The Most Sustainable Form of Communication on the Planet!


According to the U.S. Forest Service, what is the  current level of forest growing stock in the U.S. compared to 1952?

A.) -27%          B.) -11%          C.) -2%          D.) +13%          E.) +51%


It is time for Print to loudly proclaim the title of The Most Sustainable Form of Communication on the Planet! It is not my intention to make a political statement or start a debate on the scientific reality, or not, of man-made climate change. It is, however, scientifically accurate to state that Print and paper-based communications are, by far, the most sustainable form of communication. Our industry associations, local and national, should lead this charge (PICA is doing that here), and every Printer and paper maker and distributor should individually proclaim this truth as well.

Are we not sick of seeing the postscripts on emails saying, “Please save a tree and not print this email?” This is the postscript of the uninformed. Let’s tell them so with the reality of the facts.

Dr. George Glisan, Distinguished Professor and Program Coordinator of the Reese Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology Program at Appalachian State University, has recently started teaching a new course on “Sustainability in Print Production” to address questions on sustainability. “The answers to these types of questions come as quite a shock to nearly everyone,” Dr. Glisan said. “Our students have enjoyed sharing the truth with other students.”

The Print and Paper Community needs to do the same. The paper producers in America have done an incredible job of instituting forest growth and sustainability programs for decades. The mantra, “We plant two trees for each one we cut down,” is borne out in the reality of the level of forest growth stock and other wonderful environmentally friendly realities. The print community has also responded with vegetable based inks, chemistry free pre-press solutions and profit-making recycle programs now commonplace in every production facility.

As Printers, we should embrace technology. We are the Corporate Communication, Omni-Channel experts of the future. And, we should never give up or give in to a poor environmental or sustainability message, as our message is the best message of all.

So, the next time you run across that email postscript, send them this link:

Then ask the following: Tell me exactly how the batteries and electronics in your computers, tablets, cell phones, Fitbits and all the rest grow into trees?

I’m a Printer! I represent the Most Sustainable Form of Communication on the Planet, and I can’t wait for that answer.

Phil Kelley Jr.


There is 51% more (yes, I said MORE)
forest growing stock in the US today than there was in 1951.