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Harry Potter Sports an Environmental Audit

Did you notice something different on the back pages of The Order of the Phoenix? If you live in the Canadian market, you might. The fifth book in the Harry Potter series has something unusual on its back pages. It’s an environmental audit.

The audit, produced using New Leaf Paper’s Eco Audit Calculator, uses New Leaf EcoBook paper, which uses 100% postconsumer waste. This is something new in the book market, which is normally so sensitive to price.

While the paper does cost more than virgin, these costs are offset by the extreme environmental benefits of switching to paper made with 100% postconsumer fiber. Because virgin paper costs less than recycled papers, the book industry has traditionally gone almost exclusively with virgin stocks. But Scholastic decided to make an environmental statement — a big one.

According to the audit, on the 950,000 print run, this simple switch resulted in a savings of 29,600 trees, 12.4 million gallons of water, 20,300 BTUs of energy, 1.4 million pounds of solid waste, and 2.7 million pounds of greenhouse gases. That’s more than just a drop in the bucket.

Can you trust these environmental calculators? In the case of the New Leaf Eco Audit Calculator, the results are based on research by the Environmental Defense Fund and other members of the Paper Task Force. So it’s truly an audit, not just a calculation. That’s why New Leaf Paper provides its customers with a print-ready audit statement (like the above) that they can print in their books, periodicals, and marketing collateral, as Scholastic Paperback Books chose to do.

Although not audits, Mohawk Papers and Neenah Papers also offer their own environmental calculators.

What would happen if, like Scholastic, more publishers, marketers, and corporations took the time to run their paper choices through such online tools? They really put into perspective the true cost of virgin stock. It might be cheaper to spec, but at what cost? Environmental calculators will tell you.

In the meantime, we can thank Scholastic for its leadership on this issue.

Like this post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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