CHECKLIST: What do you need to consider when ordering pre-printed paper?

Did you know that it is possible to optimize pre-printed paper procurement costs by taking a few details into account?

In our daily lives we strive to help our customers find the best value for their needs. However, sometimes to achieve greater efficiency, or to improve shipping conditions, there is a need to make last-minute changes. This may result in some constraints such as last-minute design changes, shipping delays and even compromise the ability to optimize production.

In order to be prepared, and avoid last minute details, download our checklist “What do you need to consider when ordering pre-printed paper?” . Find out how, by handling everything in advance, you’ll be able to optimize the production costs of your pre-printed paper.

CHECKLIST: What do you need to consider when ordering cheques?

Did you know that it is possible to optimize cheques procurement costs by taking a few details into account?

In our daily lives we strive to help our customers find the best value for their needs. However, sometimes to achieve greater efficiency, or to improve shipping conditions, there is a need to make last-minute changes. This may result in some constraints such as last-minute design changes, shipping delays and even compromise the ability to optimize production.

In order to be prepared, and avoid last minute details, download our checklist “What do you need to consider when ordering cheques?” . Find out how, by handling everything in advance, you’ll be able to optimize the production costs of your cheques.

CHECKLIST: What do you need to consider when ordering forms?

Did you know that it is possible to optimize form procurement costs by taking a few details into account?

In our daily lives we strive to help our customers find the best value for their needs. However, sometimes to achieve greater efficiency, or to improve shipping conditions, there is a need to make last-minute changes. This may result in some constraints such as last-minute design changes, shipping delays and even compromise the ability to optimize production.

In order to be prepared, and avoid last minute details, download our checklist “What do you need to consider when ordering forms?” . Find out how, by handling everything in advance, you’ll be able to optimize the production costs of your forms.

8 Myths about paper

There are many myths about paper that make us often undecided about the environmental impact of our media choices. We are often subject to e-invoice migration campaigns with the argument that we will be “saving trees”, but is that really true?

In this article we present a set of facts that counteract some of the myths that have been heard about the paper and that we hope can help you make more informed decisions.

Myth 1: European forests are shrinking


European forests have been growing by over 1500 football pitches every day (Source: FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

Additional facts:

More than 90% of the pulpwood used in European Paper Industries is sourced from the European Union (Source: CEPI – Confederation of European Paper Industries – Sustainability Report, 2018)

More than 60% forests in EU-28 are certified, mostly under the FSC or PEFC or both (Source: EEA, European Forest Ecosystems – State and Trends, 2016)

Myth 2: Paper is a wasteful product


Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world

Additional facts:

The European paper recycling rate is 72,3%, which is approaching the practical theoretical maximum recycling rate of 78%* (Source: European Papel Recycling Council, Monitoring Report, 2017)

53% of the fibre for Europe’s paper industry is from paper for recycling (Source: CEPI Key Statistics, 2018)

* Some paper products cannot be recovered for recycling because they are kept for long periods of time (books) or archived (records); others are destroyed or contaminated when used (e.g. tissue and hygienic paper).

Myth 3: Paper is bad for the environment


Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products and is seen as an alternative to plastic in many scenarios

Additional facts:

71% of wood and 83% of pulp purchased by the European pulp and paper industry is FSC or PEFC certified (Source: Two Sides, 2017)

 91% of production capacity is certified or registered according to the internationally recognised environmental management standards ISO 14001 and EMAS (Source: CEPI Sustainability Report, 2018)

Myth 4: Only recycled paper should be used


Virgin fibres from sustainably managed forests are needed to maintain the paper cycle

Additional facts:

Fibres cannot be recycled indefinitely, there is the continuous need to feed the inflow of recovered fibre with paper products made of virgin pulp (Source: European Paper Recycling Council, 2017)

In  2018, paper for recycling made up 53% of fibre used, compared to 47% virgin fibre (Source: CEPI Key Statistics, 2018)

Myth 5: Paper production is a major cause of global greenhouse gas emissions


Most of the energy used is renewable and carbon intensity is surprisingly low

Additional facts:

The direct CO2 emissions of the European pulp and paper industry reduced by 25% between 2005 and 2017 (Source: CEPI Key Statistics, 2017)                   

The paper and printing sector is one of the lowest industrial emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for less than 1% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions (Source: Eurostat, 2016)

Myth 6: Paper production consumes an excessive amount of water


Paper production is dependent on water, yet relatively little is consumed

Additional facts:

93% of the used water is returned to the environment in good quality, with the remainder either being evaporated, staying within the product, or being bound-up in solid waste (Source: CEPI, Water Profile 2015)

ICFPA member’s use of process water, measured in cubic metres per metric tone of production, was reduced by 7,2% from 2004/2005 baseline (Source: International Council of Forest & Paper Associations – ICFPA, 2017)

Myth 7: Electronic communication is better for the environment than paper-based communication


Electronic communication also has environmental impacts

Additional facts:

The ICT industry accounts for around 2,5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040 ( Source: Belkir L & Elmeligi A, Journal of Cleaner Production: Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations, 2018)

In 2016, 44.7 million tons of eletronic waste were generated, from which 435 thousand tons were mobile phones. (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018)

Myth 8: Digital is the preferred means of communication


Many consumers value paper-based communication

Additional facts:

 Consumers worldwide prefer to read printed version of books (72%), magazines (72%) and newspaper/news (55%) over digital options (Source: Survey Two Sides, 2017)

 Many consumers (68%) do not pay attention to online advertisements and 57% do their best to avoid them (Source: Survey Two Sides, 2017)

Final notes

Here we present only a brief summary of the data that has been collected on the subject in a joint effort by FEPE (Fédération Européenne des Producteurs d’Enveloppes) and Two Sides (a group of printing companies that aims to promote this sector sustainability and dispel myths about its environmental impact). For more information, please go to the websites of these two entities, or check the mentioned sources.

What is FSC?

FSC certification has as its main purpose to encourage forest owners and managers to improve their social and environmental practices, thus contributing to the production of materials in a more sustainable and conscientious way.

At Contisystems, protecting the environment is a concern that is present in all our processes and we want our customers to have ways in which they too can actively contribute to the mission of managing forests sustainably. For this reason, we provide our customers with FSC certified raw materials that we can use for manufacturing our products.

How did FSC certification appear?

The Forest Stewardship Council exists since 1992 and was originally composed of several environmental and human rights organizations with the purpose of improving forest management around the world and encouraging forest owners and managers to improve their social and environmental practices.

FSC certification brings a set of benefits that contribute to the preservation of forest areas, the protection of indigenous peoples, the protection of biodiversity, workers’ rights and the protection of areas of environmental and cultural importance.

What are the principles of FSC?

The FSC is governed by 10 fundamental principles:

  1. Legal compliance: Respect for national laws and international agreements;
  2. Protection of workers’ rights and working conditions;
  3. Recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples;
  4. Relations with communities: safeguarding the well-being of local communities;
  5. Forest benefits: efficient use of forest products and services;
  6. Environmental values ​​and impacts: conservation of ecosystem services;
  7. Forest management planning;
  8. Monitoring and evaluation of forest and forest management;
  9. Protection of High Conservation Values;
  10. Implementation of management captivities

This way we can say that by purchasing products with the FSC symbol you are contributing to the fight against deforestation, environmental degradation and social exclusion.

How do we identify FSC certified material?

Materials and products manufactured under FSC certification standards may, upon customer request, bear the FSC Logo. FSC – STD – 001 V2 standard gathers the requirements that must be met when using FSC trademarks. Contisystems has the following Promotional Logo:

Code C128766 corresponds to Contisystems FSC License.

What type of FSC certification does Contisystems hold?

Custody certification: This certification is awarded to manufacturers, processors and traders of certified products and ensures the traceability of certified materials and products from the forest to the end consumer. FSC Chain of Custody certification ensures that all FSC certified material is tracked throughout the entire production process, from the forest to the consumer.

What FSC claims are most commonly used by Contisystems?

FSC MIX 75%: This category indicates that the product material is composed of a blend of 75% FSC virgin fiber and 25% controlled wood fiber.

FSC Recycled: This material is exclusively composed of recovered or reused fibers.

What is a fountain solution in offset printing?

Although digital printing has been gaining ground, offset printing remains the most suitable solution for many large-volume situations. The offset printing process, more artisanal and often regarded as an art, results from the direct contact between the paper and the plate containing the image you want to print. In this activity we frequently hear about the “fountain solution”, but what is it anyway?

The fountain solution

The fountain solution is a liquid that serves to keep the areas of the plate that do not have printing graphics, clean and ink-free.

The basic composition of the fountain solution comprises water, a buffer salt that keeps the pH between 4.8 and 5.5 and isopropyl alcohol in the proportion of 6% to 8%. The most important feature of the fountain solution is the amount or concentration of each ingredient present.

In order to evaluate whether the proportion of each ingredient is correct, the pH value is measured as this value varies proportionally with the concentration of acids in the solution. However, in the case of buffered solutions, the pH remains constant within a wide range of concentrations. That is why it becomes necessary to measure the conductivity, which, on the contrary, varies linearly with concentration, and is, therefore, the value that best expresses the quantity of ingredients in the solution. The conductivity of the fountain solution is evaluated using equipment that express the values in µS (micro Siemens).

Ink and fountain solution

Each work has its own point of equilibrium between the amount of ink and the amount of fountain solution needed.

There is a narrow range inside which the ink and the solution interact in a stable way. The lack of water is easily perceived, since it causes the clogging of points in shady (dry) areas; on the other hand, excess solution is not always easily perceived, unless it is really excessive. A small excess causes emulsification, slows down the ink drying process, reduces the gloss and the printout’s resistance to abrasion.

In conclusion, only the absolutely necessary amount of ink should be used to obtain the desired saturation, and only the absolutely necessary amount of fountain solution to keep the counter-graphic areas of the plate clean. The effective control of these processes significantly improves the print quality and the final result of the work.

Tips for choosing the right envelope

Did you know that all the houses in the world, even in the most remote areas, can be reached by post?

In the European Union alone, and according to data from the European Federation of Envelope Manufacturers, 30% of households do not have access to the Internet, which means that post mail remains the only way these people can receive things at home.

According to this organization, consumers have, contrary to what is often led to be believed, a very positive perception of traditional post and even prefer it to electronic mail in situations such as:

  • Personal messages (holiday cards, for example);
  • Important and confidential information sent by your management, your employees, your insurers or your banks;
  • Diplomas, certificates or other similar documents;

The paper comes from a renewable source – the trees.

For each tree that is cut down in Europe to produce paper, two other trees are planted.

The European organization of envelope manufacturers also adds that an electronic direct marketing campaign produces between 3.5 and 4.4 times more CO2 than the same campaign thought and executed with the printed paper as the base, with at least 3 emails being required for the impact / return of the campaign to be equivalent to that of regular mail.

Now that we have shown you the arguments that (rightly) defend the prevalence of paper over e-mail, it’s time to tell you about another very important thing: the envelopes.

Indeed. Although it is an issue that seems irrelevant, it is anything but that.

When deciding what we are going to send and where we are going to send it to, we must be careful to understand the path that this envelope will make to ensure that an appropriate envelope is used, especially if we are talking about envelopes that are going to be used in automatic enveloping machines.

So, there is much more behind the production of envelopes – or rather, of better-quality envelopes – than you might think.

Automatic enveloping machines.

Producing the best of envelopes also means that we pay attention to the fact that it passes the most difficult and demanding of the tests with distinction: automatic enveloping machines that examine each envelope, one by one, thereby making these machines the most demanding consumer we may have to face.

These machines have very high quality standards and require a huge prevalence of manufacturing techniques:

  • The paper must have the fibres in the right direction, as well as perfect porosity, strength and stiffness;
  • The envelope must have the same perfect and extremely specific folds as it should be properly sealed;
  • Lastly, adequate glue is necessary.

All of this proves one very important thing: making (good) envelopes is much more than simply folding paper.

Some tips to help you choose the right envelope

Finally, here are some tips to help you with this difficult and demanding process of choosing the right envelope for your communication piece.

  1. Enveloping: know the model and brand of the machine that will automatically process the envelopes.
  2. Size: it is fundamental that you choose the right size for that particular machine;
  3. Uniformization: this is one of the fundamental aspects of the whole process. There can be no variation in size or shape, as it could risk causing greater problems in the machine that will delay the enveloping process;
  4. The paper: must be thought of and specially designed as well as made for envelopes. The paper used for envelopes is different from all the other types of paper.
  5. The glue: must be appropriate for the envelope function. That means that, if it involves automatic enveloping the glue that is used should be one that reacts to the moistening with water (used in enveloping machines), if it is intended for normal use, active glue with protective tape should be used (to prevent the envelopes from sticking together inside the boxes and to facilitate the closing of the envelopes without the need to use normal glue).
  6. The envelope window: which is normally made of acetate (plastic) – must ensure enough transparency to allow the automatic or human reading of the address during the mail processing and distribution process by postal operators.
  7. Storage: Envelopes must be properly stored and ready for use at any time. The area where these will be stored should be dry and well ventilated.

In summary, the above are some of the most important points which should not be overlooked when we are talking about envelopes and automatic enveloping machines which, as we have been able to show you, are extremely sensitive and have very demanding standards.

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Millions of graphic pieces on its way to France and Morocco

We started the year in the best way with millions of A4 sheets and envelopes on its way to France and Morocco. By the end of the year, we estimate that more than 100 million A4 sheets will be shipped to France just for one of our customers! Other similar projects are coming to life in France, Morocco, Spain and Belgium, so the exportation perspectives this year are very positive.

As for most SMEs in Portugal, the process of internationalization is also part of the growth path for Contisystems.

The approach of new geographical markets brings challenges resulting not only from physical issues, such as distance and specific packaging needs, but also from cultural issues such as the different product descriptions or the language itself.

In order to face these challenges and provide all our customers around the globe with an experience of excellence, we have ensured adequate transportation and also language training to our commercial and support teams.

The combination of these factors with a consistent level of high quality and on time delivery has allowed Contisystems to grow in markets as diverse as Europe and North Africa by providing quality paper and envelopes to customers in a variety of business areas such as Banking, Insurance or Telecommunications.

Find out what we can do for your business.

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The Importance of Paper

As we look at the role of paper today, we are faced with the following questions: Does paper still remain important in these times we are living? Is direct mail (possibly one of the bastions of printed paper) still as relevant in the communication process of some companies? Read this article to learn more about the importance of paper.

We start with these questions, telling you right away that you will be able to find the answers in the course of this text, but what is important to emphasise here is that we live in an age in which we repeatedly and cyclically witness chronicles of announced deaths.

  • TV is going to die;
  • Twitter is going to die;
  • Facebook is going to die;
  • Newspapers are going to die;
  • Direct marketing is going to die;
  • People are pronounced dead – but are still alive after all – and even human beings have been foreseen to die at the hands of Artificial Intelligence, robots and extraterrestrials.

You get the idea . Right?

The same thing is happening with paper. In a time when everything is digital, scanned or scannable, the role of paper appears to have been forcibly relegated to second place.
Confused? We’ll explain.

To be more concrete, a plan seems to be in place to try to show that the paper is indeed dispensable and easily replaceable. Well, we have the hard mission of demonstrating just the opposite.
And nothing beats using concrete examples to do so.

Take the case of Tetra Pak, which announced in May of this year that it will replace plastic straws with paper ones.

We also have the example of Inapa, which presents kraft paper (the brown and recyclable one) as an alternative to plastic bags.

Renova itself has launched this year in the United Kingdom toilet paper packaging made of paper and not plastic.

And a Portuguese paper napkin factory that has also abandoned plastic (saving up to 460 tons/year ) to start using paper packages.

McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Disney, Ikea, Super Bock and Sagres, Sonae, Jerónimo Martins… all of them have already started the process of abandoning plastic in favor of … paper.

And if we remember Marketing and Advertising, for example, it is difficult to think that paper is dead or to striding towards extinction.

As you see, paper is a long way from being extinct. Don’t believe it? Let’s move right on to the examples, so that you can see why we say this with a lot of certainty.

Let’s observe and contrast digital vs.offline.

Looking at digital, we can easily conclude that email is now one of the main forms of communication on the planet, and it is possible to send targeted and personalised emails with excellent pieces of content that result in the lead becoming a conversion, a buyer becoming someone who is going to consume our contents and buy our products.

It is also possible to measure opening rates for these same emails, and to compose them by resorting to the most varied platforms, without forgetting the RGPD rules, etc. Therefore email is indeed a very complete communication tool. However, as far as personalisation itself is concerned, few things can beat a good direct mail. Especially if the sender really works on the copywriting, paper, graphics, personalisation and content he or she is sending.

Did you know that the email opening rate in 2017 was 36%? This means that 64% of outgoing emails are deleted before they can even be read. The information is from the Litmus Email Analytics study, from 2017.

Having a higher success rate, the waste associated with direct mail is considerably less, especially because the brand can and should adapt the message with points that capture the interest of that particular recipient and offers that are difficult to ignore. This is a communication technique that works in almost every market and with almost every product or customer.

If it is possible to transport something by mail, it is possible to choose direct mailing as a means of communication, with the guarantee that the degree of satisfaction of the recipient will be high.

When a brand chooses this type of channel, deep down it is offering something to the customer. At the very least, the brand is offering the client an immersive and completely different experience that is hard to forget. And this, dear friends, the email cannot do.

In many of these cases, direct mail is the essential complement to a marketing strategy, which has a maximum exponent of customer care in this format.

This is an act that can take place only for the simple pleasure of doing it, combined with the intention of pampering a customer with something that should preferably last and be a constant reminder of that brand in the life of the customer who receives it.

In the field of Marketing, there are still flyers, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, banners, posters, billboards, letters (yes, letters) and so many other means of communication – some more effective than others – whose existence and reason to exist are based on paper. Not to mention books. E-books are spectacular, but the paper books are unbeatable.

Have you ever wondered where you would write down notes to leave at home, if paper ceased to exist ? It’s best to not even think about that .

As you can see, good examples are not lacking, so our task has become much easier. Paper seems to be decidedly determined to let itself remain with us for a while.

The way we use it is changing as well as society’s awareness of the need to use environmentally friendly paper and recycle it in order to make the industry itself more sustainable and cleaner.

Take, for example, the use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper which gives the consumer full assurance that the raw material used comes from a certified forest. By opting for the consumption of materials with the FSC seal we are actively contributing to the improvement of forest management worldwide. In addition, we are also contributing to the certification of new forest areas and new companies.

It is therefore then possible to conclude that paper is far from dying. Quite the contrary.

Despite the ease of the digital world in terms of time savings and optimisation of tasks and resources, it is still very difficult to obtain the level of personalisation and conversion efficiency that direct mail has.

And that, dear reader, will be difficult to change, at least in the near future.

Oh, and let’s not forget one important detail: if digital fails, paper is always there to save the day.

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Offset printing, the most used printing process in the world

The printing process nowadays called Offset is the result of an evolution of lithography, which was developed at the end of the 17th century and consisted of printing using direct contact between the paper and the matrix that contained the image , a matrix that, at that time, was a polished stone and which today is known as plate.

Initially referred to as offset lithography, the main difference was that there was no direct contact between the paper and matrix by the introduction of a new rubber-based element called blanket, which avoid “smudges” and excess ink because of its better absorption capacity.

With the strong technological development from the mid-twentieth century, it is still one of the most used printing processes in the world today , presenting as a strong point the possibility of being used in a large number of formats , including practically all types of paper, from the more basic uncoated paper such as newsprint to high quality paper such as Conqueror or heavy paperboard and also plastics, namely polystyrene.

With the main characteristic of this process being the high quality achieved, the possibility of using various types of paints in combination with the various types of support enables the creation of high perceived value pieces, both for their utility as well as their differentiation, while transmitting to the end user a unique Customer Experience through virtually all senses, with the use of colors, textures and even smells that send us to other sensations.

The products resulting from this printing process are thus present in almost everything we use in our day-to-day lives , from the packaging of the products we buy to the books we read or the tickets of the shows we see, to the bank cards we use or even in decoration elements in our homes.

Despite the appearance of new printing processes and the growth of digital communication, offset printing is still the most widely used printing process in the world and will continue to address many of our communication needs across a wide range of industries.

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