According to International Paper, tree farmers and other private landowners plant approximately 4 million trees every day – three to four times more than they harvest – and a new campaign by the organization hopes to highlight how the printing and mailing industry helps to keep these forests safe.
The “Go Paper. Go Trees.” awareness campaign hopes to inform readers about the challenges private landowners face in growing and maintaining healthy forests. As part of the initiative, IP has developed a website – GoPaperGoTrees.com – that features forestry facts and multimedia elements such as Go Paper. Grow Trees. videos.
Furthermore, IP hopes that the project will help provide readers with a perspective on the important role that paper products play in keeping forests healthy and safe.
“Consumers continue to be environmentally conscious in the choices they make, so it’s important they base their decisions on facts. The facts are paper products are a sustainable, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable resource – and using paper products can actually lead to a healthier forest ecosystem and the demand for and growth of more trees,” said Teri Shanahan, IP’s vice president of commercial printing.
Fortunately, marketers are continuing to embrace the sustainable aspects of print, using it for poster and brochure printing and direct mail strategies.
Businesses and organizations are constantly looking for ways to save money, especially on printing and mailing expenses, and eco-friendly printing practices may be the way to go.
In fact, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recently began using a software application, called GreenPrint, that has allowed it to realize approximately $1,200 in savings and 20,000 fewer pages printed in less than a month.
With the program, users will be informed of exactly how much their printing costs in terms of money, trees and greenhouse gasses. Additionally, the program offers a “Print Preview” option that shows users opportunities where they can delete unnecessary pages, images or text.
“It (GreenPrint) is easy to use, but it’s also a little in-your-face,” Diane Blohowiak, coordinator of user support for the university’s computing and information technology division, told the blog. “I think that, for some people, it’s a shock when this application tells them how much printing really costs.”
If businesses are looking for a more professional printing service, they should consider searching out providers that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Going green is increasing on the minds of both businesses and consumers, making it important for printers to offer printing and mailing solutions that are eco-friendly and cost-efficient.
At the recent Executive Sustainability Summit at Arizona State University, sustainable printing was a key topic, prompting Angele Boyd, a group vice president and general manager with IDC, to share research on how companies and workers approach printing.
She identified two top concerns among employees: depletion of natural resources and the potential environmental harm caused by printer inks and toners. In fact, Boyd said that a recent survey from IDC found 61 percent of employees say that the environment is an important consideration when they go to print.
“If someone wants a physical copy of something, we clearly should make the printing as low impact as possible. Paper and printing do have a significant environmental footprint in energy use, water, toxic chemicals and waste. The less paper and ink used, the better for both the environment and the bottom line,” the statement said.
For businesses looking to improve their printing practices, they should consider using 100 percent post-consumer waste paper or vegetable-based or soy inks, Tech Soup writes.
Several major companies came out on top in an efforts to reduce their impact on the environment via their printing and mailing campaigns. The ForestEthics 2011 Green Grades Report Card ranked 12 Fortune 500 companies, gauging their green printing initiatives, and determined that firms including Sprint and AT&T's efforts were most noteworthy.
Green Grades examines companies' paper sustainability efforts, including their use of post-consumer recycled content, their reduction in paper consumption and their avoidance of Sustainable Forestry Initiative greenwash.
Sprint was the leader, according to Green Grades, avoiding paper from endangered forests and aiming to reduce the weight of the paper it purchases by 30 percent over the next year. AT&T also made strides, aiming to give preference to those products manufactured by the Forest Stewardship Council.
"As some of the world's largest paper consumers, these companies are part of forest destruction in many regions. The good news is that ForestEthics has persuaded several of them to use their influence and buying power to help protect forests," said Mark Schofield of ForestEthics.
While direct mail marketing has often been criticized for its impact on the environment, a company can take strides towards sustainability by linking up with green printing initiatives.
Green printing and marketing, including printing and mailing initiatives, have become an even more important business component, as consumer demand for sustainable practices rises.
Now, software giant Microsoft has announced that it plans to switch to 100-percent recycled paper at its headquarters in Washington, hopefully inspiring other businesses to reconsider the types of paper they are employing for daily printing jobs as well as the choices they make with professional printing service providers.
Microsoft will be working with Grays Harbor Paper to make the switch, which it estimates may result in savings of 750 million pounds of carbon dioxide and will preserve approximately 8,000 trees per year.
"Although we have always encouraged our employees to use paper resources efficiently and limit waste, this alliance enables us to conserve resources and reduce waste at a larger, corporate scale while at the same time allowing us to invest in our local economy," said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist for Microsoft.
The company is investing in green strategies right in line with recent trends. In fact, a survey from Global Industry Analysts estimates that the "global green marketing market" will be worth $3.5 trillion by 2017.