November 28, 2012
This week we posted our new resource page on Environmental Marketing Best Practices for Print and Paper.
The objective of this page is to provide marketers with some guidelines, tools and advice on how to promote the environmental benefits of print and paper products, and avoid “greenwashing” (the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service – see Terrachoice). This resource page also supports our current nationwide educational campaign to help companies better understand the sustainability of print and paper and to create greater awareness of best practices for environmental marketing.
As part of this effort, Two Sides has compiled a detailed FAQ sheet to answer the most frequently asked questions about environmental marketing best practices and a list of resources to help companies navigate green marketing do’s and don’ts.
To access a PowerPoint (PDF) version of “Self-declared Environmental Marketing Do’s and Don’ts”, click here.
The U.S. FTC Summary of the Green Guides is a must read and can be found here. It outlines the key highlights of the new FTC guide for environmental marketing.
To date, one of the best tools I have found for applying proper sustainable marketing is a series of checklists developed by CSR Europe. The basics of proper environmental marketing are similar throughout the world and I recommend this tool for anyone who wants to follow best practices.
Below are a few key facts to consider:
Marketers should not make broad, unqualified general environmental benefit claims like “green” or “eco-friendly”. Broad claims are difficult to substantiate, if not impossible.
Claiming “green, made with recycled content” may be deceptive if the environmental costs of using recycled content outweigh the environmental benefits of using it.”
A self-declared environmental claim shall be: accurate and not misleading; substantiated and verified; relevant to that particular product, and used only in an appropriate context or setting; presented in a manner that clearly indicates whether the claim applies to the complete product, or only to a component part or packaging, or to an element of a service.
The most common of the Seven Sins of Greenwashing is the “sin of no proof,” which is defined as an environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification.
I hope you find our new resource useful and I always appreciate feedback of any kind.
Phil Riebel, President and COO, Two Sides U.S., Inc.