Not Fade Away

The Internet promises to up-end a lot of industries, but surprisingly pulp and paper isn’t one of them. That’s the conclusion of a study by The Boston Consulting Group Inc. ( entitled Paper and the Electronic Media: Creating Value From Uncertainty. Instead of eroding the use of paper, the Internet and other digital media will actually increase the consumption of some kinds of paper.

That’s not to say that some sectors of the industry will be unscathed. The study concludes that newsprint will take the biggest hit by 2003, with demand down 15 per cent from 1997 levels. The growth of on-line classified ads and Internet-based news services will be the main reasons for plummeting newsprint demand. Another lagging sector will be envelopes as increased e-mail use trims demand by 1 million tonnes by 2003.

Despite the misfortunes of newsprint and envelopes, overall paper consumption worldwide is projected to rise, as growth in most sectors outstrips losses. With consumption expected to double from 1996 to 2003, office paper consumption will be the big winner. Paper producers can thank individual printing both at home and in the office for their rosy future.