Africa Travel Week
Movers & Shakers_Web Banner_Roxanne Schumann

Roxanne Schumann: Co-owner and Founder of Growing Paper

87% of travellers want to travel more sustainably – and they’re looking to travel suppliers to empower them to achieve this goal.

Sustainability is the travel trend on everyone’s watchlist, and it has been for years. It’s on almost every traveller’s radar, and you can be sure that they’re actively separating the eco-friendly brands from those guilty of “greenwashing” or simply not trying at all.

Enter Growing Paper, a local business manufacturing 100% recycled, plantable and biodegradable handmade paper products, and empowering various industries to do better when it comes to protecting the environment.

Growing Paper manufactures plantable and biodegradable business cards, envelopes, notebooks, sleeves and many more incredible products. It’s also the company behind the plantable tags inside the lanyards provided to attendees at the upcoming WTM Africa 2023 event.

Roxanne Schumann is one of the incredible entrepreneurs behind the brand, working hard to plant seeds of change – and to help others do the same.

What inspired you to start Growing Paper?

My initial inspiration came from sitting at a wedding and realising how much time and effort go into creating wedding stationery. Despite this, after the initial use, it’s most likely thrown away or stashed away in a drawer forever. After the idea was planted, I realised plantable paper products could be a solution on so many levels.

Why do you believe Growing Paper’s products are aligned with the travel industry?

In today’s world, sustainability is at the forefront of many people’s minds. As consumers become increasingly aware of the impact of their choices, they are looking for eco-friendly alternatives in all aspects of their lives, including their travels. We believe our product is an innovative product solution aligned with the industry for several reasons:

  • Sustainability: Seeded paper is made from recycled materials and contains seeds, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional paper products.
  • Unique Branding: Our seeded paper products can be customised, as they can be produced in various sizes and shapes, making them easy to incorporate into a wide range of materials.
  • Positive Impression: By incorporating seed paper into their operations, tourism-based brands can create a positive and long-lasting impression on their clients. They’re not only demonstrating they’re committed to sustainability, but they’re also providing clients with a unique and memorable experience.
  • Marketing Opportunities: Seed paper can also be used for promotional materials such as business cards, brochures and itineraries. This provides companies with a unique marketing opportunity, as clients can take the seed paper home and plant it, creating a lasting reminder of their travels.

How do you feel about the sustainable/eco-travel trend?

This is a very positive move in the right direction, since the travel industry doesn’t affect just certain countries or areas, but the entire world. And exactly for this reason, it is so important for the travel industry to focus on creating a sustainable solution for their clients.

What is your advice to businesses operating in the travel industry regarding maximising sustainability?

  • Reduce Environmental Impact: Consider reducing single-use plastics during tours and implement eco-friendly practices like using reusable water bottles and bags.  Even at these trade show events and conferences, exhibitors and attendees should be digitising most of their marketing materials and only using recycled materials for memorable promotional materials worth investing in.
  • Support Local Community: Partner with local businesses when it comes to your supply chain products and operations by sourcing locally-made goods and services and supporting their economic growth.
  • Use Eco-Friendly Alternatives: Accommodation providers have access to quality, effective environmentally sustainable cleaning and beauty products, all of which support small local business owners.
  • Educate Travellers: Educate travellers about the importance of sustainable tourism practices, such as avoiding close-up interactions with wildlife, understanding local cultural norms and doing their part to protect the environment.
  • Support a Philanthropic Partner: Contribute a portion of all your bookings back to a meaningful social or conservation organisation that is having a measurable impact in the community you are operating.

By adopting these practices, tourism companies can minimise their environmental impact and support the local communities they serve. By working together, we can bring about positive change and create a better future for generations to come.

How do you feel playing such an important part in keeping WTM Africa 2023 “green”?

It’s an honour to be showcased as a socially and environmentally positive supply chain alternative to the tourism industry. We hope our brand and product create awareness on a micro and macro level and encourage other businesses to think differently about how they can differentiate themselves. This differentiation extends not only from a marketing perspective but also in demonstrating their leadership and commitment to the positive steps we all must take in the way we work, live and play to minimise the impacts of our lifestyles on the planet.

Will you be joining us to recover, rebuild and innovate at WTM Africa 2023? Check out Growing Paper’s interactive display at the Sustainability Village near the Responsible Tourism stage.

Finally, don’t forget to recycle your plantable lanyard in the recycling bin provided upon exiting the venue of the event’s final day.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.