Marketers should not make broad, unqualified general environmental benefit claims like ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly.’ Broad claims are difficult to substantiate, if not impossible.
-U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 2013
Environmentally-conscious consumers rely on corporate messages to inform their purchasing choices. Yet it is not uncommon for organizations to make erroneous environmental claims that reducing the use of paper and using electronic services (i.e. e-billing, e-statements) is ‘green’, ‘better for the environment’ or ‘saves trees’. Not only are these claims unsubstantiated and misleading, they also run afoul of guidelines published by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (Green Guides), the Competition Bureau of Canada and the International Standardization Organization (ISO). Most of the companies using these claims have paid little or no attention to the growing environmental footprint of their digital infrastructure which is far from negligible (Arnfalk, P. 2010).
Two Sides has contacted these companies with the real facts including:
Unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims like “go paperless, go green” are damaging to the North American economy and threaten millions of jobs.
As a result of Two Sides ongoing educational campaign, over 100 leading North American companies have removed or corrected environmental claims being used to promote electronic billing and other e-services as a more environmentally-friendly solution than paper. Many of these companies are top Fortune 100 organizations in the banking, utilities, telecommunications and insurance sectors. A full list of organizations that Two Sides has engaged with is available for Two Sides member companies.
100 North American companies remove “go paperless – go green” claims
Print and Paper-friendly email footers
Contrary to Popular Thinking, Going Paperless Does Not Save Trees (Report by Dovetail Partners)
Verizon green claims are misleading and unsubstantiated
70% success rate for Two Sides in tackling global greenwash
Two Sides launches new global initiative to stop the use of misleading “go green – go paperless” environmental claims
Article featuring Two Sides’ success in The Guardian
U.S. FTC Summary of the Green Guides
Sustainable Marketing Checklist
Two Sides Fact Sheets: