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“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.”
- Joyce Kilmer
In today’s environmentally conscious world where communication professionals are making decisions for themselves and their clients on how to reduce their carbon footprint - it is more important than ever to base decisions on facts and not the popular rhetoric of the day.
We all know the value of print. It drives business to stores, to your website, showcases your products and drives sales. But in a world where we are bombarded with electronic devices and media, the question is – “with all of the misconceptions out there, how can you help your company and clients make communication decisions that contribute to the environment?”
The following statistics delves into the misconceptions that if companies stop using print they will save trees and the impact this decision can have on the environment. So, the next time someone ask “if they are sacrificing a tree when they print?” you can give them the facts – “that using paper is as lovely as planting a tree”.
SEE THE FOREST AND THE TREES
Have you heard someone suggest that by using less paper you can “save a tree”? The fact is that when the demand for paper declines, tree farming also declines, taking all of the important ecological impacts like clean water and wildlife habitat along with it. The reality is that decreasing paper use may well cause a forest somewhere to be replaced by development. The future of our forests depends on slowing the conversion of these precious resources by managing sustainably to ensure their economic, social and environmental health benefits generations to come. That means we’ve got to provide not only the financial incentive but also the education and tools for responsible forest management.
There are strong penalties for knowingly sourcing illegal timber. Fact - One of the most important advancements in the fight against illegal logging in the world’s forests is the LACEY ACT passed by Congress in 2008. With this act the U.S. became the first country to ban the import, sale or trade of illegally harvested wood and wood products.
ARE WE MAKING TREES WORTH MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE?
SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Certification - out of concern for the responsible management of the world’s forests, third party certification groups have emerged to help ensure that forests are responsibly managed. Today, virgin fiber (pulp) is produced in accordance with a variety of these certifications.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Printers and mills enlist the services of a third party auditing organization like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and PEFC to have their practices around the purchase and/or sale of wood fiber reviewed against criteria established for certification. Once it is established that a company’s practices do not contribute to the use or destruction of old growth or rainforest timber, loss of habitat, or the displacement of indigenous people - they will certify a company (Vision Graphics is proud to be certified).
IT’S NOT “CAN WE SAVE A TREE?”
IT’S “CAN WE SAVE A FOREST?”
Saving trees requires thinking about them in the context of woodlands and forests. Like the tree farmers, forest product companies exist because of the perpetual growing, harvesting and replanting of trees. Their financial future requires continual renewal of the forest. With no economic incentive, tree farmers are finding it more profitable to sell their land to developers.
HOW GREEN IS DIGITAL MEDIA?
“Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.” This seemingly well-intentioned plea suggest that digital communication is greener than paper. But is it? If the goal is to save trees or the environment, the choice to go paperless is not as green or as simple as some would like us to believe.
While electronic statements may save companies money and reduce the workforce, the energy used to digitally post, host, archive, view and transfer these cumulative billions of electronic statements is currently more than 90 percent powered by fossil fuels, and specifically coal. Mountain top removal coal mining has, according to the EPA, deforested seven percent of the Appalachian Mountain Range - sending out electronic statements does NOT save a tree!
As much as we love our electronic devices, they don’t grow on trees or anywhere else. They are much more complex and expensive to recycle, recover and reuse due to the toxic nature of many of the components.
Source: International Paper; Greenbiz.