Along with competing media platforms and the economy, the graphic arts community is faced with another critical issue; the public perception that the use of paper (vs. digital) is bad for the environment. Paper companies and allied advocacy groups are fighting back, employing a range of tactics to...
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Along with competing media platforms and the economy, the graphic arts community is faced with another critical issue; the public perception that the use of paper (vs. digital) is bad for the environment.
Paper companies and allied advocacy groups are fighting back, employing a range of tactics to dispel the myth.
Paper Makers Promote Sustainability
“Helping media buyers gain a better understanding of why, when, and how print and paper is both a relevant and sustainable communications medium is a primary goal of Mohawk's communications initiatives,” says Jane Monast, director of communication, Mohawk. “’Print’ is not always the right medium for every communication; but when it is, it affords a unique engagement not possible otherwise.”
Mohawk looks to educate media buyers in three areas: impact tools for media buyers, timely information and support for purchase influencers, and the sharing of best practices through its own communication and promotion initiatives outreach. Mohawk is also a supporter of Two Sides.
Education, says Monast, is the centerpiece of each of these communications endeavors.
Impact tools: Mohawks’ Environmental calculator has become an essential tool for companies that want to understand the impact of their choices quickly and easily, says Monast. Often, its sales reps will go online with media buyers to demonstrate how to use the tool or to help them. Mohawk also provides artwork and the ability for any of its customers to use the content derived from the calculations to demonstrate their environmental prowess.
For printers: “Because they are on the front lines, day in and day out, advising customers and educating them for the entire industry, we believe printers—from sales reps to customer service—are pivotal to helping media buyers understand the environmental impacts of their choices,” notes Monast. “ Through Mohawk MakeReady, dedicated to printers, we provide a steady stream of actionable information for printers to use themselves or share with their customers.”
Among the tools which are most popular among the print community: Your Guide to Green, Videos that help to educate sales teams and end users on how to use Mohawk’s proprietary tools, even slide presentations that printers may customize for their own end-user calls and presentations by adding their own logos.
Best practices. “We think before we make, and everything we ‘make’ is a story in itself. Mohawk’s new swatchbook system is a compact library of specification tools that represent what the buyer needs at the time they make a decision,” explains Monast. “This streamlined system reduces material consumption by 60 percent as well as the according freight costs. Today, we choose to use FSC certified paper wherever possible—each use of FSC publicizes the use of pulp from responsibly managed forests—our corporate advisors encourage buyers to do the same. Last, but not least, we share customer stories that demonstrate how the versatility of print and paper can be combined with other media, such as apps, to tell a much richer story, through our news blogs and designer hub, Felt & Wire.”
Similarly, paper company Domtar Corporation has taken a leadership role in promoting print as well as looking to answer some of the negative feedback regarding paper’s environmentally friendliness—or reported lack of.
Its program PAPERbecause, launched in September, 2010 with print ads in major North American consumer and trade newspapers and magazines, as well as online banner ads and videos, continues to move full steam ahead. It extended that program in January, with print ads appearing in leading B2B paper, graphic design, and graphic arts magazines and prominent consumer publications such as Fast Company, National Geographic, and The New York Times, along with banner ads and video appearing online.