Green Printing - The New Bottom Line
The scarcity of these resources is expected to increase as demand for paper grows by an expected 50% by the year 2010. Consumer, investor and stakeholder pressure for corporate environmental responsibility is also mounting.
There are implications for publishers. Now is the time for publishers to use their awesome power and influence to help create a sustainable future for printed books and book printing substrates.
One strategy is to use current resources more wisely. Global consumption of wood fiber for papermaking can be cut by more than 50% through a combination of reduced paper consumption in industrial countries, improving papermaking efficiency, and expanding use of recycled and non-wood fibers, according to a study from the Worldwatch Institute.
Another approach: use renewable bio-polymer substrates, as described in the recent book Cradle to Cradle (William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
A paragraph from the book: "The tree, among the finest of nature's creations, plays a crucial and multifaceted role in our interdependent ecosystem. As such, it has been an important model and metaphor for our thinking … but also, as such, it is not a fitting resource to use in producing so humble and transient a substance as paper. The use of alternative material expresses our intention to evolve away from the use of wood fibers for paper as we seek more effective solutions. It represents one step toward a radically different approach to designing and producing the objects we use and enjoy, an emerging movement we see as the next industrial revolution."
Market and regulatory forces are likely to make managing and reporting the environmental costs associated with printing substrates as important to purchasing decisions as price is today.
Environmental groups and institutional investors are two market forces gaining considerable influence. Markets Initiative, a Canadian environmental group, has been catalyzing change in the paper purchasing decisions of the Canadian book publishing market.