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Print sustainability awareness concerns raised

Jonathon Porritt says the sustainable qualities and attributes of print are still not being recognised by consumers

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CarbonCO says its carbon balanced print and paper programme is also now used by over 5,000 brands

Climate campaigner Jonathon Porritt has raised concerns over a lack of awareness of the sustainable qualities of print and paper, calling on the industry to continue to champion its planet friendly qualities.

Speaking at the Carbon Balanced Paper 2024 Partner’s Meeting, Porritt joined experts from Carbon Balanced Print and Paper programme and World Land Trust for a discussion on the current situation.

Porritt hit out and what he says was the “worst year ever” in terms of manifestations of the climate crisis, highlighting how climate records being broken on an almost daily basis and the need to address this.

However, he took the opportunity to praise the work being done within the print industry and for companies wanting to become more sustainable, saying this should be recognised by consumers - if they can change their preconceived conceptions of the sector.

Porritt finished with a plea to the paper and print sector to continue its sustainable journey to the point where it cuts out all use of fossil fuels. He says: “The real test is how soon the paper industry can get rid of every last burn of gas that’s being used today.”

Paul Opie, partnership director of CarbonCO, also praised the work of the industry, picking out some recent efforts of note.

“The carbon balanced print and paper programme is also now used by over 5,000 brands,” Opie says, adding: “We have added 21 new printers around the UK. During the course of 2023, another 86,000 tonnes of paper have been balanced, which is the equivalent of 3,500 lorry loads.” 

As for the World Land Trust, Emma Douglas, director of development, says the organisation is currently protecting over 71,000 hectares of land around the world. This, she says, brings the total amount of land saved since the charity’s foundation over 30 years ago to over one million hectares.

“The result of protecting all this land is the preservation of an enormous array of biodiversity,” Douglas, says, adding. “Over 11,000 animal and plant species have been recorded in our reserves, but nearly 600 of those are threatened according to the IUCN criteria. To put that into perspective, the area we protect equates to just 0.016% of the land on our planet.”

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