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How ethical are card shops?

Two high street card retailers score 0 for their sustainability policies and transparency
How ethical are card shops? Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

More than half (52%) of UK adults assume well-known businesses that sell greetings cards offer sustainable products made from well-managed forests, a YouGov poll for WWF has revealed.

Tackling illegal timber – Europeans want to be protected from buying products made from illegal wood

Hallmark vs Paperchase

Brits are the biggest card senders in the EU and almost 2 in 5 (39%) of us buy our cards from specialist card retailers.

But in WWF’s timber scorecard, only one of the reviewed card sellers, Hallmark, got a high score for its sustainability policy and transparency for consumers.

Card sellers Paperchase and Clintons Cards received the lowest possible mark: both retailers scored zero because they don’t currently share any information with customers about their policy to ensure the wood in their cards comes from healthy forests.

Loopy loopholes

Despite the industry being worth an estimated £1.6bn at Christmas time alone, greetings cards are among the products not covered by the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), which is designed to keep illegally sourced timber out of the marketplace.

The regulation is under review by the European Commission in Brussels, and WWF has been campaigning to have ‘loopy loopholes’ closed so that all goods that contain wood but are currently exempt from the EUTR – like books, cards, chairs and toys – are included.

Where’s the leadership?

There is no law requiring retailers to source their products from sustainable sources, and WWF is calling on businesses to ensure that the products they sell do not contribute to global deforestation.

‘Consumers have told us time and again they want businesses to act responsibly and help them buy sustainably.

‘Thousands of our supporters tweeted Paperchase and Clintons last week to try and persuade them to up their game. Clintons tweeted back that they are complying with the EU Timber Regulation, but say nothing about sustainability.

‘Paperchase tweeted that they are sourcing from sustainable wood sources but we still can’t find any policy about this on their website, and they are not responding to our direct enquiries about this. For such well-known brands, they should be demonstrating leadership on this issue.

‘It’s time our high street retailers listened to their customers – after all, it makes business as well as environmental sense to protect these resources from depletion.’

Julia Young, WWF’s adviser on sustainable and legal timber trade


The WWF-UK’s #SaveForests campaign is trying to get UK businesses to pledge to buy timber products from sustainable sources by 2020. Forests provide habitats for many endangered species, and also absorb CO2 and help the fight against climate change.

The campaign is designed to show that businesses can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem – and that they can help to secure a bright business future if they protect the natural resources required to sustain their business.

WWF is asking businesses to publish clear policies and stating how well they are doing in sustainable sourcing, so that customers can make an informed choice.

Click here to find out more about WWF’s #SaveForests campaign.

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