Angela De Vorchik Marketing Manager, Arjowiggins Graphics UK

Recycled papers have come a long way since their early days, when they were often grey in appearance. In fact, there are more sustainable choices than ever on the market now – and that goes for the top end, too

Designers have a central role to play in helping companies communicate a message of responsibility to their stakeholders. Combined with this, the look and feel of the materials used is central to the end result of any design project. Using papers that are environmentally sound and deliver a quality result is an important consideration. Now more than ever, designers are aware of the need to reduce the cost and environmental impact of printed documents. But what papers are available to achieve this?

Designers are demanding papers that communicate a responsible image. This is proven by recent Arjowiggins research, which found that quality sustainable papers are key for designers. More than three quarters (77 per cent) responded that a paper’s environmental credentials are an important consideration, and seven out of ten (69 per cent) said it’s worth spending more on a quality business communications paper. This is despite the recent economic downturn, and means that designers are continuing to work to briefs requiring stocks that deliver a quality, sustainable and reliable finish.


Increasing financial and environmental pressures have led to businesses focusing on smaller targeted direct mail campaigns with increased levels of personalisation to ensure there is minimal wastage. According to research by the National Association of Paper Merchants, the growing trend towards integrated campaigns, where direct mail followed up with an e-mail, is proving highly successful, increasing the response rate by more than 145 per cent. This is likely to continue into 2009, as companies demand bigger returns on their investments with budgets more tightly controlled.

All this is combined with an increased number of briefs from firms with more stringent CSR strategies. The environmental impact of a paper, as well as guaranteed print performance, will remain at the forefront of business agendas.

In response to this trend, Arjowiggins Graphics has taken significant steps to ensure each stock in our range has a clear environmental declaration, as we recognise that providing designers with information on carbon footprints is invaluable. The papers they use send a strong message about a company’s image, which is especially true of Green papers. Using environmentally friendly stocks, such as Arjowiggins’ Cyclus, which is made from 100 per cent recycled fibres, shows that a company is taking a responsible approach to the environment.

Demand for recycled papers is expected to grow during 2009. Gone are the days when recycled stocks were grey and dirty in appearance. Papers such as Arjowiggins’ Satimat Green and 9lives give designers a quality finish with no noticeable difference from stocks manufactured from virgin fibres. As less water and energy are used in the production of recycled papers, the carbon footprint is also lower. This reduction in emissions, coupled with the wider economic position, is also expected to boost the market next year.

Through close monitoring of trends in the area, we know how seriously designers are taking environmental issues, and have responded to this by creating the role of brand sustainability manager within our business – a first for a paper mill.

Focused on providing customers with the information they need to choose products to help reduce environmental impact, this role will be key to increasing awareness among designers, printers and end-users of sustainable solutions to businesses’ briefs.

These measures were all introduced in response to industry trends and as part of Arjowiggins’ Green strategy, formalising our long-term commitment to addressing the issue of climate change.


From talking to designers, we expect sustainable products to continue to be key differentiators in the market, with big corporates selecting highly sustainable papers. Recently, Virgin Atlantic chose Arjowiggins’ 9lives 55 for its listings magazine. Based on its performance and cost-effectiveness, such ranges communicate an environmentally conscious and responsible image to customers, while still giving the design a real lift.

Combining the use of recycled, FSC-certified or carbon-neutral stocks with environmentally friendly print techniques also creates new possibilities in sustainable design. For example, designers are now specifying print jobs that minimise blocks of colour and limit machine varnishing, creating a lower environmental impact during the print process. Looking ahead, we also expect a slow but sure move towards the use of vegetable inks and alcohol-free fount solutions.


In the current economic climate, designers are looking for cost-effective ways of reducing wastage as well as carbon emissions. Switching to sustainable paper stocks is an efficient way to achieve this.

2009 is likely to bring unprecedented challenges for companies and targeting the right message to each audience will be more important than ever. Technologies in printing and marketing software will help in personalising communications, but designers will also have a fundamental role to play by selecting quality sustainable papers to create materials that convey the right message in line with a company’s objectives.

Sponsored by Arjo Wiggins

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