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Sustainability Guide

How to choose sustainable paper

Finding a sustainable paper solution isn’t so straightforward — we’re here to help.

How can you ensure that the paper you purchase is sourced sustainably and produced responsibly? Is recycled paper the best option or can fresh fibres also contribute to a circular economy? How can you keep your carbon footprint to a minimum and what about the harmful emissions released when bleaching paper?


There are several factors to take into consideration, so we have broken these down into the most commonly asked about categories. That way, you can have all your questions answered in one place, to make an informed decision about the right sustainable paper for you.


After all, sustainability isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Different aspects are relevant for different requirements. Whatever your needs — be it a CO₂ neutral, TCF, recycled, Blue Angel, FSC™ or PEFC™ certified paper — all of Mondi’s products are sustainably produced, so that you can contribute to a better environment when you choose one of our papers.


Browse through the key questions below, to make an informed decision about the right sustainable paper for you.

01

Is recycled paper the only sustainable option?

Recycled paper has never looked so good. The possibility to create high-quality paper from a waste product is the perfect way to contribute to a circular economy.


Europe is the world leader in this regard, with as much as 72% of all paper used already being recycled. This means that we are using almost as much recycled paper as we do paper made from fresh fibre — an amazing milestone, and one that we’re proud to be a part of.


Of course, there’s a catch; paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. At some point, the fibres become too short, usually after four to six lifecycles. That means that even with the most thorough post-consumer collection of waste paper, we would run out of usable paper to recycle at some point and are therefore still dependent on sustainably sourced fresh fibre paper.


The good news is there are plenty of other factors that contribute towards making a sustainable choice, so fresh fibres are definitely a viable option. If you are looking to make the switch to recycled, we’ve got you covered, but if you’re looking to try something new, perhaps choosing a paper made from alternative fibres, such as grass, could be the right choice for you.


Select the tabs below to learn more about these options.

  • 100% recycled

    100% recycled paper is exactly what the name implies — paper that is made entirely from waste paper, without using any fresh fibres. We have gone a step further to ensure that all of our recycled paper is made from post-consumer waste. This means that all of our recycled paper reached the end consumer before being turned back into paper and is not made up of trimmings from our paper mills or industry waste.


    Our NAUTILUS® portfolio consists of premium quality recycled papers, in a wide range of grammages and formats.


    Choose from our 100% recycled papers below:

  • 30% recycled

    It’s important to note that not all recycled paper is 100% recycled. A lot of paper combines fresh fibres with 30% recycled paper from post-consumer waste, resulting in a very high quality recycled paper. Using 30% recycled paper to create a new product is typically the minimum percentage required to achieve “green business” certifications.


    Our 30% recycled papers are produced using the TRIOTEC® sandwich technology, where the inner layer contains 30% recycled fibre the outer layers are made of totally-chlorine free bleached fresh fibre. This unique technology gives the paper an extra whiteness, high stiffness and great runnability.


    Choose from our 30% recycled papers below and learn more about the cycle of sustainability:

  • Alternative fibres

    Grass varieties account for around one-fifth of the total vegetation on our planet and is one of the fastest growing and ecologically ‘successful’ plants, which can be found in the tropics, the Alps, in water, and even in the desert.


    Combining grass fibres with fresh fibres from sustainable sources creates paper with a unique haptic and natural look, due to small visible grass fibres. Due to its high-strength properties, it is especially suitable for packaging products.


    Customers looking for alternative fibre papers have preferred:

  • Custom solution

    If you have a particular custom need that isn’t currently available in our offering — whether that be a custom percentage of recycled fibres, a specific certification, a custom shade, or something else we haven’t touched upon — don’t hesitate to reach out, our team can work on a custom solution to suit your needs. ​​​​​​​

100% recycled

100% recycled paper is exactly what the name implies — paper that is made entirely from waste paper, without using any fresh fibres. We have gone a step further to ensure that all of our recycled paper is made from post-consumer waste. This means that all of our recycled paper reached the end consumer before being turned back into paper and is not made up of trimmings from our paper mills or industry waste.


Our NAUTILUS® portfolio consists of premium quality recycled papers, in a wide range of grammages and formats.


Choose from our 100% recycled papers below:

30% recycled

It’s important to note that not all recycled paper is 100% recycled. A lot of paper combines fresh fibres with 30% recycled paper from post-consumer waste, resulting in a very high quality recycled paper. Using 30% recycled paper to create a new product is typically the minimum percentage required to achieve “green business” certifications.


Our 30% recycled papers are produced using the TRIOTEC® sandwich technology, where the inner layer contains 30% recycled fibre the outer layers are made of totally-chlorine free bleached fresh fibre. This unique technology gives the paper an extra whiteness, high stiffness and great runnability.


Choose from our 30% recycled papers below and learn more about the cycle of sustainability:

Alternative fibres

Grass varieties account for around one-fifth of the total vegetation on our planet and is one of the fastest growing and ecologically ‘successful’ plants, which can be found in the tropics, the Alps, in water, and even in the desert.


Combining grass fibres with fresh fibres from sustainable sources creates paper with a unique haptic and natural look, due to small visible grass fibres. Due to its high-strength properties, it is especially suitable for packaging products.


Customers looking for alternative fibre papers have preferred:

Custom solution

If you have a particular custom need that isn’t currently available in our offering — whether that be a custom percentage of recycled fibres, a specific certification, a custom shade, or something else we haven’t touched upon — don’t hesitate to reach out, our team can work on a custom solution to suit your needs. ​​​​​​​

02

Paper production standards: what’s the difference between ecolabels?

Ensuring sustainable production processes and supply chains is one of the most important factors to look out for when choosing paper. Ecolabels certify the overall sustainable practices and measures taken in producing goods that contribute to a circular economy. They serve to both inform consumers about the environmental impact of their purchases and encourage producers to improve the sustainability of their goods.


To hold ourselves accountable, we have created Green Range, Mondi’s umbrella trademark for sustainable paper solutions. Our Green Range label encompasses all the accredited certifications that we have received for our uncoated fine paper portfolio.


Click through the tabs below to learn more about the main ecolabel certifications we have earned.

  • Cradle to Cradle Certified®

    • ​​​​​​​Focus: sustainable products that contribute to a circular economy
    • Geographical scope: worldwide
    • Goal: sustainable production, renewable materials, less waste, social fairness
    • Revision: certification renewal is required every two years
    • Third-party certification

    Cradle to Cradle Certified® is a globally recognised measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. This certification fits perfectly with our commitment to ensure a cycle of sustainability for our products.


    Products are assessed across five sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product is assigned an achievement level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) for each category and the lowest category achievement determines the overall certification level. In order to maintain this label, products must undergo certification renewal every two years.


    Our entire uncoated fine paper portfolio achieved the Bronze certification in 2021. While some companies choose to certify only specific papers within their offering to achieve a higher rating, we have decided to be as transparent as possible by including our portfolio as a whole. Due to the complexity of the scope of the certification, it is a challenging one to obtain, but one that pushes us to reach our sustainability goals. Learn more about it here.


    Select from papers that are Cradle to Cradle Certified® below:

  • EU Ecolabel

    • Focus: monitoring the entire life-cycle from raw material extraction to disposal
    • Geographical scope: European Economic Area (European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway); recognised worldwide
    • Goal: CO₂ emission reduction, less waste
    • Revision: label criteria are revised every 4-5 years; certification renewal is required if the new criteria applies to the certified product(s)
    • Third-party certification

    The EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence recognised across Europe and worldwide, that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal.


    Established in 1992, the EU Ecolabel promotes a circular economy by encouraging producers to generate less waste and CO₂ during the manufacturing process. The criteria encourage companies to develop products that are durable, as well as easy to repair and recycle. Strict guidelines, enforced through third party controls, are in place to ensure efficient actions that contribute to a positive environmental impact. Many companies turn to the EU Ecolabel criteria for guidance on eco-friendly best practices when developing their product lines.


    All of our Mondi uncoated fine paper mill brands are EU Ecolabel certified.
    Find the right one for you below:

  • The Blue Angel

    • Focus: eco-friendly product design; recycled products in the paper & printing sector
    • Geographical scope: worldwide
    • Goal: protection of the climate, resources, water and humans and the environment
    • Revision: validity usually lasts 3-4 years; criteria is revaluated before validity expiration in case of certification renewal
    • Third-party certification

    The Blue Angel is the world’s first ecolabel, made in Germany, setting high standards for environmentally friendly product design since 1978. It is seen as a gold standard, and serves as a reliable guide for more sustainable consumption.


    The label’s criteria covers the protection of the climate, resources, water and humans and the environment. The Blue Angel is overseen by four German institutions and labels are awarded by an independent jury.


    For the paper and printing sector, the Blue Angel has a strong focus on recycled products. Printed matter containing a percentage of fresh fibres must be sourced from sustainably managed forests and forestry companies with high ecological standards in order to receive certification.


    Select from papers with the Blue Angel label below:

  • The Austrian Ecolabel – Umweltzeichen

    • Focus: environmental impact of production, usage and disposal of consumer goods
    • Geographical scope: Austria
    • Goal: sustainable consumer goods across all sectors
    • Revision: certification renewal is required every four years
    • Third-party certification

    The Austrian Ecolabel provides information on the environmental impact of the production, usage and disposal of consumer goods. It offers orientation to consumers and green standards to producers.


    Created in 1990, it serves as an all-encompassing certification with environmental and sustainable criteria spanning 60 different product groups and services, including tourism, educational institutions, events and culture. A parallel certification with EU Ecolabel is encouraged, where possible.


    Select from papers with the Austrian Ecolabel (Umweltzeichen) below:​​​​​​​

  • Custom solution

    If there is a specific ecolabel that you require that is not part of our standard certifications, we are happy to consult on custom solutions, for example, for local ecolabels such as Nordic Swan.

Cradle to Cradle Certified®

  • ​​​​​​​Focus: sustainable products that contribute to a circular economy
  • Geographical scope: worldwide
  • Goal: sustainable production, renewable materials, less waste, social fairness
  • Revision: certification renewal is required every two years
  • Third-party certification

Cradle to Cradle Certified® is a globally recognised measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. This certification fits perfectly with our commitment to ensure a cycle of sustainability for our products.


Products are assessed across five sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product is assigned an achievement level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) for each category and the lowest category achievement determines the overall certification level. In order to maintain this label, products must undergo certification renewal every two years.


Our entire uncoated fine paper portfolio achieved the Bronze certification in 2021. While some companies choose to certify only specific papers within their offering to achieve a higher rating, we have decided to be as transparent as possible by including our portfolio as a whole. Due to the complexity of the scope of the certification, it is a challenging one to obtain, but one that pushes us to reach our sustainability goals. Learn more about it here.


Select from papers that are Cradle to Cradle Certified® below:

EU Ecolabel

  • Focus: monitoring the entire life-cycle from raw material extraction to disposal
  • Geographical scope: European Economic Area (European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway); recognised worldwide
  • Goal: CO₂ emission reduction, less waste
  • Revision: label criteria are revised every 4-5 years; certification renewal is required if the new criteria applies to the certified product(s)
  • Third-party certification

The EU Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence recognised across Europe and worldwide, that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life-cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal.


Established in 1992, the EU Ecolabel promotes a circular economy by encouraging producers to generate less waste and CO₂ during the manufacturing process. The criteria encourage companies to develop products that are durable, as well as easy to repair and recycle. Strict guidelines, enforced through third party controls, are in place to ensure efficient actions that contribute to a positive environmental impact. Many companies turn to the EU Ecolabel criteria for guidance on eco-friendly best practices when developing their product lines.


All of our Mondi uncoated fine paper mill brands are EU Ecolabel certified.
Find the right one for you below:

The Blue Angel

  • Focus: eco-friendly product design; recycled products in the paper & printing sector
  • Geographical scope: worldwide
  • Goal: protection of the climate, resources, water and humans and the environment
  • Revision: validity usually lasts 3-4 years; criteria is revaluated before validity expiration in case of certification renewal
  • Third-party certification

The Blue Angel is the world’s first ecolabel, made in Germany, setting high standards for environmentally friendly product design since 1978. It is seen as a gold standard, and serves as a reliable guide for more sustainable consumption.


The label’s criteria covers the protection of the climate, resources, water and humans and the environment. The Blue Angel is overseen by four German institutions and labels are awarded by an independent jury.


For the paper and printing sector, the Blue Angel has a strong focus on recycled products. Printed matter containing a percentage of fresh fibres must be sourced from sustainably managed forests and forestry companies with high ecological standards in order to receive certification.


Select from papers with the Blue Angel label below:

The Austrian Ecolabel – Umweltzeichen

  • Focus: environmental impact of production, usage and disposal of consumer goods
  • Geographical scope: Austria
  • Goal: sustainable consumer goods across all sectors
  • Revision: certification renewal is required every four years
  • Third-party certification

The Austrian Ecolabel provides information on the environmental impact of the production, usage and disposal of consumer goods. It offers orientation to consumers and green standards to producers.


Created in 1990, it serves as an all-encompassing certification with environmental and sustainable criteria spanning 60 different product groups and services, including tourism, educational institutions, events and culture. A parallel certification with EU Ecolabel is encouraged, where possible.


Select from papers with the Austrian Ecolabel (Umweltzeichen) below:​​​​​​​

Custom solution

If there is a specific ecolabel that you require that is not part of our standard certifications, we are happy to consult on custom solutions, for example, for local ecolabels such as Nordic Swan.
03

Sustainably sourced wood: what does FSC™ or PEFC™ stand for?

Sustainability starts at the source and there are several respected certification schemes to ensure that the paper you use isn’t just sustainably produced, but that it’s also made out of responsibly sourced raw materials.


As a business that relies on forests, zero deforestation and responsible forestry is of the highest priority to Mondi. Most of the wood we use comes from our own sustainably managed forests in Russia and South Africa, and all additional wood and pulp is procured from credible sources. Responsible forest practices are vital for our business and we work with internationally renowned organisations to ensure this.


Among them, the most recognised organisations are FSC™ (Forest Stewardship Council™) and PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™).


Both of these trademarks stand for the same goal — the certification of responsible forest management, preserving natural habitats, and respecting the rights of forestry workers and local communities. Both FSC™ and PEFC™ monitor wood and wood fibre throughout every step of the supply chain, from the forest to the end user.


In some regions, FSC™ isn’t as well known as PEFC™ and vice versa, so we are certified under both trademarks in order to ensure that our paper not only meets the standard expected by all our customers, but that this is also easily understood.

  • FSC™

    FSC™ labels are on millions of products worldwide, from egg cartons to your favourite book, so chances are you’ve come across one before. FSC™ is an international non-profit organisation, established in 1993, to promote responsible forest management worldwide. The FSC™ label is an assurance that the paper you purchase is produced from wood that comes from FSC™ certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

    Products bearing this label use materials sourced from FSC™ certified forests. Forests are managed according to rigorous standards and audited by an independent third party.


    All Mondi mill brands are FSC™ certified. Select from our FSC™ certified papers below:

  • FSC™ recycled

    The FSC™ recycled label verifies that a product is made from 100% recycled material. Using recycled materials helps contribute to a circular economy and reduces the demand for fresh fibres.


    FSC™ remains the only sustainable forestry certification that is accepted by environmental groups such as the WWF and Greenpeace, among others. The organisation has identified 10 principles that guide its forest management, including protecting the rights of workers and indigenous peoples whose local communities depend upon and are impacted by the forests.


    Select from our FSC™ recycled certified papers below:

  • PEFC™

    PEFC™ is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999, dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. The PEFC™ logo is a declaration that the wood fibres in paper products come from PEFC™ certified, sustainably managed forests.


    Customers looking for PEFC™ certified papers have preferred:

FSC™

FSC™ labels are on millions of products worldwide, from egg cartons to your favourite book, so chances are you’ve come across one before. FSC™ is an international non-profit organisation, established in 1993, to promote responsible forest management worldwide. The FSC™ label is an assurance that the paper you purchase is produced from wood that comes from FSC™ certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

Products bearing this label use materials sourced from FSC™ certified forests. Forests are managed according to rigorous standards and audited by an independent third party.


All Mondi mill brands are FSC™ certified. Select from our FSC™ certified papers below:

FSC™ recycled

The FSC™ recycled label verifies that a product is made from 100% recycled material. Using recycled materials helps contribute to a circular economy and reduces the demand for fresh fibres.


FSC™ remains the only sustainable forestry certification that is accepted by environmental groups such as the WWF and Greenpeace, among others. The organisation has identified 10 principles that guide its forest management, including protecting the rights of workers and indigenous peoples whose local communities depend upon and are impacted by the forests.


Select from our FSC™ recycled certified papers below:

PEFC™

PEFC™ is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999, dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. The PEFC™ logo is a declaration that the wood fibres in paper products come from PEFC™ certified, sustainably managed forests.


Customers looking for PEFC™ certified papers have preferred:

04

What about CO₂ neutral paper?

While all industrial processes create emissions and waste, Mondi strives to produce eco-efficient products with the greatest possible reduction of waste and environmental emissions to water and air. We measure the carbon footprint of all our paper mills and for each individual paper product we produce.


In our efforts to minimise that footprint, we look at all the different areas that might allow us to cut back on the resources used and in the process, we have significantly reduced CO₂ emissions at our paper mills.


This includes initiatives like the reduction of water consumption during production, switching from fossil fuels to biomass or taking iterative steps to simply use all the resources needed more efficiently. While these efforts have had a great impact on CO₂ reduction, a certain baseline of CO₂ emissions can never be undercut. Here, we offset our carbon footprint by supporting internationally recognised carbon offset projects.

  • CO₂ neutral as standard

    Mondi has been offering CO₂ neutral products for over a decade. As of 2021, we extended our offering of CO₂ neutral paper to almost all premium paper brands.


    Color Copy original, as well as our entire PERGRAPHICA® Whites and Colours range are offered CO₂ neutral as standard. Both of these are produced at our Mondi Neusiedler mill in Austria.


    PERGRAPHICA® is our premium paper brand for creative design, publishing and luxury packaging applications, combining premium printing and finishing quality with sustainability in one portfolio. Color Copy is the leading digital colour printing paper and was the world’s first CO₂ neutral digital colour printing paper, available since 2010.


    In over a decade, we have drastically reduced our emissions by optimising our production processes. Of course, certain emissions can never be fully cut, in which case we contribute towards offsetting initiatives. You can learn more about these in the tab below.


    Choose from our CO₂ neutral as standard papers below:

  • CO₂ neutral optional

    If you are looking for ways to decrease your CO₂ footprint, you can make an immediate impact by using sustainably sourced CO₂ neutral paper. Most of our premium papers are available CO₂ neutral optional, ask for this when speaking to one of Mondi’s paper distributors.


    Choose from our CO₂ neutral optional papers below:

  • Offsetting projects

    Of course, it isn’t possible for us to reduce our emissions by 100% — natural production emissions still occur. In these cases, we offset our carbon footprint by contributing to projects that are making a real, tangible difference.


    One such project that we support, is the Pesqueiro hydro power plant on the Jaguariaríva River in south Brazil – an internationally recognised carbon offset project. To offer transparency, information about the CO₂ neutrality of our products is printed on the packaging and included in customer documents.


    Our CO₂ emissions are calculated and offset with the support of ClimatePartner, an international solutions provider for corporate climate action, and are therefore classified as CO₂ neutral. These CO₂ calculations are based on recognised industry standards such as CEPI's Carbon Footprint Framework for paper and board products.


    Read more about our carbon offseting project below:

CO₂ neutral as standard

Mondi has been offering CO₂ neutral products for over a decade. As of 2021, we extended our offering of CO₂ neutral paper to almost all premium paper brands.


Color Copy original, as well as our entire PERGRAPHICA® Whites and Colours range are offered CO₂ neutral as standard. Both of these are produced at our Mondi Neusiedler mill in Austria.


PERGRAPHICA® is our premium paper brand for creative design, publishing and luxury packaging applications, combining premium printing and finishing quality with sustainability in one portfolio. Color Copy is the leading digital colour printing paper and was the world’s first CO₂ neutral digital colour printing paper, available since 2010.


In over a decade, we have drastically reduced our emissions by optimising our production processes. Of course, certain emissions can never be fully cut, in which case we contribute towards offsetting initiatives. You can learn more about these in the tab below.


Choose from our CO₂ neutral as standard papers below:

CO₂ neutral optional

If you are looking for ways to decrease your CO₂ footprint, you can make an immediate impact by using sustainably sourced CO₂ neutral paper. Most of our premium papers are available CO₂ neutral optional, ask for this when speaking to one of Mondi’s paper distributors.


Choose from our CO₂ neutral optional papers below:

Offsetting projects

Of course, it isn’t possible for us to reduce our emissions by 100% — natural production emissions still occur. In these cases, we offset our carbon footprint by contributing to projects that are making a real, tangible difference.


One such project that we support, is the Pesqueiro hydro power plant on the Jaguariaríva River in south Brazil – an internationally recognised carbon offset project. To offer transparency, information about the CO₂ neutrality of our products is printed on the packaging and included in customer documents.


Our CO₂ emissions are calculated and offset with the support of ClimatePartner, an international solutions provider for corporate climate action, and are therefore classified as CO₂ neutral. These CO₂ calculations are based on recognised industry standards such as CEPI's Carbon Footprint Framework for paper and board products.


Read more about our carbon offseting project below:

05

Is it possible to bleach paper without chlorine?

Bleaching is a necessary step in the whitening process of paper, but this has a significant environmental impact, particularly for the aquatic environment, due to harmful emissions that are released when using elemental chlorine. For this reason, all our papers are elemental chlorine free (ECF) as a minimum standard.


The three main classifications to look out for are totally chlorine free (TCF), elemental chlorine free (ECF) and process chlorine free (PCF). For more details on the differences between the three, see the tabs below.


Ultimately, ECF, TCF and PCF papers are all sustainable choices, so it depends on what’s most important to you. The ECF process has the advantage of a significantly higher ratio of finished fibre to wood. This is due to the fact that TCF bleaching is done with ozone, which is a more corrosive chemical than chlorine dioxide.


Mondi offers TCF, ECF and PCF products in its portfolio in order to cater to all needs and preferences and we acknowledge both the advantages (zero AOX emissions) and disadvantages of TCF (lower yield).

*AOX: the sum of all absorbable organic halogens (chlorine, bromine and iodine compounds) in waste water.

Totally chlorine free [TCF] paper

Totally chlorine free (TCF) papers are made from pulp that is either unbleached or that has been bleached without any type of chlorine.


If having a TCF (totally chlorine free) paper is a priority for you, then these products might be the right choice:

Elemental chlorine free [ECF] paper

Elemental chlorine free (ECF) papers are produced from pulp that has been bleached with a derivative such as chlorine dioxide, for a more sustainable pulp and paper manufacturing process.


All of Mondi’s uncoated fine paper range is ECF as standard. Choose from the options below:

Process chlorine free [PCF] paper

Process chlorine free (PCF) is the classification given to recycled papers, meaning that no chlorine or chlorine dioxide were used in the recycling process; but that the original collected paper may have been previously bleached and may therefore contain traces of chlorine substances.


Select from our PCF papers below:

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