The short answer is yes. The bulk calculator shows how you can buy fewer tonnes without losing paper thickness. The long answer is, well, long... Read about it below.Calculate savings
There are lots of factors to take into consideration if you want to minimize the environmental impact of your printed matter. The impact from the paper depends heavily on how the paper is sourced, produced, transported, and used. As a paper supplier, we follow up and report all emissions that cause environmental impact, and we constantly work to improve all the factors under our control.
All these different aspects are measured and reported in a Carbon footprint declaration, showing the CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from each step in the process.
The Carbon footprint declaration follows the framework for carbon footprints for paper and board products by CEPI. It lets you compare different papers to see which one has the lowest emissions, stated in kilos of fossil CO2 per tonne of paper.
For a more detailed view, including parameters outside of Carbon footprint, it's a good idea to look at the industry uniform product declarations called Paper profiles.
If you want to reduce the environmental impact from your printed communication, you can choose a paper with lower weight per square metre. That way you actually buy less paper, because you get more print area per tonne of paper. By using less paper, you are contributing to a lower environmental impact.
No, you need to consider what you are printing and which end quality you need in order for the material to make the intended impression. If you decide that you need a thick and sturdy paper for your printed matter, you don’t have to use a high grammage. Instead you can use a light-weight paper with high bulk. It weighs less per square metre, because the elasticity of the fresh fibres enables it to contain more air than a regular paper. Thereby you can get the same page thickness and opacity values, from a lighter paper. You get more print surface and a similar paper quality – but with a lower total weight.
The common elements to measure for the carbon footprint calculation are defined by CEPI. They can help us to see the bigger picture. Below, we have summarized them into four major headlines. For each headline we'll go into details about how different factors affect carbon dioxide emissions.
Paper is based on a renewable raw material, and the carbon footprint calculations start with the capacity of forests to bind CO2. Usage and recycling of paper and board products delays the bound carbon from returning to atmosphere, and depending on how the paper is used and reused, that time can be prolonged.
The first part of the carbon footprint calculation covers carbon stored in the product. This figure depends on whether the forest material can be converted to paper with a high yield, or if a lot of forest material goes to waste. For example in the chemical pulping process, the lignin which makes up almost 50% of the wood raw material is removed in the process and burned for heating. In a thermomechanical pulping process, 98% of the raw materials become paper pulp.
It's a good thing that paper binds carbon dioxide, as long as it is circulated and recycled with care, but to compare the emissions we need to focus on the other parts of the calculation.
Click on the image to see a larger example of a carbon footprint calculation for a printing paper, in this case Holmen BOOK, produced at Holmen Braviken mill.
The next steps in the carbon footprint calculation, step 3-6, count the emissions associated with the processes that transform the raw material into a final product. Here is where the emissions from electricity use are counted. These figures become lower when the paper is produced using energy from fossil free or renewable sources.
To produce 1 tonne of paper, how much carbon dioxide in kilos will be emitted in total? In the carbon footprint calculation example shown above, it's 97 kg, an emission rate of less than 1%.
To define the carbon footprint from your paper use, you need to first look at the total carbon dioxide emissions per tonne for your selected paper. Then decide which grammage you want to use and then finally, how much paper you will need.
Your printing contact can help you calculate how much paper you will need for your intended use, and then you can get a figure for the carbon dioxide emissions caused from the production of this paper.
Naturally this figure will be lower for a paper with a low amount of emissions per tonne, and even less if you can use a lower basis weight than your normal paper. To calculate how low you can go on basis weight and how much you can save in paper use, try our bulk calculator.
All transport induced carbon dioxide emissions until the paper leaves the mill, are included in the carbon footprint calculation for Holmen's papers. After that, the transports differ so much depending on the destination, they have to be calculated case by case.
Our carbon footprint example shows that emissions from internal transports are comparatively low, and this is thanks to synergies in Holmen's production. Holmen's paper mills get their raw materials from forest management in nearby forests, and wood chips from neighbouring sawmills. The mills also have their own deepwater ports to enable large scale shipping by sea. Carbon dioxide emissions from transports are monitored and an important part of the negotiations with all our transport suppliers. We encourage the use of transports by sea, rail and intermodal transports and many of our forwarders use fossil free HVO-fuel for truck transports.
The question of reducing impact from transportation is large and complex, so many factors need to be taken into the calculations. Our logistics department works thoroughly with balancing customer needs and efficiency with sustainability in mind.
When it comes to emissions from product use and emissions from end-of-life management (steps 8-9 in the carbon footprint), these can't be calculated by the paper supplier. Here, for example emissions related to printing are counted, which can be done further along in the production chain.
However, CEPI points out that user related emissions are very unusual for paper and board products, compared to for example electronic media, where electricity is needed for every view of a written message. This may be good to keep in mind when comparing the use of paper to other communication media.
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