Handwritten resistance to smartphone use

/INS. How can we persuade schoolchildren and teenagers to loosen their grip on their smartphones and write by hand instead? Bernard Bouvet is chairman of the Union Professionnelle de la Carte Postale, (UPCP), an advocacy organisation for the postcard industry in France. He may not have all the answers but he is at least practising active resistance. In recent years UPCP has put both itself and postcards on the map by creating the writing week Semaine de l’écriture, which aims to teach schoolchildren the value of writing texts by hand. Iggesund Paperboard has supported the campaign since its inception by providing materials for the postcards used in the various writing activities.

For the past three school years, UPCP has distributed a postcard on a specific theme – most recently it was love – and organised a competition for the best-composed postcard. A specially composed guide for teachers informs them not only about the competition but also about a range of other school activities that can be done with the postcards. The campaign has been successful – in the first school year 45,000 cards were sent out; this year it was 360,000 and next year the plan is to distribute more than half a million cards. And it is the schools that are driving this strong growth trend.

“Personally I believe it is a cultural achievement to promote writing by hand,” Bouvet explains as he waves an elegant fountain pen. “We cannot allow all communication to go via emails and text messages, with the resulting degeneration of the language.”

The postcard activities and the writing week are of course one method of defending the position of physical postcards in an ever-more digitalised world. The postcard industry in France peaked at the turn of the millennium and since then annual sales have fallen by 20 per cent. However, for the past four years sales have stabilised and are worth about 400 million Euro.

Taking greeting cards and tourist postcards together, the average French person sends seven cards a year. As chairman of the UPCP, Bouvet looks enviously at the UK market, where people each send 54 cards a year.

“But they have a different culture in that respect – it would seem that they even send cards when they get divorced,” he says with a touch of French astonishment at the peculiar habits of the British.

Bouvet began his career as an apprentice typesetter at the age of 14 before becoming a photographer of postcard pictures. He remained loyal to postcards until retiring in February 2015. Despite his retirement, he will continue as the chairman of the UPCP throughout 2016. After that, he wants to continue developing the writing week with new forms of cooperation. In his spare time he intends to teach his 18 grandchildren to put aside their smartphones and write more postcards.

Caption 1: “It’s a cultural achievement to promote writing by hand,” says Bernard Bouvet, chairman of the French Union Professionnelle de la Carte Postale (UPCP). “We cannot allow all communication to go via emails and text messages, with the resulting degeneration of the language.” © Iggesund

Caption 2, 3: During the second half of the year, the Union Professionnelle de la Carte Postale (UPCP) plans to distribute more than half a million postcards to French schools so pupils can learn the value of writing by hand. © Iggesund


Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.
Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Further information:

Staffan Sjöberg
Public Relations Manager

Iggesund Paperboard
SE-825 80 Sweden
Tel: +4665028256
Mobile: +46703064800


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Head office Iggesund Paperboard
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The Iggesund Mill

Making the world’s best paperboard is easy. You need water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to grow a seedling into a tree. Then you need sustainable forest management that can deliver first-class timber. There must be a pulp mill and a paperboard mill, and then distribution channels to get the paperboard to everyone who wants to use it. Most important of all, though, to the manufacture of Invercote are the skilled professionals who do their best – people who are proud of what they achieve and do not compromise on the quality of their work. Iggesunds Mill has traditions stretching back to 1685. Throughout that time dedicated individuals have done their utmost to use the renewable forest to benefit other people.

A world-class mill

Iggesund Mill (including Strömsbruk Mill) in Sweden is one of the most advanced, fully integrated pulp and paperboard mills in the world. Not least thanks to our long term majority owner, we have very well invested mills. There are many benefits having an integrated saw mill – we manage raw material together and we can use all the waste from their production to either make pulp or energy. In return we feed the saw mill with steam used to dry the timber. At Iggesund Mill, 100% of the pulp used to make Invercote is produced on location and pumped wet to the board machine. This means that we use no market pulp. Not drying the pulp preserves some mechanical properties of the fibres.

This advanced technology – hundreds of metres of paperboard machines – is controlled by employees with various forms of special expertise. The machines work around the clock and year round to produce tonne after tonne of dazzling white paperboard. Technical perfection and numerical control processes are all well and good but for excellent results you also need team spirit and a good working atmosphere. Invercote’s unique properties are the result of the interplay between expertise, a positive spirit and cutting-edge technology.

Actively investing in bioenergy

In 2012 the new recovery boiler was inaugurated at Iggesund Mill, an investment made possible by the long term perspective of our majority owner. With it in operation, the mill produces all the heat it needs, and can also provide district heating to the nearby community. It also produces nearly all the electricity needed for the mill, and is connected to the grid to be able to output excess electricity if needed. As the new boiler was trimmed into operation, it drastically reduced a lot of emissions between 2013 and 2014: fossil CO2 by >85%, particles by ~45% and sulphur by ~35%

With the installation and trimming of the new recovery boiler, emissions to air have reduced drastically from already low levels – graph being updated shortly. Measurements have shown that only 1% of particles in the air of Iggesund village comes from the mill. The majority of particles comes from domestic fire places and cars.

Care for our customers and their businesses

Paperboard must be there when the customer needs it. All the quality features in the world are meaningless if the deliveries don’t arrive in time. Delivery precision is a high priority. A maritime transport system guarantees overseas customers receive shipments with the lowest possible environmental impact. The service doesn’t stop there. Every tonne of Invercote comes with access to documentation and knowledge about how to make best use of the paperboard. The knowledge and market-based technical support provided by Iggesund, help customers to achieve dazzling end results and optimal production economics.