Congratulations to the French government, which has pledged to reduce its paper consumption by half by 2012. In November 2008 it will host a seminar to discuss how this commitment can be put into practice and replicated in other European countries. By pledging a 50% cut in paper consumption France has demonstrated understanding that Europe's environmental footprint is twice what the planet can sustain, and also shown the political will to act upon that understanding. France currently has the presidency of Europe, and is thus in an excellent position to lead its European neighbours towards more sustainable consumption.
The French target can be found first in the 2007 National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement, and it was recently reinforced by the undertakings of the Environment Round Table (Grenelle de l’Environnement). A White Paper on the implementation of the Environment Round Table (Title IV, Article 42, line c) states: "[The Government’s objective] between now and 2012 is to achieve a 50% reduction in paper consumption by its departments."
The same White Paper also includes the following commitment: "By 2012, only recycled paper – or paper obtained from sustainably-managed forests – will be used."
The seminar in November will feature the Shrink Project. It is being organised jointly by Amis De La Terre (Friends of the Earth, France) and the French government. For more details see here: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/Colloque-Consommation-et-achat.html