What is CO2-SMART™?

CO2-SMART™ is Fridholm & Partners’ method for estimating and compensate for  CO2-impact of printed matter.

How does it work?

  • We look at paper production, printing and transport both to and from the printing house.
  • We get automatic comparisons between various papers and can already before production help chosig a more climate smart alternative in order to reduce the CO2-impact.
  • When all details are decided, we compensate for at least the same amount of  CO2 – we rather compensate too much than too little!
  • Printed matter that are CO2-calculated and compensated by us can be marked with the logo and text ”CO2-SMART™ printed matter – co2smart.se”.
  • Data for all productions are stored for 8 years in our database Filter™, where we can check any marked production. A unique ID-number in connection with the logo simplify the search, but is not obligatory.


Paper production in our Nordic region gets it’s raw material from regulated forestry. Forestry itself is a natural cycle, where the CO2 released from the wood material is bound up by new, planted forest. If you want total control down to the individual forestry, FSC– and PEFC-labeled paper is available.

In the paper industry, there is an established standard called ”Paper Profile”. It shows facts about the production of a specific paper, with information about at which paper mill the production took place, how much direct CO2 emissions have occurred during the production due to the burning of fossil fuels, and how much electricity has been bought from the market.

Papermaking is energy-intensive. The energy mix used in the production is the decisive factor for the paper’s CO2 impact.

For market electricity, we use the key figure g CO2 / kWh for each country, which the EU has compiled. This means, for example, that 1 kWh of purchased electricity in Sweden gives a smaller CO2 footprint (8.8 for 2020) than 1 kWh of purchased electricity in Poland (709.8 for 2020), as Swedish electricity has a high proportion of hydropower and nuclear power, while Polish electricity still has a high proportion of coal power.


Printing is the most complex part to calculate, as there are a large number of different printing presses, which in turn are available in printing houses in different countries.

We start by looking at the printing technology used. For lower print runs sheet fed offset is most common, while higher print runs are often produced in web offset.

We look at how much paper waste is calculated, ie how much paper is used to produce the finished printed matter. If, for example, we are to produce 780 kg of brochures net, then perhaps 850 kg of paper is needed, which is the amount we are to calculate the CO2 impact for, both for papermaking and transport to the printing plant. The amount of paper wasted varies depending on the printing technique used.

Then we look at energy consumption. In web offset, the paper web passes through a heat tunnel, which usually uses fossil ”natural gas”. In cases where the printing plant uses biogas instead, a lower CO2 impact is achieved. The same applies to the printing plant’s electricity consumption. Printing companies that only use renewable electricity have a lower CO2 impact here. In the same way as for paper, we otherwise look at the electricity mix for market electricity for the country where the printing house is located.

Finally, we look at other consumption such as printing plates, printing inks, etc. In cases where the customer has planned to laminate the cover (a plastic film that is baked into the cover paper), we look at varnish as an alternative, as it is much more climate-smart.


Transport is an essential part of the CO2 impact, and for printed matter consists of the transport of paper from the paper mill to the printing house, as well as the finished printed matter from the printing house to the client.

Transports of wood raw material are included in the calculation for paper, so they should not be taken into account again here. Any distribution after delivery to the client, such as postal delivery, is calculated in the next step.

We know how much the finished printed matter will weigh net, and based on the calculated loss in print production, we can calculate the gross weight that is transported from the paper mill to the printing house and convert it to the number of pallets, so we can get a key figure ”pallet kilometers”, where we can then use established templates. If, for example, we are to produce 780 kg net, then maybe it takes 850 kg of paper, which in turn means that we have to calculate shipping from the paper mill on two pallets instead of one.

We look at which paper(s) are used and retrieve GPS coordinates for current paper mills from our database. We also have GPS coordinates for the printing companies we use. Therefore, we can quite accurately calculate the transport distance and the calculations are automatic.

From printer to client, we have the same GPS information for the printer and of course we also know where we are to deliver, so we also collect GPS coordinates for the delivery address(es). The transport is now calculated on the weight of the finished printed matter.

We currently have a small error in our calculation of transports in cases where the goods go by ferry and not just by truck. This is especially true when we produce in Finland or the Baltics, for delivery to Scandinavia or mainland Europe. Sea transport has only about 1/10 CO2 impact compared with the corresponding land transport. The ferry Tallinn-Stockholm is 416 km and thus corresponds to no more than a little over 40 km on the road. Our calculation is based on a truck, so we end up a little too high in these cases and compensate a little too much.

Climate compensation

The goal is to make our and our customers’ CO2 impact as small as possible from the beginning, and then compensate the rest via a partner, ViSkogen or Myclimate. This is either done by arranging for the exchange of CO2-influencing energy for clean energy, so that the CO2-impact is reduced to a corresponding degree, or by replanting rainforest.

Be CO2-SMART™ you to!