France’s Publishers Report Their Paper Is 98-Percent Recycled or Certified

In News by Porter Anderson

In 2021, France’s publishers consumed 216,362 tons of paper, according to the publishers of the Syndicat national de l’édition.

Cycling in the forest at Chantilly, in the Oise, north of Paris, October 29, 2022. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Sebastien Mercier

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Certified and Recycled Papers Up 10 Percent Since 2013
The French publishers’ association—the Syndicat national de l’édition (SNE)—has announced that in a study of its production in 2021, the association has determined that the market’s industry purchased papers that were 98-percent recycled.

The SNE’s Environment and Manufacturing Commission led the research, as it has done in previous years, confirming that in 2021, France’s publishers consumed 216,362 tons of paper.

Interestingly, for a market known as a reading culture, that level of consumption is quite stable by comparison to previous years. “Apart from peaks in purchasing because of economic factors at times, such as a school-curriculum reform or the effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the volumes of paper purchased over the past nine years have been stable.”

There is very distinctive progress, however, in the effort to use more recycled paper.

In 2013, the publishers’ purchases of PEFC or FSC certified or recycled paper came in at 88 percent. So the 2021 figure eight years later at 98 percent, a jump of 10 percent, is significant and understandably gratifying.

PEFC is the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, an NGO that promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.

And FSC refers to the Forest Stewardship Council, the certification of which signifies that paper is made of responsibly sourced wood fiber.

Better Certification Levels in Direct Purchases

Another interesting point made by the SNE in its communiqué is that direct purchase by publishers can make a difference. In the cases the group has studied, the volume of certified paper purchases ran as high as 99 percent, while when purchases were made through printers, the certification levels averaged 88 percent.

The newly announced study results follow years of progressive surveys by the syndicate, using a sample of 60 publishing houses or groups that together represent more than 300 publishing brands and 74.4 percent of the print book copies published in France in 2021.

According to the agency known as ADEME, the French agency for ecological transition, French publishing in 2021 accounted for 7.8 percent of France’s total graphic paper consumption.

Standing as a public industrial and commercial establishment in the French public framework (an Établissement public à caractère industriel et commercial), ADEME’s work in national and local policy on ecological transition is explicated in the French Environmental Code.

Publishing Perspectives would be glad to hear from the publishers’ associations of other world markets about their various metrics and standards in studying and reporting their relationship to natural resources and progress in sustainability. Direct such information to

More from Publishing Perspectives on the French market is here, more on the climate crisis is here, more on international publishing is here, and more on sustainability is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.