An international survey with over 7,000 recipients was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by international research company Toluna in June 2016. The survey was also undertaken internationally in: Australia, Brazil, Europe - Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom. This report details responses from Australian consumers, and consumer preferences for a survey sample of 532, providing insight into their perception of the environmental impacts of paper and print. It asks respondents to consider why companies are encouraging a switch to electronic communications and reveals that consumers want the choice to be able to continue receiving printed information. Findings also suggest that consumers are mistrustful of misleading environmental marketing statements made by companies and understand that this is often a cover for cost saving.

It is not evident that younger age demographics connection with paper is significantly different to older groups. Whilst acceptance of digital media is stronger amongst younger ages, a preference for print on paper still exists for all ages.

This report goes on to examine views regarding the impact of paper on forests, with findings indicating that despite Australian forests growing in size by 308,000 hectares in the last five (5) years and the leading cause of tropical deforestation being conversion to agricultural lands, consumers are concerned about the effect on forests by the production of paper and print. Educating consumers on practices within the paper industry is required, as consumers are unaware that 82% of paper consumed is from planted forests.

Looking at recycling, consumers understand the natural and recyclable nature of paper, with a majority of consumers believing that recyclability is an important characteristic of environmentally responsible products. Although, consumers do not realise that the industry is a leading recycler and that 87% of paper is recovered for recycling in Australia. Work is needed to drive through these fundamental messages about the industry’s environmental pedigree to the wider public.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers prefer to read from paper than from screens, appreciating the tactile nature of paper. Consumers also fundamentally believe that when sourced from sustainably managed forests, paper and print remains a sustainable way to communicate.

To read the full report click here