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Rolling Stone's Green Issue Rocks On Content, Dulls On Paper

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snipshot_e41ko7neadc7.jpgSpecial green issues of magazines are quickly becoming synonymous with the myriad of other annual themes that make their way into print. What environmentalists are hoping, however, is that the “special” tag gets dropped and mags embrace the message in every issue.

Rolling Stone Magazine is taking their first steps with a July green issue that’s already coming under heat from eco groups. Besides the standard interview with Gore and an article by Robert Kennedy Jr., the largest aspect being harped is that the mag will be printed on “carbon-neutral paper”. Allow us to explain:

Rolling Stone is purchasing the paper from a paper mill in Canada called Catalyst that plants a tree for every one cut down. These trees are then left standing and are not harvested later. So, in effect, the claim is that these trees will help cool the planet and offset the carbon dioxide produced from the paper milling process.

Unfortunately, that’s about as green as the paper gets. The July issue contains absolutely no recycled content; a move that has sparked the ire of several environmental non-profits. Rolling Stone claims that the quality of their publication would suffer since recycled paper does not offer the same treatment for photographs as standard stock. Might they be bluffing? Another publishing company believes so. From the article,

“Mansueto Ventures, which publishes Inc. and Fast Company, announced last week that it had switched both its publications to 100 percent recycled paper and had noticed no slip in quality.

‘It did really used to be true that you would lose quality by switching to recycled, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore,’ John Koten, chief executive and editor in chief of Mansueto, wrote in an e-mail message.”

Personally, I believe it’s a first good start for Rolling Stone on “greening” their operations. They’ve always been great at writing about green initiatives well before other publications and this green issue may just be a toe in the water for feeling out future direction. With so many other magazines taking the plunge, however, let’s hope they decide to start swimming soon.

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