Tour Operators and Travel Agencies Ecology Question 6

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Does the brand (company) have an active policy for its paper use (including paper for marketing purposes), that includes either using zero paper, a reduction of its annual paper use by at least 50% in the last 5 years or using only paper that is at least 90% from sustainable sources?

Dutch version: Heeft het merk een actief beleid voor zijn papiergebruik (inclusief papier voor marketing doeleinden), dat tenminste inhoudt: geen gebruik van papier, een reductie van minimaal 50% van het jaarlijkse papierverbruik in de laatste 5 jaar of het gebruik van papier dat voor minimaal 90% van bronnen met een duidelijke ‘milieuvoorkeur’ komt?

German version: Setzt der Markenhersteller eine der folgenden Umweltschutzmaßnahmen zum Papiergebrauch (inklusive Papier für Werbezwecke) um: "kein Papiergebrauch" oder "Reduzierung des Papierverbrauchs um mindestens 50% in den letzten fünf Jahren" oder "Papiergebrauch aus nachhaltigen Quellen zu 90%"?

References and Guidelines

Travel companies still use tons of paper - mostly for marketing purposes. Paper is made from wood, and although wood is renewable, the worldwide consumption is much higher than the current re-growth rate. Therefore, companies need to reduce their 'paper' footprint. And where they do still use paper, it must come from a 'preferred' source wherever possible. We ask for a policy that governs the use of ALL paper by a brand, including for marketing purposes (for brochures, tickets etc).

Of course the best practice is to reduce the paper footprint by simply using no paper, or less paper. E-marketing, e-ticketing and providing online information and services are viable alternatives to using paper.

There are different types of certification for timber and paper. In line with the British and Dutch national sustainable procurement policies, we accept the FSC and PEFC certifications.

For the purposes of this question, “preferred sources” includes:

  • Paper from FSC and PEFC certified plantations
  • 5-star grades of paper from the PREPS system
  • 100% recycled paper, such as Cyclus certified paper, which guarantees that the paper is 100% recycled and which is acknowledged by the European Eco-label.

In case you find other paper certifications, contact before giving the point.

Ranking guidelines

Reward a 'Yes' if the company fulfills at least one of these criteria:

  • It does not use any paper, either in its offices or for its marketing purposes
  • At least 90% of its total paper use comes from environmentally “preferred” sources
  • Its paper footprint has been reduced by at least 50% compared to its highest footprint from the last five years.

The environmental standard/certificate of the “preferred” paper used must be stated on the company's website. In the case of paper footprint reduction, the absolute weight indication of the paper used annually must be stated (absolute totals only – i.e., not relative to another indicator, such as sales or company size).

Total company use includes marketing purposes (such as brochures) and the company's own internal paper use.


  • [Brand] does not use paper at all.
  • All paper that the [brand] uses is at least 90% [FSC / PEFC / PREPS 3, 4 or 5 star / Cyclus / …] certified.
  • [Brand] has reduced its annual paper use by [number] in [YR] to [amount] in [YR], which represent a reduction of [%].


  • [Brand] uses only […]%[FSC / PEFC / PREPS 3, 4 or 5 star / Cyclus / …] certified paper.
  • [Brand] has only reduced its annual paper use by [number] in [YR] to [amount] in [YR], which represent a reduction of only [%].


  • [Brand] does not communicate information a paper policy on its website.
  • [Brand] does not communicate whether it uses certified paper on its website.
  • [Brand] states that its paper comes from environmentally certified sources, but does not specify from which certification.