Clairefontaine Blog Series
Companies that focus on the environment and charitable causes that also produce high-quality artist papers are a rare find. Clairefontaine is one brand that has successfully become a leader in this; with a reputation that is exceptional when it comes to their paper production as they control every stage of manufacturing. Their paper mill is on the Meurthe River in Étival-Clairefontaine, North-Eastern France, where they create exquisite paper for professionals and students alike.
Established in 1858, Clairefontaine began in an already fully established paper mill that was built in 1512. Jean-Baptiste Bichelberger chose this small town to take advantage of the local textile industry and the rags they provided. The company began from the creation of envelopes but by 1880 it began the production of notebooks. Now part of the Exacompta Clairefontaine Group, it is one of the most important factories within the region. It is the only paper manufacturer in France which means that they can maintain the environment whilst also providing an excellent and consistent product.
The Exacompta Clairefontaine Group Headquarters
In total they have four paper mills with their reputation upholding at each location. As mentioned above, their main site of production is Étival-Clairefontaine. Since expanding, they now have a mill dedicated to recycled paper in Everbal. The Mandeure mill focuses on heavy-weight and speciality papers and the Schut site in the Netherlands focuses on the top-end speciality papers. Although they have four mills they still focus on the environment, sourcing materials from FSC and PEFC certified companies.
As well as producing high-quality professional paper, they are also an untiring advocate in education. Since 1950, one of the companies main priorities was to produce the best tools for children’s education by providing quality notebooks to complete school-work. According to Unicef, as of 2019 there are approximately 115 million young people (aged 15 to 24) who are illiterate around the world and have never had the opportunity to go to school. Feeling that this figure is unacceptable, Clairefontaine support - and work closely with - Unicef, because they feel a child without education has no future.
Supporting Unicef means that they are able to build concrete projects to disadvantage school children. Since 2004, Clairefontaine has been committed in donating over two million euros of their profit every year in aide of supporting the charity. They have also endorsed the construction of buildings, teacher training and school products so all children can get an education that everyone should be entitled to.
Clairefontaine help school children get an education
Not only are they pioneers in the support for schools and education, but they also heavily support various sports and sport teams. They have partnered with many youth teams around France that focus on different disciplines such as football, hockey and basketball. They feel that providing a proper education to children is extremely valuable, but they also want to advocate the values of participating in physical exercise as well. Values such as respect, ambition and equality can be developed and constructed through exercise. These qualities are something that Clairefontaine share and are seen as invaluable assets within the brand.
This has led to them becoming huge sponsors towards many prestigious national youth football clubs in league one and two as a way to support young people who participate in fitness as well as promoting the importance of exercise.
One of Clairefontaine's Sponsored Teams
Clairefontaine also uses fitness and sport to help raise awareness for climate change. They work closely and sponsor OceanoScientific (previously known as the Meroceans Association). Working together their aim is to promote the environmental protection of the ocean by raising public awareness to the consequences of climate change; one way they achieve this is by holding an annual sailing race, Trophee Clairefontaine.
For over 150 years Clairefontaine has worked hard in creating a company that not only creates exquisite paper but thrives in supporting education and exercise. Believing that everyone should have an equal opportunity in learning and building values that advocate in targeting this quality. Choosing locations for their paper mills that take advantage of being in close proximity to sustainable and recyclable materials leads to the beginning of their environmentally-friendly ethos and culture. Not only does this company create perfect paper but they also create a perfect opportunity for values to grow, education to be taught, exercise to be encouraged and the environment to be safe.
Want to know more about this brand? Check out part two of our Clairefontaine series which explores how the paper is made.
Product Shots - Sandra Manchester