Environmental questions about AAT’s magazines

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In an increasingly environmentally aware world, we know AAT members and students will have questions about the environmental impact of our printed magazines. Here, we address some of those questions – and set out some of the ways AAT is working to offset the impact of our print products.

What’s the current state of play?

At present, AAT offers both print and digital content for our members, students and other audiences. We do this because we know that different people like to receive content through different channels.

However, the demand for printed magazines remains strong. When we surveyed members[1], the research revealed that nearly two-thirds (63%) preferred to receive AT as a printed magazine delivered through the post. Meanwhile, three-quarters of frequent readers, licensed FMAATs and MAATs all said they prefer the magazine in print.

Why are printed magazines still valued?

Many of you told us that having a magazine delivered directly through your door on a regular basis helps you stay on top of the latest technical developments in the industry (62%) and is “a valuable way of getting insight into accountancy developments” (58%).

Having a magazine delivered can also help ensure the most relevant and useful content is easily accessible to members and students. In a world where we are deluged with digital content, magazines help readers cut through material that isn’t quite as relevant or as useful as it can be – and to sift out much of the fake news that appears online. In fact, a recent report stated that “82% of readers trust what they read in magazines”, with 72% saying that “magazines are the most trusted content for news and updates”.[2]

Another report from Ofcom stated: “When scored by their users on measures of quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality… magazines perform better than any other news platform”.[3]

A print magazine also provides a resource that you can keep and come back to when you are working on a specific project or need to refresh on a certain topic.

What about the environmental impact?

Many people have concerns about the environmental impact of magazines – and one of the main criticisms is the amount of paper they use, and the impact this has on the amount of forestry in the world.

A 2019 survey by Two Sides revealed that 59% of European consumers believe European forests are shrinking. However, between 2005 and 2015 they actually grew by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every single day. That’s equivalent to an area the size of Switzerland over the decade.[4]

Wood is a renewable resource – and all reputable print suppliers now replant forests on a huge scale, making sure they are replenishing any wood they use. Our paper supplier, UPM, for example, plants 50 million seedlings every year to replenish any trees it uses from managed forests.[5]

How do we know our partners are also environmentally friendly?

Sustainability issues stretch beyond just paper use – into fuel use throughout the supply chain and use of other products in the manufacturing process.  That’s why we use a printer that holds ISO 14001 certification in recognition of its Environmental Management system.

As part of its commitment to offset energy use in the production of print titles, our printer, Walstead, has committed to protecting the environment by preventing and eliminating pollution through:

  • Improvement of hazardous and non-hazardous waste management
  • Following environmental procedures in order to decrease environmental pollution, and prevent degradation and damage to the environment
  • Meet and, where appropriate, exceed relevant compliance obligations
  • Reduce emissions to the most practical level
  • Continually improving the environmental system to enhance environmental performance
  • Setting objectives and targets to achieve the above

How can we be sure the paper used comes from managed forests?

Sustainably managed forests are important because they create a carbon sink – meaning they are contributing to CO2 being sucked out of the atmosphere and sequestered in the forests. These are forests where the use of wood is managed in a way that ensures that carbon remains sequestered and is not released into the atmosphere.

Our paper suppliers and printers operate to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) standards, the highest social and environmental requirements in the forestry sector. Any products carrying the FSC® label are independently certified to ensure they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

Can I recycle my magazines?

The print magazines can be recycled through your normal recycling bin. At present, our publication is delivered in a polywrap, and this is also recyclable in exactly the same way as supermarket carrier bags. There are now recycling bins for this at most major supermarkets.

Why does the magazine come in a polywrap?

Some companies do mail out their magazines ‘naked’, without any wrapping around them, but we have decided to send ours out wrapped because we want to make sure they don’t get water damaged or torn – so you receive them in the best possible condition. And, as mentioned above, the polywrap we use is recyclable.

Can I opt out of receiving a print magazine?

Yes, you can opt out of receiving a print magazine by changing your preferences in MyAAT.

FMAATs, MAATS, licensed members and AAT Council members will still have access to the digital archive of AT magazine.

My question wasn’t covered

Please get in touch with AAT’s  Content Team if you have further queries.

[1] Lake Market Research, March 2020

[2] https://magnetic.media/research/studies/pay-attention

[3]  https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/116529/news-consumption-2018.pdf

[4] https://www.twosides.info/

[5] https://www.upmspecialtypapers.com/news-and-stories/stories/2019/08/planting-new-trees-for-renewable-products/

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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