee beans into loyalty cards.
So, GO WILD. Don’t just limit your print to sight and touch, add the sense of smell and you could double the WOW factor. We will be happy to discuss the multitude of different finishes that can enhance your creative marketing material. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring her on 01827 261261 or Jeff Bryant email@example.com