Canadians embracing environmental initiatives faster than Americans

Ian Lifshitz.
Ian Lifshitz.

Despite being part of today’s digital age, Canadians still like to use paper products. The good news is that many are seeking sustainable printing options. A survey conducted by market-research agency ORC International for Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) found that about 40% of Canadians want to use paper or packaging products that have sustainability attributes. In the United States, that figure is only 27%. “It’s definitely insightful to see how many Canadians and Americans print in a digital age,” said Ian Lifshitz, APP Sustainability Director for the Americas. “About 91% of Canadians and 87% of Americans still print documents for personal or professional use. While these numbers are high, we’re seeing a growing demand for sustainability initiatives to be part of the equation. Therefore, for those in the paper industry, we need to consider changing some of our practices to service our customers better.” The survey also found significant differences between Canadians and Americans on some environmental issues:

  • 56% of Canadians surveyed said that they want the products to be made from recycled materials, while only 37% of Americans agreed.
  • 48% of Canadians want their paper and packaging products to come from sustainable forests, as against only 29% of Americans.
  • 41% of Canadians said it’s important that their products come with sustainable certifications, compared to just 25% of Americans.

“These figures suggest, while both countries are shifting their purchasing habits in support of sustainability, Canadians are doing this much faster and in higher numbers than those south of the border,” Lifshitz added.

Some observers suggest that this could be in response to the Canadian government’s visible support for environment and climate-change initiatives. Those include The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, pricing carbon pollution, and being at the forefront of the Paris Agreement. While there is a gradual shift in the United States towards environmental paper and packaging products, the ‘Green Culture’ appears to be more deeply rooted in Canada. Canada is ranked 11th out of 34 in a study into sustainable development initiatives by the world’s richest nations, while the United States is currently ranked 29th.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.