Two Sides: the consumer’s environmental perception of paper


Paper is among the materials that are recognized to be most ecological (52.72%), followed soon after by wood (57.98%) and glass (57.01%), yet concern remains on forestry resources, as 80.64% of those interviewed wrongly believe that since 2000 the area of European forests has diminished. This data has emerged from a recent survey carried out by Two Sides  with Toluna  in 14 countries – Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, the US – on topics related to paper and other materials, like wood, glass, metal, textiles, ceramics, plastics and electronic devices. Furthermore, all wood uses are deemed responsible for deforestation, including paper for 63.34% of those interviewed, although paper is not considered to be the main cause for the phenomenon.

Attention to forests is confirmed by the fact that 79.04% of the sample acknowledge the importance of using paper products coming from forests that are managed in a sustainable way and 43.27% check whether packages have a forestry certification label on them. Furthermore, well 45.40% of those interviewed are familiar with the FSC-certified forest label and 43.31% with the Pefc label.

Another aspect emerging from the study refers to the recycling rate, as among other materials paper is acknowledged to be the most recycled one. Despite this, 83.31% of those interviewed underestimates the actual recycled volumes.

The study also shows the inconsistency that consumers consider paper to be far more ecological than digital devices, yet 15.25% alone of the sample believes that reading a newspaper on paper is more environmentally friendly than reading it on a digital support, though reading on paper is deemed to be more enjoyable, with the corresponding data rises to 30.33% when it comes to reading a book.

Massimo Ramunni (Assocarta) illustrated the findings of the survey and underlined that the sustainability of paper as a material is still underestimated, thereby inviting the entire supply chain to work jointly to communicate the strength values of paper, e.g. the sustainable management of forestry and recycling.