The Paperless Office Is Forcing US Pulp & Paper Industry To Go Jobless

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The Paperless Office Is Forcing US Pulp & Paper Industry To Go Jobless

 user admin 2014-06-12 at 11:28:25 am Views: 360
  • #3088

    The Paperless Office Is Forcing US Pulp & Paper Industry To Go Jobless
    Going paperless, going jobless…?

    Advertising about going “paperless” is all around us! But have you stopped to think what “Going paperless” would really be like? What jobs and products would disappear?

    In fact, US pulp, paper and other wood products provide an incentive for forest owners to retain well-managed forests instead of converting the land to non-forest use. It is in the paper industry’s best interest to maintain and grow the forest, as it is their source for paper production! Without the forest, and bi-products of the forest, and if the paper industry no longer existed people would lose their jobs, in fact Millions of Americans would be out of work!

    This statement sounds like an exaggeration until you start to consider how many U.S. families depend on the paper, forestry, industries that rely on bi-products of the forest, print, and mailing industries for their livelihoods. “A 2010 U.S. Mailing Industry Job Study conducted for the Envelope Manufacturers Association found that the U.S. mailing industry supports 8.7 million jobs.” (TwoSides)  This statistic is for just the mailing industry and does not consider other industries that use paper, like book production and printing.

    “These 8.7 million individuals are people who are directly employed in forest products, paper, printing, direct mail design, mail management and mail delivery jobs, 91.7 percent of them in the private sector.” (TwoSides).  If you include supply chain jobs and jobs related to other paper industries, then the reach is endless. Many small companies would go belly-up if print and paper go away. Paper is a large part of numerous industries, as illustrated in the above statistics. There are also around 10 million family forest owners who livelihood also depend on the wood they supply for the papermaking, pulp, and specialty paper industries. The forest owners are at the beginning of the paper supply chain and are the backbone of the print and paper industry. They fill the demand for the industries and create a sustainable product/supply chain.

    “In fact, 60% of the wood used to manufacture paper in the United States comes from these small family owned tree farms. Without the demand for sustainably grown wood to make paper and the income it provides, many families would be tempted to sell their land for development, the leading cause of U.S. forest loss, rather than continue to manage it responsibly. This is especially true in today’s tough economic times.”

    Should these hardworking people who are on the front lines of the sustainable forest management be forced to make the difficult and highly-consequential choice to sell family owned land, when a drop in paper demand results from “green marketing”, or should we say “green washing”, claims that do not have any facts to back them?

    If companies are encouraging people to “go green” under the context of claims that are clearly false, then the people who are employed by the paper industry and industries that are dependent upon the paper industry and forestry bi-products, will lose their jobs. This would mean millions of Americans going out of business because other businesses are claiming false reasons to why they want their customers to “go paperless”. Going paperless does not mean going green and going paperless is absolutely not the “environmental” alternative.

    “If companies want to encourage a switch from paper to electronic communication because it’s speedier or more cost-effective, I can’t argue with that.   But don’t tout that electronic bill or monthly statement as the greener alternative because it’s just not true.  To avoid green washing, companies should follow best practices for environmental marketing and ensure that environmental claims are based on “competent and reliable scientific evidence” as stated by the US FTC Green Guides.” (TwoSides)

    Marketing executives and other individuals who have the decision making power to end the false advertising and spread of “go paperless, go green” messages should think long and hard about how their decisions affect other people and industries. Millions of their very own customers do think about the go paperless message … the millions who depend on the print and paper industry.

    The next time you see “Go Green, Go Paperless” advertising, stop to think about the real consequences of going paperless… it could mean going jobless for millions of Americans.