Read with a clear conscience

All media consumption results in greenhouse gas emissions, both printed magazines and reading on the Internet. Reading a subscribed paper-based magazine and reading for the same amount of time on the Internet generates the same low greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate issue has created the need to have a better understanding of the environmental effects of magazines online and in printed format.

Many people are under the impression that printed magazines have a large impact on the environment, while reading online is always the climate-smart alternative.

In order to analyse these concepts, the Swedish Magazine Publishers Association commissioned the research institute Innventia to compare the environmental impact of printed magazines and online magazines from a lifecycle perspective, identifying which stages in the lifecycle cause an environmental impact and therefore identify where there is room for improvement.

The results of this study show that the environmental impact is very low for both media channels, which is of course good news.

So read with a clear conscience – both online and in printed format!

LCA study

Facts to download in the right column:
The full set of results and inventory data can be found in Swedish in the Innventia report 97. The two appendices (in English): Appendix 1 Processes and data sources and Appendix 2 Results. You also find a short version of the result in different languages.


Consumers perception of paper quality

Unique study into the way consumers perceive paper quality

In November 2012 SCA carried out a market study in which 200 people selected at random were asked about the quality of two printed advertisements. This study compared GraphoInvent, a new, uncoated wood-containing paper from SCA produced for advertising material, catalogues and magazines, with a wood-free uncoated paper from the high-quality segment. Half of the respondents thought that GraphoInvent was the better paper and only one third preferred the wood-free uncoated paper.

Product development in publication paper and better printing technology are opening the doors to paper with new properties. In the past wood-containing paper was used exclusively for specific segments/final products. The quality of a paper depends on how well a paper manufacturer can combine the different properties of the paper, e.g. strength, brightness, opacity and bulk. These properties are measured using laboratory instruments, but how they are perceived by customers is subjective and depends on experience, light conditions and personal taste.

The results of the study show that if a product is developed successfully, there is no reason why wood-containing paper cannot compete with wood-free alternatives. This market study can be used to guide purchasers of printed communication that want to achieve the best impact for the money they invest.

The study used a questionnaire that contained both open and closed questions, followed by structured interviews. The respondents compared both printed and unprinted areas and were able to make their own comments during the interviews. The study was carried out at central locations where a lot of people passed by. Although the light conditions varied, GraphoInvent was ranked as an exclusive high-quality paper due to its even printing surface and the solid feel of the paper. The properties that contribute most to these results are high bulk, opacity and light-scattering, as well as the paper's formation and brightness.

The unique element in this study was that an expert panel assessed the same material as the consumers.

SCA R&D Centre contains a special perception laboratory and uses advanced methodology for visual assessments. A panel consisting of 38 experts with extensive experience of assessing paper and print quality showed an even greater preference for GraphoInvent (90%). Perceptual assessments help to identify and quantify quality-related properties that are difficult to measure using instruments.


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