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Domtar: Print those e-mails to your heart's content Add to ...

Domtar Corp. is getting frustrated with those "think before you print" messages at the bottom of so many e-mails.

Now the paper giant is planning a North American ad campaign to urge computer users to hit the print button - often.

The campaign - called Put It On Paper - is aimed at countering what Domtar's top executive says are the more "simplistic messages" about alleged forest destruction, which induce consumer guilt over the use of paper to print out e-mails and web pages.

John Williams, the president and chief executive officer of the Montreal-based fine-paper and pulp company, says the "think before you print" messages are "just bull" and he wants people to feel better about using paper responsibly.

"There is an appropriate use for paper. You should feel comfortable to use it appropriately and you shouldn't be feeling there is some environmental negative when you use it," Mr. Williams said at a news conference Monday.

"People do not have to feel guilty about using paper to print."


The campaign will use print ads but also have a strong social media dimension - on Facebook and YouTube - in order to reach younger people, who tend to be printer averse, Mr. Williams said.

"Young people really are not printers. When was the last time your children demanded a printer? They want the electronic device," Mr. Williams said after making a luncheon presentation to the Canadian Club.

"We've got to do some work about having them believe and feel that printing isn't a sort of environmental negative."

Mr. Williams' comments did not go down well in some environmental circles.

"What irks me is the fact that Domtar says it uses sustainable forestry practices when in fact they and others are opening up what should be protected forests in Quebec, threatening the habitat of some species," said Melissa Filion, acting Quebec director for Greenpeace Canada.

"To go against the current with this kind of campaign is to go backwards," she said. "We should be encouraging reduction of paper use and use of recycled paper."

Mr. Williams said in his presentation that Domtar enjoys "an enviable position" as a forestry company committed to the highest sustainability practices - harvesting from FSC certified forests -- but that it must find new growth areas to offset the decline of paper demand, expected to slip by 4 per cent a year over the next several years.

Domtar is a North American leader in the manufacture of copy paper.

Responsible forestry companies like Domtar are the stewards of the world's forests and ensure that they maintain their biodiversity, Mr. Williams, a consumer products industry veteran who took over as CEO of Domtar early last year, told reporters after his speech.

They typically plant three trees for every tree they harvest, he said.

"No one is more interested in the well-managed forest than the paper industry."

The key to winning over people in the campaign being launched is being "real," he said.

"I think it's very powerful and I think it's time and I don't apologize for the fact I think it's true and that this will resonate with young people."

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