Source: Two Sides
The results of a new survey commissioned by Two Sides reveal a telling insight into the public’s perceptions and attitudes towards print and paper.
Carried out by independent research company Toluna, 6 000 consumers from across Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Norway and Sweden and the UK) were surveyed on their environmental concerns and preferences relating to paper.
It is clear from the survey that consumers are concerned for the environment, but there is a large gap between perceptions of key environmental areas and what is indeed fact. This is particularly evident when exploring consumer awareness and understanding of forestry and recycling.
- 60% of consumers believe European forest are shrinking, whereas the fact is that, over a 10 year period European forests have been growing by an equivalent of 1 500 football pitches every day.
- Only a fifth of those surveyed believe the paper recycling rate in Europe exceeds 60%, whereas the true figure is over 72%.
- 75% of European consumers believe it is important to use paper products from sustainably-managed forests. However, when coming to purchase paper products, just 34% of respondents pay attention to forestry certification labels, that products come from a sustainable source. This might be explained by a lack of awareness of two of the major certification schemes, the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).
- 34% of European consumers are aware of FSC
- 27% are aware of PEFC
The survey asked respondents to rank the environmental impact of several common materials and products. Consumers believe wood to have the least environmental impact, closely followed by glass and paper. Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to the significant amount of media coverage on the topic recently, plastic is considered by consumers to have the worst impact on the environment.
A prominent trend the survey uncovered was, that when it came to reading books, magazines and newspapers, print came out on top:
• 69% believe that print is the most enjoyable way to read books
• 61% prefer to read magazines in print
• 54% believe that print is the most enjoyable way to read a newspaper
Further to print being the preferred medium for reading, the push to “switch to digital” by financial organisations and service providers has proved unpopular with many consumers. Overall, 78% believe they have the right to choose how they receive their communications (electronically or printed), and a further 62% agree they should not be charged to receive paper statements.
Two Sides Managing Director, Jonathan Tame, concludes, “It is positive and not too surprising to see that print as a medium for reading and communications still comes out on top with a clear majority agreeing it to be the most enjoyable way to read.
“Overall, the report reveals an interesting insight into how print and paper is viewed by the public. It is positive to see both wood and paper are viewed as low environmental impact materials but the misconceptions around forestry and recycling rates have highlighted the necessity to raise awareness in these areas.
“The prevailing environmental myths about paper reaffirm the vital need for the Two Sides campaign to raise awareness and directly tackle these misconceptions.”