Amersfoort, Tuesday 28th of januari, 2020 – If it were up to the Dutch startup Paper on the Rocks and Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation*, we would all write on notebooks made from scalable paper alternatives. The production of paper is one of the most polluting in the world. It emits even more CO2 than the aviation industry. The two sustainable pioneers join forces towards a tree-free paper industry. With this collaboration, both parties aim for a paper industry that uses 100% less trees and other important resources, at least a 50% decrease of bleach usage, a 67% decrease in CO2 emissions and 85% of consumed energy saved. An impressive mission that is only achievable when the system is turned on its head. With the investment of € 200.000 by the Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation, Paper on the Rocks can scale its production in the near future and double its impact in the coming two years. In December 2019, Paper on the Rocks already raised € 290.000 seed capital through crowdfunding platform Symbid.
Towards a forest friendly paper industry
From a very young age, Anne Pleun van Eijsden, founder and CEO of Paper on the Rocks, knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur: “But I only wanted to do that with a company that would have a positive influence on the world. I found out about the devastation caused by the paper industry, cutting down 2 million acres of forests each year to make paper. Then add a lot of water, energy, chemicals and CO2 emissions to that mix. And paper recycling is not the definitive solution since the fibers shorten during that process – leading to new trees being necessary in any case. I think this is absurd, especially for a (most of the times) throw-away product like paper. Why cut down trees when we can also use waste streams as a source and true circularity is a viable option? I decided to dedicate myself to scaling tree-free production methods. Paper on the Rocks proves, ever since our foundation in 2015, that healthy alternatives for paper can scale, through the production of our notebooks. We are especially proud of the collaboration with Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation which helps us to scale paper alternatives, broaden our collection and expand our sales within Western-Europe.”
Rita de Boer, Senior Investment Manager at the Triodos Regenerative Money Centre: “We believe in the power of money to change the world for the better. That we are now a financial partner of a pioneer such as Paper on the Rocks means that we believe in their innovative answer to the polluting paper industry. In a world where everything continuously squeaks and creaks, it’s very important that visionaries stand up and devote themselves to find solutions for the bigger issues of our times. Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation invests € 200.000 in Paper on the Rocks so it can scale its current activities and reach a broader audience. The activist foundation and corporate approach of Anne Pleun and her team, to work on a healthy ecosystem that will profit us all, fits our ambition to finance catalytic initiatives.”
Facts and figures on the production of paper
For the production of paper with wood as a main resource, figures show not all cut-down trees are planted back. And although planting trees seems sustainable, the trees are mostly planted within production forests with fast growing species like pine and (easily flammable) eucalyptus trees. This method degrades the soil and biodiversity, with possible disastrous consequences. Some facts and figures** on the production of traditional paper:
- The paper industry has an enormous CO2 emission: around 7% of our total yearly emissions worldwide. That is almost three times the size of the aviation industry (2.5%).
- We’ve produced around 411 million tons of paper and cardboard, worldwide, in 2016. That is forty times the weight of all cars on the Dutch roads, yearly. More than half of that was used for packaging and a third for the graphical industry, in other words: books, magazines and newspapers.
- In the Netherlands, we use around 80 kg of paper per person, a year. We use it to pack, read, write and for sanitary ends.
- To make paper from harvested trees, we need a relatively large amount of energy and water. In 2014, the paper industry was accountable for around 5,6% of total global industrial energy consumption.
- The water footprint of one sheet of A4 paper is, depending on the type of paper, between 2-13 liters of water.
**Source: De Correspondent
The promises of Paper on the Rocks
- We don’t touch a tree for the production of any of our papers. Zero. To repeat that: zero trees.
- We mainly use waste streams for the production of our paper. Rockbooks are made from calcium, a by-product in mines. Our Leafbooks are made from agricultural waste.
- No unnecessary use of water (for stonepaper no water at all is needed).
- Recycling needs to be possible. Recycling is an important subject for us. The current paper recycling is very water and energy-inefficient. Stonepaper is, in theory, 100% recyclable. We want to work towards a circular business model.
- We use inks based on vegetable oils.
- No harmful solvents are used in printing.
- The printing of our books is CO2 neutral.
- ISO14001 certified production partners.
*One of the entities under management of Triodos Regenerative Money Centre.
About Paper on the Rocks
Paper on the Rocks, seated in Amersfoort and certified as a B Corporation, develops and sells luxurious notebooks from stone waste (Rockbook) and plant waste (Leafbook). According to Paper on the Rocks and countless environmental organizations, the paper industry has a disastrous impact on our planet. Two million acres of forest are being destroyed on a yearly basis. Removing animals and people from their habitats, destroying biodiversity by replanting monocultures. Paper production needs a lot of water, energy and chemicals. Paper on the Rocks invests 5% of sales in sustainable initiatives and reforestation efforts. For more information: www.paperontherocks.com.
About Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation
Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation is one of the entities under management of Triodos Regenerative Money Centre, part of Triodos Bank. Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation invests in catalytic transformative initiatives that speed up sustainable development.