Paper Reduction and Sourcing

Our Love Affair with Paper

Stack of Office Documents

Recently published statistics suggest that the international paper production industry has a carbon footprint around three times that of the much-criticised aviation industry, yet our love affair with the printed page shows little sign of abating. According to, Europeans use around 4 times the global average annual paper consumption at over 200kg per person, while the Energy Star organisation tells us that ten times as much energy is consumed in the production of a sheet of paper as is used in printing on it.

In a recent Kyocera survey 74% of organisations said that reducing paper use was a priority, yet continually increasing paper consumption indicates that these efforts are not proving successful. So how should an organisation go about reducing paper consumption, and how should it source the paper it does consume?

Tips on Reducing Paper Use

The paperless office has not yet become a reality, but the way we use paper has changed. Before the internet, paper was the primary method of communicating ideas and storing information but now we share and store information digitally documents are often printed simply because it's more comfortable to read them that way. Old habits can be hard to break, but there are some ways of reducing paper consumption even if people prefer hard copy, for example by setting devices to print double sided as default and buying lighter weight paper. There are tips for reducing paper consumption in the Top Ten Tips section of Greenlight.

Efficient Document Design

With an increasing number of documents now delivered as pdf downloads, the onus for printing – assuming it’s necessary - has transferred from the messenger to the recipient. But because pdfs are not usually editable there is little opportunity for the recipient to control the amount of paper and ink used. This can be frustrating and create a bad impression if the recipient feels that his resources are being wasted. We've written a handy guide to help you ensure the pdfs you publish can be printed efficiently. You can download it on the right.

Sourcing Sustainable Paper

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.  Learn more by visiting the FSC website

Scroll to top