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New industry organisation ‘FOPAP’ calls leaders to Unite

24th January 2011

A new industry organisation calling itself ‘Friends of Print and Paper’, or FOPAP, has been formed to counter what it describes as a worrying increase in misinformation concerning print and paper’s environmental credentials and the lack of knowledge in our own industry about the important role it is playing in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. John Roche, one of the founding members of the group, says the forming of the organisation became ‘inevitable’ after the recent caning the industry has taken on the world stage, driven by such campaigns as the WWF’s new unprintable file format .

“A group of colleagues and I had been working for some time on new methods of carbon accounting for wood based products that seem to prove that printing on paper might not only be carbon neutral, but possibly a net absorber of carbon. This would make it one of the most environmentally friendly communications medium on the planet. It’s an incredibly important message that not only has to be shared with the world, but literally pushed down its throat. Our findings show that current thinking on environmental initiatives, such as recycling paper for instance, might actually be more damaging to climate change than not, which is not only very worrying but actually quite perverse”.

Paper in pristine condition Roche added that it was not the initial intention of his research group to establish a new organisation but that the message seemed so important a collective front became an obvious next step. The first inkling that a new trade body was in the offing came when he and his colleagues invited a handful of industry leaders to a meeting to discuss some new insights into the environmental credentials of print and paper that had not been considered before.  “We have gathered compelling evidence that paper can act as a carbon sink in landfill. This goes against all current thinking, but we can demonstrate that current thinking, that of paper decaying quickly in landfill, is flawed; for it is based upon assumptions that are decades old and have never been tested. We wanted to show our findings to some of the heads of industry who have publicly shown an interest in this subject and we received a very enthusiastic response. This prompted us to join our thinking together under the name ‘Friends of Print and Paper’ as it seemed so fitting.”

'Seams' of paper The meeting, which takes place at Unite the Union’s London HQ in early February is being attended by Tony Burke and Peter Ellis of Unite, Andrew Brown of the BPIF and Sidney Bobb of the BAPC , along with other invited key industry figures and is being described by Roche as FOPAP’s Inaugural Summit Meeting. He went on to say that the response to the new organisation so far has been tremendous, even though they have made no official announcement until today. “We have received hits to our website from all around the world from the likes of the WWF and Greenpeace, along with the national news media. We think we may have tapped into a moment in print’s history where the anger and frustration of the last few years is spilling over into a united front: a cause we can all stand behind that might make a real difference to the industry. If what we have discovered is ratified, and we believe it will be, then the impact on the printing industry could not be more profound”.

Of FOPAP itself Roche said “We do not intend to compete with any of the existing trade organisations and our philosophies are different enough from Two Sides that we could not share the same banner. We are going to counter the misinformation aggressively using a grass roots approach as this is where we feel we can be most effective. It’s free to sign up for anyone who wishes to support our cause and we therefore welcome the industry to participate.”

More news...

BPIF publish new industry facts and figures, shining a positive light on print 12th January 2011

(C) 2011