Q3 Paper Outlook — Beaten to a Pulp
Rather than overriding all other concerns, Carli believes the recent accounting scandals that have shaken corporate America actually strengthen the case for action on the sustainability front. "Managing and reporting on their environmental and social performance can help corporations repair trust and reestablish their reputations through positive actions," he asserts.
As a result, knowledge of the issue and expertise in managing the variables in sustainable print sourcing is value printers can sell to clients, Carli says. "The adoption trend will start with the global trans-national corporations," he adds.
In order to back up his observations of a market trend, Carli's firm has undertaken a benchmark study called "The Greening of Print." The stated goal is to survey and forecast trends, attitudes and behaviors driving green procurement and sustainability in the printing, publishing and packaging markets. The study will be based on a survey of more than 1,200 buyers, specifiers and producers of print and is scheduled for release in the fall. (For more information, visit www.greeningofprint.com.)
While there is more to sustainable print than just paper, Carli says that's not a bad place to start given the amounts of fossil fuel and water used in its production. Winning converts will be an uphill battle, though, if the market's reaction to recycled paper is any indication.
"Recycled printing and office papers have been losing market share since 1995, despite the fact that they are higher quality and lower priced than ever before," reports Susan Kinsella, executive director of Conservatree, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization dedicated to converting paper markets to environmental papers. "There are hot spots of interest in chlorine-free, tree-free and sustainably forested papers, but they are still a miniscule part of the market."
To find out why demand is lagging, Conservatree is coordinating a "listening study" funded through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Kinsella says the study will provide a comprehensive "snapshot" of the industry and its markets in order to reveal the basis for the obstacles slowing market development.