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Busting The Myths About Print and Paper-Based Communications

Date: Thu 2nd May 2024

Busting The Myths About Print & Paper-Based Communications.

In this article we address some common misconceptions surrounding print and paper-based communications, aiming to debunk myths and highlight the sustainability and effectiveness of print materials. We begin by discussing how many organisations are moving towards digital communication, citing reasons such as environmental concerns and cost savings. However, we argue that paper-based communication still holds value, especially for the consumer.

We challenge the notion that going paperless saves trees and prevents deforestation, by explaining that contrary to popular belief, European forests have been growing steadily. Additionally, we highlight the environmental impact of digital communication, including the energy consumption and e-waste generated by the ICT industry.

Furthermore, we emphasise consumer preferences for print materials, noting that many people feel overwhelmed by digital devices and value the tactile experience of reading print, reiterating the importance of offering consumers a choice between digital and print communication, especially in areas like education and healthcare where comprehension and engagement may be higher with print materials.

Lastly, we address the issue of measuring ROI on print marketing efforts, highlighting the availability of technologies like QR codes that allow for tracking and analysis of physical marketing campaigns. We encourage businesses to leverage digital tools to gain insights into customer behaviour and improve the effectiveness of print materials.

Overall, the aim is to promote the continued relevance and sustainability of print and paper-based communication in the face of digital advancements, urging organisations to consider the benefits of offering both digital and print options to consumers.

Consider the consumer. 

Consumers value paper-based communications but many organisations are making it more difficult for their customers to access it in this format by charging their customers or simply not offering it, citing a variety of reasons for doing so, such as:

  • Going paperless saves trees and stops deforestation.
  • E-communication is better for the environment.
  • Paper is bad for the environment.
  • Paper production is a major cause of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Paper wastes precious resources.
  • You can’t prove ROI on paper-based communication.

We are about to bust all these myths, backed up by facts and research. Let’s get one thing straight, CSP understand the value and convenience of digital, but we also know from facts and research that has been conducted by the likes of Two Sides [], that there is still a place for paper-based materials.  In our latest campaign, we hope to educate and inform our customers and followers of the benefits, and environmental credentials, of paper-based communications.  We hope by doing so that the sectors we serve can make an educated decision about using paper-based communications for their organisation and the consumers they serve.

Print is more sustainable than you think

A 2023 survey by Two Sides[1] revealed 60% of European consumers believe European forests are shrinking, when in fact they have been growing by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every day.[2]

Let’s start with breaking down the myth that going paperless saves trees and stops deforestation.  The vast majority (over 90%) of the European paper industry’s wood fibre originates from European forests that are growing by over 1,500 football pitches every day.  This is because less than three-quarters of the annual growth is harvested and a net increment of over one-quarter of the annual growth is added to the forest stock, every year. To ensure the wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests, the paper industry strongly relies on forest certification, in particular, FSC and PEFC: 73% of wood and even 90% of market pulp comes from forest management-certified sources.[3] CSP are a recognised part of the FSC supply chain and offer FSC-certified paper and card.

There is also a widespread misconception that digital communication has no environmental impact.

Click to order the FREE Print and Paper myths and facts booklet from CSP. Order a myth-busting leaflet from CSP today to find out more interesting myth-busting facts about the sustainability of print and paper-based materials.

The digital dent on the environment.

Many think they are doing their bit for the planet by switching to digital, making claims such as ‘Electronic communication is better for the environment’ without thinking about the physical components that enable that digital entity to exist. 

Did you know that 4-6% of global electricity use in 2020 came from the ICT industry? That figure is expected to grow over the next decade as demand for ICT increases. [4]

Raw materials from digital equipment, servers and power generators are often finite, precious, and non-renewable, as well as being notoriously difficult to recycle.  In 2019 the industry generated 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste across the world.[5] The electronic waste problem is colossal.

Time to switch off.

An international survey from 20231 surveyed 10,250 consumers and found that 49% agree that they spent ‘too long’ on digital devices and 48% of them were ‘concerned about digital’s detriment to their health’. It is our responsibility to listen to these people and offer them an alternative to absorb the information.

If 45% of people ‘Agree that they get a better understanding of a story when they read it in print’ we should not ignore that. Whether that be children at school learning a new subject or patients reading vital health and safety information about their medication, we believe there should always be an option to do that digitally or on paper and there should be no caveat to that. Especially when 32% of respondents said they felt they were suffering from a “digital overload”.

This opinion is echoed in the survey. When it comes to bills and statements, 76% of respondents believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically) from financial organisations and service providers.4

Proving ROI on print.

We know measurement matters when it comes to marketing your business and historically proving your return on investment (ROI) for printed material was tricky!  That is not the case any more.  Technology that has been around for decades is becoming more and more mainstream.  Since the pandemic QR codes are everywhere and most consumers are used to scanning one on their phone.  This opens a whole new world of opportunity for you to track the success of your physical marketing efforts but there are even more exciting things to take advantage of.  Check out our guide to measuring print for more ways you can utilise digital technology to track the success of your physical efforts and gain more insight into your customers.

 Download our Guide on How to Measure the ROI of Print Communications


In conclusion, print and paper-based communication continue to play a vital role in today's digital age. Despite the push towards digitalisation, misconceptions about the environmental impact of paper production and the benefits of print materials persist. By debunking these myths and highlighting the sustainability of the paper industry, as well as the tangible benefits of print for consumer engagement and comprehension, we can ensure that both businesses and consumers have access to diverse communication options.

Moreover, the importance of providing choice cannot be overstated. Consumers value the ability to choose how they receive information, whether it's through traditional print formats or digital channels. By recognising and respecting these preferences, organisations can foster stronger connections with their audience and enhance overall communication effectiveness.

Furthermore, advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to measure the ROI of print marketing efforts, providing valuable insights into consumer behaviour and campaign performance. By embracing digital tools and analytics, businesses can optimise their print strategies and maximise their impact.

In essence, the future of communication lies in embracing a hybrid approach that combines the best of both digital and print mediums. By understanding the unique strengths and benefits of each, we can create more inclusive, sustainable, and effective communication strategies that resonate with audiences across diverse preferences and needs.

Who are CSP?

CSP are a print company known for providing high-quality print and fulfilment solutions.  We specialise in a wide range of print products, from brochures and flyers to banners and promotional merchandise. Our team is dedicated to ensuring the highest quality, quick turnaround times, and competitive pricing.  If you are currently in need of printing services or would like to discuss the potential benefits of partnering with us, please get in touch



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CSP is part of The Meliora Group of Companies