White paper

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.

The initial British term concerning a type of government-issued document has proliferated, taking a somewhat new meaning in business. In business, a white paper is closer to a form of marketing presentation, a tool meant to persuade customers and partners and promote a product or viewpoint.[1][2][3] White papers may be considered grey literature.

In government

The term white paper originated with the British government, and many point to the Churchill White Paper of 1922 as the earliest well-known example under this name.[4] In British government it is usually the less extensive version of the so-called blue book, both terms being derived from the colour of the document's cover.[2]

White papers are a "... tool of participatory democracy ... not [an] unalterable policy commitment."[5] "White papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them."[6]

In Canada, a white paper is "...a policy document, approved by Cabinet, tabled in the House of Commons and made available to the general public."[7] The "provision of policy information through the use of white and green papers can help to create an awareness of policy issues among parliamentarians and the public and to encourage an exchange of information and analysis. They can also serve as educational techniques."[8]

White papers are a way the government can present policy preferences before it introduces legislation. Publishing a white paper tests public opinion on controversial policy issues and helps the government gauge its probable impact.[9]

By contrast, green papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open-ended. Also known as consultation documents, green papers may merely propose a strategy to implement in the details of other legislation, or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.

Examples of governmental white papers include, in Australia, the White Paper on Full Employment and, in the United Kingdom, the White Paper of 1939 and the 1966 Defence White Paper.

In business-to-business marketing

Since the early 1990s, the term "white paper", or "whitepaper", has been applied to documents used as marketing or sales tools in business. These white papers are long-form content designed to promote the products or services from a specific company. As a marketing tool, these papers use selected facts and logical arguments to build a case favorable to the company sponsoring the document. B2B (business-to-business) white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or inform and persuade prospective customers, channel partners, journalists, analysts, or investors.

White papers are considered to be a form of content marketing or inbound marketing; in other words, sponsored content available on the web with or without registration, intended to raise the visibility of the sponsor in search engine results and thus build web traffic. Many B2B white papers argue that one particular technology, product or method is superior to others for solving a specific business problem. They may also present research findings, list a set of questions or tips about a certain business issue, or highlight a particular product or service from a vendor.[10]

There are, essentially, three main types of commercial white papers:

  • Backgrounder: Describes the technical or business benefits of a certain vendor's offering; either a product, service, or methodology. This type of white paper is best used to supplement a product launch, argue a business case, or support a technical evaluation at the bottom of the sales funnel.
  • Numbered list: Presents a set of tips, questions, or points about a certain business issue. This type is best used to get attention with new or provocative views, or cast aspersions on competitors.
  • Problem/solution: Recommends a new, improved solution to a nagging business problem. This type is best used to generate leads at the top of the sales funnel, build mind share, or inform and persuade stakeholders, building trust and credibility in the subject.[11]

While a numbered list may be combined with either other type, it is not workable to combine the detailed product information of a backgrounder with the industry-wide perspective of a problem/solution white paper.


Several variations on the colour theme exist:

  • The green paper is a proposal or consultative document rather than being authoritative or final.

Two others are much less well established:

  • A blue paper sets out technical specifications of a technology or item of equipment.[12]
  • A yellow paper is a document containing research that has not yet been formally accepted or published in an academic journal. It is synonymous to the more widely used term preprint.

See also


  1. ^ Graham, Gordon. "What exactly is a white paper?". The White Paper FAQ. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b Rouse, Margaret. "white paper definition". TechTarget. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  3. ^ Stelzner, Michael A. (2008). "Learn all about white papers". Whitepaper Source Publishing.
  4. ^ James, Anthony (17 June 2017). "Origin of White Papers". Klariti.com. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  5. ^ Doerr, Audrey D. The Role of White Papers. In: Doern, G.B. and Peter Aucoin. The Structures of Policy-making in Canada. Toronto, MacMillan, 1971. pp. 179-203.
  6. ^ Pemberton, John E. Government Green Papers. Library World 71:49 Aug. 1969.
  7. ^ Doerr, Audrey D. The Role of White Papers in the Policy-making Process: the Experience of the Government of Canada. 1973. Thesis (Ph.D) - Carleton University. 1. 56
  8. ^ Doerr, Audrey D. The Machinery of Government. Toronto, Methuen, 1981. p. 153.
  9. ^ Chapin, Henry and Denis Deneau. Citizen involvement in Public Policy-making: Access and the Policy-making Process. Ottawa, Canadian Council on Social Development, 1978. p. 33.
  10. ^ Kantor, Jonathan (2009). Crafting White Paper 2.0: Designing Information for Today's Time and Attention Challenged Business Reader. Denver, Colorado: Lulu Publishing. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-557-16324-3.
  11. ^ Graham, Gordon (2010). How to Pick the Perfect Flavor for Your Next White Paper. ThatWhitePaperGuy. p. 15.
  12. ^ "Blue Paper". Genuine Writing. Retrieved 13 December 2017.

Further reading

  • Graham, Gordon (2013). White Papers For Dummies. New York: Wiley. p. 366. ISBN 978-1-118-49692-3.
  • Stelzner, Michael (2006). Writing White Papers: How to capture readers and keep them engaged. Poway, California: WhitePaperSource Publishing. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-9777169-3-7.
  • Bly, Robert W. (2006). The White Paper Marketing Handbook. Florence, Kentucky: South-Western Educational Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-324-30082-6.

External links

1957 Defence White Paper

The 1957 White Paper on Defence (Cmnd. 124) was a British white paper setting forth the perceived future of the British military. It had profound effects on all aspects of the defence industry but probably the most affected was the British aircraft industry. Duncan Sandys, the recently appointed Minister of Defence, produced the paper.

The decisions were influenced by two major factors: the finances of the country and the coming of the missile age. Where before combat in the air would have been between aircraft, with high flying bombers carrying nuclear weapons and fast interceptor fighter aircraft trying to stop them, now the guided missile, particularly the surface-to-air missile, threatened all aircraft. The emergent space age showed that missiles could also deliver those nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.

1969 White Paper

The 1969 White Paper (officially entitled Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy) was a proposal set forth by the Government of Canada. It is a Canadian policy paper proposal made in 1969 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chrétien. The White Paper's lead purpose was to abolish all legal documents that had previously existed, including (but not limited to) the Indian Act, and all existing treaties within Canada. Under the legislation of the White Paper, Indian Status would be eliminated. First Nations Peoples would be incorporated fully into provincial government responsibilities as equal Canadian citizens, and reserve status would be removed imposing the laws of private property in indigenous communities. Any special programs or considerations that had been allowed to First Nations people under previous legislation would be terminated, as the special considerations were seen by the Government to act as a means to further separate Indian peoples further from Canadian citizens. The White Paper was met with widespread criticism, and activism, causing the proposal of the White Paper to be officially withdrawn in 1970.

1973 Northern Ireland Assembly election

The 1973 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly took place following the publication of the British government's white paper Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals which proposed a 78-member Northern Ireland Assembly, elected by proportional representation.

A cross-community coalition of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) under Brian Faulkner, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland was agreed in November, and following the Sunningdale Agreement, a Power Sharing Executive was established from 1 January 1974. After opposition from within the UUP and the Ulster Workers Council Strike, the executive and assembly collapsed in May 1974.

Australian Army

The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) commands the ADF, the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army (CA). The CA is therefore subordinate to the CDF, but is also directly responsible to the Minister for Defence. Although Australian soldiers have been involved in a number of minor and major conflicts throughout its history, only in World War II has Australian territory come under direct attack.

Chequers plan

The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union (more commonly known as the Chequers plan, deal or agreement) is a UK Government white paper concerning Brexit, published on 12 July 2018 by the Prime Minister, Theresa May. The paper laid out the type of future relationship between UK and European Union (EU) that the UK sought to achieve in the Brexit negotiations.In July 2018, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Secretary), Dominic Raab, described it as a "detailed proposal for a principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU". He also stated that "[t]he white paper proposes a free trade area for goods to maintain frictionless trade, supported by a common rulebook and a new facilitated customs arrangement, but only for the rules that are necessary to provide frictionless trade at the border."The white paper was finalised at a meeting of the UK Cabinet held at Chequers on 6 July 2018. Brexit Secretary, David Davis, and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, resigned in opposition to the plan. The plan was rejected by the EU in September 2018.

Churchill White Paper

The Churchill White Paper of 3 June 1922, officially Correspondence with the Palestine Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organisation was drafted at request of Sir Winston Churchill in response to the 1921 Jaffa Riots which began with intra-Jewish violence escalated into Arab attacks against Jews. Although the attacks were primarily perpetrated by the Arabs, the British White Paper concluded that the violence was sparked by resentment towards Jewish Zionists and the perceived favoritism towards them by the British, as well as Arab fears of subjugation. While maintaining Britain's commitment to the Balfour declaration and its promise of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, "internationally guaranteed" and "recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection," the paper emphasized that the establishment of a Jewish National Home would not impose a Jewish nationality on the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and "the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian". To

reduce tensions between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine the paper called for a limitation of Jewish immigration to "the economic capacity of the country to absorb new arrivals". This limitation was considered a great setback to many in the Zionist movement, though unlike the later White Paper of 1939, it acknowledged the necessity that "the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration", "as of right not of sufferance".

Energy policy of the United Kingdom

The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007 and Low Carbon Transition Plan of July 2009, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review Report in 2006. It was led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, then headed by Amber Rudd (the DECC was disbanded on 14 July 2016). The current focus of policy are on reforming the electricity market, rolling out smart meters and improving the energy efficiency of the UK building stock through the Green Deal.

French Armed Forces

The French Armed Forces (French: Forces armées françaises) encompass the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the National Guard and the Gendarmerie of the French Republic. The President of France heads the armed forces as chef des armées.

France maintains the sixth largest defence budget in the world and the first in the European Union (EU). France has the largest armed forces in size in the European Union. France also maintains the world's third-largest nuclear deterrent (behind Russia and the United States).


Haganah (Hebrew: הַהֲגָנָה, lit. The Defence) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in the British Mandate of Palestine (1921–48), which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

India paper

India paper is a type of paper which from 1875 has been based on bleached hemp and rag fibres, that produced a very thin, tough opaque white paper. It has a basis weight of 20 pounds, yet bulks 1,000 pages to the inch.It became popular in particular for the printing of Bibles, which could be made relatively small and light while remaining legible. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica boasted, "Printed on thin, but strong opaque India paper, each volume but one inch in thickness." The process was used particularly by the Oxford University Press and its paper suppliers. The name arose because the paper imitated fine papers imported from the Indian subcontinent.India paper has also often been used for the printing of die proofs of postage stamps.

Local Government Act 1972

The Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974.Its pattern of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan county and district councils remains in use today in large parts of England, although the metropolitan county councils were abolished in 1986, and both county and district councils were replaced with unitary authorities in many areas in the 1990s.

In Wales, too, the Act established a similar pattern of counties and districts, but these have since been entirely replaced with a system of unitary authorities.

It was one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Government of 1970–74 and is surpassed only by the European Communities Act 1972 which took the United Kingdom into the European Communities.

Elections were held to the new authorities in 1973, and they acted as "shadow authorities" until the handover date. Elections to county councils were held on 12 April, for metropolitan and Welsh districts on 10 May, and for non-metropolitan district councils on 7 June.

Passfield white paper

The Passfield White Paper, issued October 20, 1930, by colonial secretary Lord Passfield (Sidney Webb), was a formal statement of British policy in Palestine, which previously had been set by the Churchill White Paper of 1922. The new statement resulted from the Hope-Simpson Commission's investigation into the deeper causes of the 1929 Palestine riots, that initially started over access to the Western Wall. The white paper limited official Jewish immigration to a much greater degree.

The paper's tone was decidedly anti-Zionist since several of its institutions were severely criticized, including the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) and the Jewish Agency, which both promoted Jewish employment of only Jewish labor, thereby supporting the ejection of Arabs from purchased land, most who previously worked under a tenant farming system. Like the Hope-Simpson Report, the Passfield White Paper found this Zionist policy damaging to the economic development of the Arab population. It concluded that Jewish immigration to Palestine was taking land from the Arab fellahs; sales of land to Jewish settlers should in future be restricted, and Arab unemployment levels should be a factor in considering permitted levels of Jewish immigration to Palestine. Furthermore, a legislative council should be formed which would represent the (Arab) majority of its population. In support of the supposed shortage of land in Palestine, Passfield's wife Beatrice Webb claimed that there was "no room to swing a cat" there.Zionists claimed it backtracked from what they felt were commitments in the Balfour Declaration and, if implemented, would limit Jewish immigration to Palestine. Contrary to these claims, the White Paper states that the development of a Jewish National Home in Palestine is a consideration, which would enjoy continued support, but it was not central to mandate governance. The paper states that the British intend to fulfill their mandate obligations to both Arabs and Jews, and they would resolve any conflicts that might surface as a result of their respective needs.

Zionist organizations worldwide mounted a vigorous campaign against the document. In Britain it led to British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald's clarification of the white paper in front of the British House of Commons and in a letter to Chaim Weizmann in 1931 (see below) known as the MacDonald Letter.

The MacDonald Letter aimed to placate the Zionists while disturbing the Arabs as little as possible. When many Zionists took the letter as a withdrawal of the white paper, it became labelled the 'black letter' by Arabs. This was despite the fact that Prime Minister said in parliament on 11 February 1931 that he was "very unwilling to give the letter the same status as the dominating document" i.e. the Passfield White Paper. The letter itself also stated that it aimed to provide justice to "non-Jewish sections of the community". By confirming that the policy of the Palestine Mandate was to continue to support Jewish immigration, the Letter in effect negated some of the implications of the White Paper and facilitated increasing immigration during the growth of anti-semitism in Europe in the 1930s.

Petro (cryptocurrency)

The petro, or petromoneda, launched in February 2018, is a supposed cryptocurrency issued by the government of Venezuela. As of August 2018 it does not appear to function as a currency.Announced in December 2017, it is supposed to be backed by the country's oil and mineral reserves, and is intended to supplement Venezuela's plummeting bolívar fuerte currency, as a means of circumventing U.S. sanctions and accessing international financing. On 20 August 2018 the bolívar soberano (Sovereign Bolivar) was introduced, with the government stating it would be linked to the petro coin value.

Photographic printing

Photographic printing is the process of producing a final image on paper for viewing, using chemically sensitized paper. The paper is exposed to a photographic negative, a positive transparency (or slide), or a digital image file projected using an enlarger or digital exposure unit such as a LightJet printer. Alternatively, the negative or transparency may be placed atop the paper and directly exposed, creating a contact print. Photographs are more commonly printed on plain paper, for example by a color printer, but this is not considered "photographic printing".

Following exposure, the paper is processed to reveal and make permanent the latent image.

Sony Xperia

Xperia () is the brand name of smartphones and tablets from Sony Mobile. The name Xperia is derived from the word "experience", and was first used in the Xperia X1 tagline, "I Xperia the best".

Sony Mobile was previously known globally as Sony Ericsson before re-branding in 2012, as a result of the mobile phone manufacturer being taken over and solely owned by Sony.

Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces

The unification of the Canadian Armed Forces took place on 1 February 1968, when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged to form the Canadian Armed Forces.

White Paper of 1939

The White Paper of 1939 was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in response to the 1936–39 Arab Revolt. Following its formal approval in the House of Commons on 23 May 1939, it acted as the governing policy for Mandatory Palestine from 1939 until the British departure in 1948, the matter of the Mandate meanwhile having been referred to the United Nations.The policy, first drafted in March 1939, was prepared by the British government unilaterally as a result of the failure of the Arab-Zionist London Conference. The paper called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state within 10 years, rejecting the idea of partitioning Palestine. It also limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 for 5 years, and ruled that further immigration was to be determined by the Arab majority (section II). Restrictions were put on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs (section III).

The proposal did not meet the political demands proposed by Arab representatives during the London Conference and was officially rejected by the representatives of Palestine Arab parties acting under the influence of Haj Amin Eff el Husseini while more moderate Arab opinion represented in the National Defence Party was prepared to accept the White Paper.Zionist groups in Palestine immediately rejected the White Paper. There was a campaign of attacks on government property, which lasted for several months. On 18 May a Jewish general strike was called.Regulations governing land transfers and clauses relating to immigration were implemented although at the end of the five-year period in 1944, only 51,000 of the 75,000 immigration certificates provided for had been utilized. In circumstances where Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing violence and persecution, the White Paper's limits were relaxed and legal immigration was permitted to continue indefinitely at the rate of 18,000 a year. Key provisions were ultimately never to be implemented, initially because of cabinet opposition following the change in government, and later because of preoccupation with World War II.

White Paper on the National Transition of Catalonia

The White Paper on the National Transition of Catalonia is a white paper that analyzes the different aspects to consider in the process of transition towards an independent Catalonia. The book, published by the Government of Catalonia in 2014, includes all of the reports prepared by the Advisory Council for the National Transition and a summary of those made by the Secretary of the Council.

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