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Indigo Books and Music Inc. is becoming more transparent about its green standards; the largest book retailer in Canada will provide information online and at in-store kiosks about the eco-friendliness of its books, according to their environmental affiliate Canopy. If magazine buyers also have the opportunity to know whether their glossy volumes are printed with recycled paper or Forest Stewardship Council fibre, it makes for more informed purchases and a cleaner conscience.

But some magazines have already caught onto this: three of Canada’s magazine conglomerates, Rogers Publishing, Transcontinental Inc. and St. Joseph Communications have developed policies that favour recycled and FSC-certified fiber paper. Explore, Cottage Life, Unlimited and The Walrus print on ancient forest friendly paper.

And many titles like Canadian GeographicCanadian ArtMaclean’s, and Chatelaine are making an effort with 10 to 50 percent recycled material. Recycled stocks can range from 8 to 30 percent more expensive to print than non-recycled ones, so affordable options are out there for mags that want to switch over.

Keeping subscribers and newsstand purchasers abreast of the eco-friendliness of their favourite magazines can ensure that reader loyalty grows if enough trees are spared. And if providing the eco-status of books proves to pay off for green publishers, then it would be wise for more magazines to take a big leaf out of Indigo’s book.

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About the author

Adriana Rolston was the Director of Circulation and Advertising for the Summer 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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