Results from a recent global consumer survey found that the majority of Australians and New Zealanders prefer paper communications. In fact, it seems many people distrust and are not swayed by corporate green claims used to promote online services over paper.


An international survey with over 7,000 recipients was commissioned by Two Sides and carried out by international research company Toluna Inc. in June 2016. The survey was also undertaken internationally in: Australia, Brazil, Europe – Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom.

The survey details responses from Australian and New Zealand consumers, providing insight into their perception of the environmental impacts of paper and print, their perception of why companies want them to turn to digital and their preferred communication format.

Among its findings, the survey reveals that many consumers want to retain the choice of using print and paper, at no additional cost, and that many question or feel misled by “go paperless – go green” claims – believing cost savings to be the primary driver for organizations looking to phase out paper-based communications.

Report findings also suggest it is not evident that younger age demographics connect with paper differently to older groups. Whilst acceptance of digital media is stronger among younger ages, a preference for print on paper still exists for all ages.

Regarding the environmental characteristics of paper, findings show that a majority of consumers understand the natural and recyclable nature of paper, as many believe recyclability is an important characteristic of environmentally responsible products and recognize that paper is a renewable resource.

Overall, findings conclude that consumers prefer to read from paper than from screens, appreciating the tactile nature of paper. Consumers also fundamentally believe that when sourced from sustainably managed forests, paper and print remains a sustainable way to communicate.


“Go paperless – go green” claims are questioned by many

  • 83% of Australians and 80% of New Zealanders receiving environmental claims like; “Go Paperless – Go Green”, or “Go Paperless – Save trees”, or “Get your bills on line – it’s better for the environment” believe companies are seeking to save costs,
  • 56% of Australians and 49% of New Zealanders question the validity of these claims, and
  • 42% of Australians and 35% of New Zealanders feel misled by these claims.

Many people need a paper option and don’t want to be forced into “digital only”

  • 76% of Australians and 72% of New Zealanders are unhappy if asked to pay a premium for paper bills and statements,
  • 69% of Australians and 63% of New Zealanders want the option to continue receiving printed information as it provides a permanent record for important documents,
  • 58% of Australians and 46% of New Zealanders are unhappy that the responsibility to print valuable documents is being passed to consumers,
  • 44% of Australians and 32% of New Zealanders would consider changing service providers if asked or forced to move to paperless communication, and
  • 43% of Australians and 29% of New Zealanders don’t have a reliable internet connection and want paper records.

Consumers see print and paper as sustainable

  • 88% of Australians and 91% of New Zealanders agreed that, when responsibly produced, used and recycled, print and paper is a sustainable way to communicate,
  • 85% of Australians and 87% of New Zealanders believe that when forests are responsibly managed it is environmentally acceptable to use trees to produce products such as wood for construction and paper for printing,
  • 94% of Australians and 95% of New Zealanders feel recyclability is an important characteristic for environmentally responsible products,
  • 89% of Australians and 91% of New Zealanders believe new forests are necessary to counteract global warming, and
  • 66% of Australians and 70% of New Zealanders consider that paper is based on a renewable resource.

Paper and print is the preferred communication channel

  • 74% of Australians and 78% of New Zealanders prefer reading print on paper than from a screen, and
  • 71% of Australians and New Zealanders enjoy the tactile experience of paper and print.

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