Survey shows lack of understanding of paper’s environmental impact

 A significant lack of understanding amongst the general public of the environmental impact of paper was the key finding of a survey of media buyers commissioned by the National Association of Paper Merchants (NAPM). According to the survey, 95% of all respondents, which comprised professional purchasers of communications media, believe that the general public is poorly informed about paper's environmental impact.

Commenting on the survey, Alistair Gough, President of the NAPM said, "Every day we are hit by new environmental claims about the detrimental effects of paper, which are clearly having an impact on us all in the communications industry. This survey has enabled us to reveal the true extent of the misunderstanding of these facts, as well as understand the key issues taken into consideration when professionals purchase their communications media."

Significantly, nearly 60% of respondents still indicated their preference for paper-based communications over the wide ranging digital alternatives. Reasons cited included a longer 'shelf-life', easier to read and digest the information, its portability, the ability to convey the brand and message, as well as the tactile and physical qualities of paper that can't be matched by digital communication.

In addition, 80% of media buyers admitted that environmental considerations played a role in their paper purchasing decisions, while 48% were concerned about paper's effect on the environment.

Other findings from the survey include:
• 27% of respondents believe that paper production is a major cause of deforestation

• 55% felt that recycled paper is better than virgin fibre grades

• 58% didn't know enough about paper's carbon footprint and environmental impact to make informed purchasing decisions.

"The survey clearly reveals a lack of understanding of paper's environmental impact, and yet, with so many purchasing decisions taking the environment into consideration we need to put the record straight," added Alistair Gough. "The NAPM is now taking a stand to tackle this stream of mis-information head on. Our aim is to introduce an industry-wide initiative later this autumn, to dispel these myths and ensure everyone is equipped with the true facts, so they can feel confident about using paper again."

For more information on the NAPM, visit www.napm.org.uk