Paper and Ink are Highly Favored . . . AND Seen as Sustainable

Results of a global survey show that the greenwashing claims are falling flat; consumers know better.

“If a company asked you to stop receiving paper statements like: ‘Go Paperless – Go Green,’ do you believe that your billing company wishes to reduce costs?”

The above question appeared in a global survey attempting to uncover current attitudes about paper usage and its environmental impact, sponsored by The results are quite telling:



“There is consumer cynicism related to ‘go green’ claims used by corporations and governments to promote electronic statements and services over paper-based communications,” writes TwoSides’ Phil Riebel in Printing Impressions. “The majority of respondents (80 to 85%) receiving environmental claims such as, ‘Go Paperless – Go Green’, or ‘Go Paperless – Save trees’ believe companies are seeking to save costs.”

Indeed, quite the reverse attitude it true, with 85-89% of respondents agreeing that responsible use and recycling of printed paper is a sustainable business practice:


This is great news for forests: Thanks in large part to sustainable forestry practices, U.S. forests grew by 5,800 football fields a day from 2007-2012…per day.

It seems the message about corporate greenwashing and digital’s heavy carbon footprint is getting through to consumers, and to companies. More and big brands are backing away from the misleading claims to “go green.”

This is also great news for consumers, the vast majority of who say they prefer print on paper for reading:


Look, we’re not saying there’s no place for digital communication; that’s absurd. But just as absurd are the claims that digital is replacing paper; the paperless office (or home) myth has been busted.

“There is a clear preference for print on paper across all countries and regions, likely indicating a more fundamental and more human way that people react to the physicality of print on paper,” Riebel continues.

“Many prefer paper-based communications to digital options for a variety of reasons including ease of reading, tactile experience, and a lack of internet access. These findings may also be partially explained by neuroscientific studies which have shown that our brains have a much more emotional and meaningful connection when we read on paper versus screens.”

We’ve seen and shared the data on paper and our brains, and it’s compelling. Add to that the growing U.S. forest footprint and a more educated consumer, and print is looking like a smart choice for the future.