Quality and sustainability demands seem to be on the rise when it comes to choosing office paper. At least according to more than 2300 respondents from our recent market study. Could we say that a new conscious printing era is here – to stay? If so, what can companies and industries do to live up to the demands?
Looking at the results from our market study from 2021, which investigates changed behavior and attitudes related to printing in the pandemic, quality and sustainability rank high among the respondents when making a paper purchase choice.
These priorities rank as high as price and availability, which have always been important purchase factors (in 2020 price ranked the highest). In fact, 72 % of the respondents answered they would even be willing to pay more for higher quality and sustainability standards.
These consumer requests seem to have increased over the past year. With increased working from home during the pandemic, more people have had to use their home printers – which might not be up to office printer quality standards, and thus reveal a need for a higher quality paper.
“Employees today have more control and freedom to choose paper for their home office use”, says Johan Ulriksson, Office Papers Marketing Manager at Multicopy. “During the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in online purchases. More employees buy their own office paper online where they can make an educated decision. We’ve seen this on a leading online platform, where our key product Multicopy Zero has a 60-70 % conversion rate.”
When it comes to the increasing demands on sustainable products, they can naturally be related to an overall increased societal awareness, and the alarming climate crisis:
“The general awareness in society is higher today… the understanding that it’s you and me, here and now, who must make change”, says Ulriksson. “People start making larger demands not only on themselves – but also on their surroundings, on their employers, on products they buy. As a company or industry, it's getting harder to stand outside all of that – and that's a good thing.”
Perhaps the most important thing to do in order to improve printing behavior and connect to the 'print better' approach would be to make sure that the paper being used lives up to consumer standards as much as possible.
With high-quality paper, printouts will show a better result and longer durability, which in the long run will reduce unnecessary double prints due to bad copies – and decrease costs. The ColorLok label is one feature to look for to ensure professional results with vibrant colors and bold blacks.
A good paper not only looks and feels good – it does it with the least impact on the planet as possible. To make sure the paper lives up to consumer sustainability standards, it is important to look for the right labels, such as the Nordic Swan Ecolabel and the EU Ecolabel.
“Our Multicopy products tick all the boxes”, says Ulriksson. “Not least our carbon neutral Multicopy Zero, referred to by Jonathan Bakewell, who is VP and Head of Segment Office and Book Paper at Stora Enso, as our ‘hero brand carbon offset premium printing paper that conforms to everything people say they want’. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
At Multicopy, as part of the Stora Enso aim to offer 100 % regenerative products and solutions by 2050, we focus on the impacts that we have today, and how to minimize them. As for any other industry or company, the paper industry must conform to what the market, and the planet, needs. At Multicopy, meeting customers’ wishes is always the number one focus:
“Listening, staying attentive to changes and always looking for ways to improve – to make sure that we can offer what our customers are looking for.”, Ulriksson explains. “And at the same time do what we can to contribute to reducing climate impact. That’s in our interest, as much as in our clients’.”
Humans’ urge to communicate has always been strong – and with the evolution of paper, the written form of communicating opened a whole new world of efficiency, suddenly dismantling geographical boundaries. Naturally, the history of papermaking is closely connected to societal, industrial, and cultural events.
Eco-awareness and higher demands on sustainability features among customers tend to lead to good things. One current example is the initiated project at Stora Enso to certify all paper pulp grades as compostable, to helps consumers make more eco-friendly choices.
In 2021, the Multicopy production base in Nymölla mill took a step further in the fossil free journey, with Stora Enso entering a partnership with energy company Gasum. We had a talk with Erik Woode, Director, Project Development & Execution, at Gasum, to get a status update after one year of turning residue water from production into fossil free fuel.