World Association of News Publishers

Carbon Footprint of News Publishing

Carbon Footprint of News Publishing


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How much greenhouse gas results from the daily newspaper? Is it possible to reduce greenhouse gases by reading the daily news on a computer screen or mobile device instead of on paper?

These and similar questions have been addressed in recent years by a variety of European research projects. A new report from the Shaping the Future of News Publishing (SFN) from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) provides a clear overview of these projects and their results.

The report, “Carbon Footprint of News Publishing,” shows that, from an environmental point of view, there is no reason to reject the printed newspaper in favor of an electronic version. Depending on the reading habits and length of reading time, the printed newspaper in many cases beats online and mobile platforms, in terms of CO2 production.

This is an argument that has great relevance today, when print is under attack as a ‘deadwood’, tree-killing industry. A French retail food chain cited environmental reasons for its decision to stop using printed advertising. A Danish non-governmental organisation produced a list of measures that every citizen could take to protect the environment. One of these was: “Cancel your newspaper subscription.”

European forests are, in fact, growing, not shrinking: they’ve increased by 30 percent since 1950. This means that, every year, European forests grow by an area corresponding to 1.5 million football pitches, or four times the size of London.

The report also shows that the amount of energy required to produce newsprint is less than for all other types of paper used in publishing, and that the base material for a large share of newsprint is recycled waste paper.

The report, edited by Malin Picha on behalf of WAN-IFRA, summarizes the methodology and findings and six research studies by Finnish and Swedish research organizations, institutes and industry bodies and includes conclusions based on the findings, and recommendations for further reading and reference.

The subjects of the studies include “Environmental impacts of print products – from cradle to grave”, “Environmental impact of print versus digital”, “An overview of existing sustainability reports – the results,” “The environmental impact of editorial work”, “Environmental impact from editorial work at magazines”, and “Additional measures to take: reducing environmental impact by teleconferencing”.

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Shaping the Future of News publishing

WAN-IFRA is a leading provider of industry research and analysis through its Shaping the Future of News publishing project, which identifies, analyses and publicises all important breakthroughs and opportunities that can benefit newspapers and news publishers all over the world.

SFN provides WAN-IFRA members with a wealth of vital information for all those who need to follow press industry trends. More on SFN research can be found at

More information about WAN-IFRA membership is available here.

SFN Report
Malin Picha
Cooperating Institutes:
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


Anton Jolkovski's picture

Anton Jolkovski


2012-10-22 17:13

WAN-IFRA Reports

WAN-IFRA Reports identify, analyse and promote all important breakthroughs and opportunities that can benefit news publishers all over the world. Read more ...