Save Trees. Print More!
This is absolutely the most controversial statement that we’ve made all year, but it’s the honest truth. Sure, we print conference books, so why believe us?
I know this sounds contradicting, but the economics behind this is true.
Printing Saves Trees
Consider this economic cycle. Most of the paper used for printing for U.S. based associations comes from North American forests. If we print less, we place less value on paper. Less paper being needed translates into paper companies selling their forested acreage to the highest bidder as this is the best chance for revenue. This in turn means they plant fewer trees leaving the land to just sit there “idle” or be sold to developers OR as the song goes, (and sing it with me…)
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Printing Increases Demand for Paper
Using paper for printing raises the demand for paper, which means the paper companies plant more trees and keep land dedicated to managed forests.
How it works: It takes 5-6 years to grow a tree that is used for paper. Consider a forested plot of land divided into 6 segments. Year 1, they log segment 1 and replant. Year 2, they log segment 2 and replant. This goes on for 6 years and we’re back to segment 1. That is sustainable forestry.
So it’s not like trees are being clear cut and nothing is replacing them (as is the case in some parts of the world where the forests get clear cut for soybeans, sugar cane and cattle farms). Most mills have sustainable forestry practices ensuring they are replanting more trees because this is their business, trees are their crop!
Edward L. Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard University states in an Boston Globe article titled, “A road map for environmentalism.”
“The trees used by paper mills are a renewable resource. When people use more paper, suppliers plant more trees. If we want bigger commercial forests, then we should use more paper not less. Our policies should directly protect important wildlife habitats, not try to reduce our demand for paper.”
Can Conference Printing Save Trees?
As for conferences and meetings, printing educational materials such as proceedings books, workbooks or handouts isn’t wiping out our trees. In fact, it’s probably saving trees.
Looking at the purpose of your meeting. If the use of printed materials is going to better educate a doctor, engineer, social worker, or child care provider, so be it. Figure out a way to cover the printing cost because in the end, you’ll have happier, more educated attendees and more demand for paper–and more land for trees.
|Free Download: "Paperless Conference"|
Debunking the Myths of the "Paperless Conference"
What does a "paperless conference" really mean? Is it actually possible? This white paper outlines the unlikelihood of completely abandoning paper at conferences. It also offers case studies and ideas for reducing paper consumption while still pleasing your attendees.