Contrary to popular thinking, going paperless does not “save” trees. Quite the opposite.
Going paperless to save trees? Your plan might need some serious rethinking.
“The concept of avoiding use of paper in order to save trees may seem logical and has been adopted by many. The reality, however, is that avoiding use of paper may well result in significant loss of forest land in North America,” notes a white paper by Dovetail Partners.
It might seem counterintuitive but going paperless will not help the forests, and actually will harm them. As we’ve reported before, the paper industry actually preserves, sustains and creates woodlands that might otherwise cease to exist.
“The risk of forest loss in the absence of wood markets is reflected in trends for the world as a whole which show that regions with the highest levels of industrial timber harvest and forest products output also tend to be the regions with the lowest rates of deforestation,” the report notes.
“The reality is that the greatest incentive for continued investment and retention of our nation’s forests is a stable market for paper and other wood products.”
The facts behind these statements led to an FTC crackdown on companies making greenwashing statements, and consumers are increasingly savvy to the misdirection on those claims.
Going paperless will not save the forests; careful stewardship, like that practiced by the paper industry, combined with thoughtful harvesting and recycling, is the key to the sustained health of this great natural resource.
(The full report is well worth a read if you’re interested in the science behind the theory; definitely an eyeopener!)