July 24, 2012
Two Sides U.S. has joined the Forest Legality Alliance (FLA) as a commitment to advancing the responsible production and use of print and paper, one of the core elements of the Mission of Two Sides U.S.
The press release was issued today and can be found at this link.
The Alliance is a joint effort of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and theEnvironmental Investigation Agency, supported by the United States Agency for International Development and companies in the forest sector. FLA’s diverse membership includes organizations such as Staples, Ikea, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
The goal of FLA is to reduce illegal logging and eliminate illegal fiber in paper products. To achieve this, FLA engages in the following activities:
Outreach and dissemination – providing information and building capacity on legality aspects including the 2008 U.S. Lacey Act amendments.
Information and analysis – compiling information and generating new analyses to help buyers understand the context in the countries of origin of their raw materials.
Demonstrating feasibility – through case studies, showcase best practices and examples of how companies are addressing and meeting legality requirements.
Our engagement with FLA also gives us an opportunity to work much more closely with WRI staff. For the past year, Two Sides U.S. has been looking to collaborate more closely with reputable science-based environmental organizations that have experience and knowledge in the environmental impacts of forest products over their life cycle. WRI meets this need perfectly as their experience in the sustainability of forest products is world-class. They have worked with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, NCASI and others to produce documents which are now industry standards, such as:
Over the next few months, we will be featuring these tools and others more prominently as we develop our dedicated web pages on Responsible Production and Use of Print and Paper.
Forest Legality Alliance staff will also help provide training and education services to Two Sides U.S. member companies on topics related to illegal logging and associated trade, including legal requirements in global marketplaces and the sourcing of legal and sustainable paper products. FLA will also provide peer review for Two Sides materials including web content, blogs, printed publications and promotional materials.
This new initiative will not only benefit our members, but also will strengthen our mutual efforts to promote the responsible production and use of paper. When fiber is sourced legally from well-managed forests and paper is manufactured and printed responsibly, print on paper is a sustainable way to communicate.
Phil Riebel, President, Two Sides U.S., Inc
July 17, 2012
The following is a response to this recent article by Mr. Raz Godelnik:
Two Sides is well aware of the Life-cycle studies done in this field. Our goal is not to do life cycle assessments, but to encourage companies to carefully compare electronic communications to paper-based communications (using LCA) so that their communication choices are based on sound scientific evidence. We also believe that LCAs need to follow recognized standards and be peer-reviewed by an expert panel, as recommended by ISO (International Standardization Organization).
The Two Sides campaign is aimed at identifying and eliminating environmental claims that are not factual and not substantiated. If a company decides to do a peer-reviewed LCA and finds e-billing to be more favorable then we are OK with that, as long as the sensitivity analysis is clear on when LCA results start favoring paper billing. As Mr. Godelnik notes, there are circumstances in the Telstra LCA when the global warming impacts of e-billing is greater.
The LCAs we have reviewed, including the Telstra study cited by Mr. Godelnik and others not mentioned in his article, have been available on the Two Sides website for some time. There is a great review by Dr. Peter Arnfalk on the environmental impacts of e-media and paper. This is a must read since it reviews several LCAs. Simply go to the Reports and Studies page (under Resources) and submit a search by clicking the “Life cycle Assessment” box on the right hand side of the page.
It should be clear from Mr. Godelnik’s examples and the LCAs on the Two Sides website that such assessments are very case-specific, as they should be, due to the many variables that must be considered. LCAs are best used in specific situations and the results of one study should not be used to generalize for all situations. This is one of the basic rules of life cycle evaluation and of environmental marketing when it comes to using LCA results.
So, results depend on assumptions and data used in the LCA. All situations are different.
Key parameters which greatly influence the magnitude of the environmental benefits are:
Time spent on the Internet.
Printing frequency, no. of pages printed
The number of online bills produced per year
Whether IT infrastructure is used at capacity or not
Amount of energy consumed by servers
Two Sides’ position is that print and electronic media are complementary and should co-exist. It is not a question of paper or electronic, but rather which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while meeting social and economic needs. Responsible environmental choices are based on factual and verifiable life cycle assessments of each alternative. Depending on the application, paper can be a better choice for economic/ environmental reasons (as noted by Arnfalk).
Print and paper have many unique environmental benefits that surface in a well done LCA, including renewability, recyclability and low carbon footprint in many cases. Paper also helps promote well managed working forests that are key to the US environment and economy. The answer to our environmental problems is not to replace highly recyclable and renewable products (from well managed forests) with ones that are not renewable, less recyclable and eliminate the need to manage forests. Our working forests rely on a sustainable forest products market. Without it, forest land will be sold and lost to malls, highways, agriculture…or server farms.
The bottom line is that most companies don’t do LCAs, or even consider the impacts of electronic communications prior to making negative claims about paper. They also typically don’t consider the fact that many people print at home or at work so that they have a record. In other words, the life cycle is often not paperless. In many cases, the use of paper has just been shifted downstream to the consumer. A study by NACHA – The Electronics Payment Association recently found that up to 40% of people who use e-billing also receive paper copies in the mail.
Furthermore, we are not asking companies to drop e-billing and go back to paper billing, as Mr. Godelnik suggests. E-billing has many benefits that I personally find useful. We are simply saying don’t paint paper as a bad product with more negative impacts than e-billing unless you have studied the matter carefully and have the backing of a credible third party. Companies should also stick to the basic rules of environmental marketing before they tout the environmental benefits of one product or service over another.
The ISO 14020 series of standards (esp. ISO 14021) are good documents that outline best practices for environmental claims and declarations. Other good resources on best practices for environmental marketing can be found on the Two Sides website under Resources / Reports and Studies. They include:
-US FTC Green Guides
-CSR Europe’s Sustainable Marketing Guide
-DEFRA’s Quick Guide to Making an Environmental Claim
July 10, 2012
Many leading U.S companies, including banks, utility companies and telecommunications providers, are urging their customers to go paperless with claims that electronic business communications and transactions are environmentally superior to those printed on paper. But are they really better for the environment, and can these companies back up their claims with supporting data that would meet the standards set by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, better known as the Green Guides?
The Guides say that any environmental assertion must be based on competent and reliable scientific evidence, which the FTC defines as “tests, analyses, research, studies or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.”
The truth is that both paper and electronic communications have effects on the environment and making valid apples-to-apples comparisons is impossible without sorting through the complex life cycles of both. We can, however, make some common sense comparisons that raise questions about the validity of claims that “going paperless” is a more environmentally responsible choice.
First, let’s look at raw materials. Paper is made from a renewable resource, wood fiber from trees, while computers and the data center technology that support them are made primarily from finite resource – petroleum-based plastics, metals and rare earth minerals. Then there’s energy use. More than 65% of the energy used to manufacture paper in the United States comes from renewable, carbon-neutral biofuel. With very few exceptions, the growing infrastructure of the U.S. information and communications technology sector is powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change. And lastly, consider recycling rates. In 2011, 66.8% of paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling (AF&PA) compared to only 38% of computers in 2009 (the most recent figure available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
If companies want to encourage the use of electronic bills and statements to reduce their costs or promote the convenience of e-communications, that’s their choice. But playing on consumers’ desire to be environmentally responsible without sound scientific backup only serves to further erode confidence in all green marketing claims, including the ones that represent real environmental value.
This week, Two Sides will launch a nationwide educational initiative to engage and encourage major U.S. corporations to adopt best practices for environmental marketing and end the use of misleading claims about the sustainability of print and paper. You can read the press release here. For more facts on the sustainability of print and paper, check out the Myths and Facts section on the Two Sides website atwww.twosides.us.
Kathi Rowzie is a guest blogger for Two Sides. She is a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, TN.
June 29, 2012
Yesterday SI Live published an article titled: “Paper trail: Staten Island lawmakers push legislatures to go paperless”. It contains several misleading environmental arguments on going paperless in favor of electronic communication, including this statement by the author:
“Whole forests are destroyed to comply with this quaint and, in this day and age, entirely unnecessary tradition. It’s a colossal and, frankly, shameful waste in a time when government is supposed to be more environmentally conscious. “
Below I address the main points, but I would also encourage people in the print and paper industries of NY State to voice their concerns to:
As a private forest owner who has made his living in the forest and paper industry, this type of misinformation really disappoints me. I wish that more people could be connected with forests and understand all the environmental, economic and social benefits they bring us. People need to connect paper and other forest products with well managed forests, not forest destruction. Two Sides has assembled many facts on this topic: Paper production supports sustainable forest management
Going paperless by switching to electronic communication is not going to save the planet. Just think for a minute of all the environmental and social impacts of our rapidly growing electronic infra-structure. The energy consumed, the billions of gadgets manufactured using non-renewable plastics, metals and fossil fuels. The millions of tonnes of e-waste generated every year, much of it going for disassembly in third world countries and in some cases creating health issues there. It is not a question of paper or electronic, but rather which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while meeting social and economic needs. They both complement each other and each method can deliver advantages that the other cannot. Get the facts here.
Paper has inherent sustainability features that people need to understand. It is themost recycled commodity in the world, with a much higher recycling rates than electronics, plastic, glass, and metal. It is primarily based on a renewable resource – wood fiber from well managed forests. These forests provide important benefits to rural communities, including jobs and income for family forest owners. Perhaps our politicians need to go for a walk in a family-owned forest someday and meet some of the hard working NY forest owners.
Here are some key facts:
Paper has unique features that make it a preferred choice for reading and storage of documents for 70% of Americans .
Going electronic is not necessarily “greener” than print and paper. The direct impact of electronic products and services replacing paper is far from negligible, and the trade-off between the two depends on how often we use them, the source of energy and how we dispose of the products .
Paper is made from renewable resources, and responsibly produced and used paper has many advantages over other, non-renewable alternative materials .
Paper is the most recycled material that we use .
It is made with a high percentage of renewable energy .
Over the last 50 years, the volume of trees growing on U.S. forestland increased 49% .
The amount of U.S. forestland has remained essentially the same for the last 100 years .
The manufacture of forest products in the U.S. supports and promotes well-managed forests that provide many environmental, social and economic benefits .
The livelihood of 8.7 million Americans depends on our U.S. mail industry, including the production of print and paper .
The more people voice their concern, the more we can educate the public and our politicians that print and paper have a great environmental story to tell!
Phil Riebel, President and COO, Two Sides U.S., Inc.
June 11, 2012
Toshiba announced recently announced a “no-print day” to take place October 23rdto raise awareness of the impact printing has on our planet.
The main issues are the following:
They have linked paper use to deforestation (or killing trees and destroying forests) when, in fact, responsibly made paper is one of the most sustainable products that surrounds us. Paper is the most recycled commodity in the US, with a recycling rate of 67% compared to 18% for electronic waste. A large portion of paper comes from well-managed US forests that have numerous environmental, social and economic benefits for our planet. These benefits include climate change mitigation, recreational use and many jobs and income for family landowners. In the U.S. alone, 8.7 million people make their livelihood from mail, print and paper. What do they all think of the Toshiba message?
They have overlooked the fact that US forests have been stable for the last 100 years while our population has tripled, and our forest are producing 49% more trees (standing wood) than 50 years ago.
Toshiba may have also ignored the environmental impacts of electronic communications, and there are many. Just saying you are eliminating print and paper really does not mean you are helping the planet. It’s a lot more complex than that. We have assembled some key facts here: http://www.twosides.us/e-media-and-paper
Everything we do has both negative and positive environmental, social and economic impact. We need to look at the big picture to make the right environmental decision which also meet our social and economic needs. Arbitrarily selecting one product over another based on environmental perceptions instead of facts can lead people and companies to make the wrong environmental decision. This seems to be happening over and over again with print and paper.
Not printing documents reduces consumption and environmental impacts, however we all need to communicate. For example, switching from paper-based communications to electronic media is not necessarily the answer due to the complex life-cycle of both communication methods.
For “no-print day” to be effective, Toshiba should in no way increase the environmental impacts of electronic communications on that day (energy used by servers, computers and other electronic communication devices). This would ensure that any environmental savings from eliminating paper are not replaced by environmental impacts of communicating electronically. It is interesting to note that Toshiba is planning a social media campaign in support of “no-print day”. This campaign will likely mean more emails, messages, energy use, etc…
Furthermore, Toshiba employees will need to read reports, studies and other long documents on-line and fully comprehend them to do their daily work. Yes even those 100 page reports – no printing allowed. This may prove to be a challenge since science has shown a number of times that print media is better for “deep learning” and is very practical for making annotations and grasping topics and concepts. Basically, print on paper is more tangible and helps many people understand. Check the Two sides resource pages for more facts and reports on this topic (www.twosides.us).
Sustainable communications is about using all forms of communication responsibly while meeting social and economic needs. In their decision-making, companies need to consider the unique sustainability features of print and paper (renewability, recyclability, carbon capture and storage), and the environmental impacts of both print media and electronic media.
The goal of Two Sides is to set the record straight on the sustainability, responsible use and production of print and paper by relying on science-based facts.
Phil Riebel, President and COO, Two Sides U.S., Inc.
May 28, 2012
To truly evaluate the environmental footprint of paper, measurements over the whole life-cycle are needed. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is used to analyze each stage of a product’s life-cycle from raw materials, production, distribution, product use and through to end of life. LCA is an accounting framework and, instead of dollars, it measures potential environmental and human health impacts . According to Nestlé, LCA is the most widely used scientific methodology for assessing products’ overall environmental impact. Walmart recognized the importance of a life-cycle approach as the basis for their product sustainability efforts and therefore made life-cycle the foundation of The Sustainability Consortium which they initiated.
Without a life-cycle approach, environmental decisions and environmental marketing may be based on one element of a product life-cycle (ex: recycled fiber use) without consideration of other more significant elements (ex: carbon footprint, measured environmental performance of manufacturing facilities) and, unfortunately, this can be deemed “greenwashing” or misrepresenting the environmental benefits of a product. Product environmental impacts are not as simple as we would like, be it paper, electronic media, or any other product we use. But those who want to know the true footprint will track key metrics across the product life-cycle.
Many in the pulp and paper industry have embraced LCA as an important tool to improve environmental performance and to create credible science-based communications. For example, the American Forest and Paper Association along with the Forest Products Association of Canada commissioned an LCA on four paper product types, namely magazines, catalogues, directory and office paper. The key findings were the following:
The most significant environmental impacts were due to pulp and paper production and product disposal at the end-of-life.
The impacts of paper production are mainly driven by use of fossil fuels in manufacturing process.
An increase of bio-based energy sources at paper mills reduces climate change impacts.
Increasing recovery rate has a significant positive effect on global warming impacts.
Transportation is not very significant in overall life-cycle impacts.
This LCA closely followed the ISO standards for LCA, ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. These standards set out a detailed framework including the importance of transparency, not only for the results but also for the assumptions and for analyses to cross-check the validity of the results (uncertainty and sensitivity analyses). LCA, like any other analysis tool, can be ‘gamed’ to result in a biased outcome. However when a study follows ISO standards closely, the reader of the study has all the information required to assess and interpret the results for themselves and any ‘gaming’ will be evident.
When examining the carbon footprint along the life cycle, the AF&PA and FPAC study showed that the two largest contributors to the carbon footprint of paper are: 1) energy used in manufacturing (mill site and purchased power) and 2) methane emissions from paper that ends up in landfill sites. Transportation is a relatively minor component.
In other words, energy efficiency and use of renewable energy for manufacturing and paper recovery are key elements in reducing the carbon footprint of paper products. The high use of renewable biomass energy in the U.S. pulp and paper industry (currently at 66% and the focus on paper recovery (currently at 66.8%) are significant environmental benefits that helps reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. AF&PA has recently set a goal to increase paper recovery to exceed 70% by 2020. High renewable energy use at Kraft pulp mills (biomass and black liquor) is also one of the reasons that paper grades with Kraft fibers can have a very low carbon footprint compared to other paper grades.
The increased use of life-cycle approaches by the forest products industry will continue to drive understanding, transparency and most importantly, improvements to the environmental profile.
Christine Burow is a guest blogger for Two Sides U.S. She runs an independent consulting company focused on business-to-business strategy with an emphasis on marketing and sustainability. Christine is also Co-Chair of The Sustainability Consortium’s Paper Sector.
May 10, 2012
A few years ago, I was faced with the task of cleaning out my mother’s house after she passed away. While difficult, it led me to a wonderful discovery. Tucked away in her attic was large, metal footlocker that I had never seen before. In it was a treasure trove of memories … all on paper.
Unknown to me, mom kept every card and letter I had sent her since childhood. She had even tucked away a series of silly little notes we had exchanged about my “first boyfriend” in elementary school. I also found pieces of my life that I thought were long gone – my baptismal certificate, school projects and short stories that I had written as a budding young writer in junior high school. She had also clipped every mention of me in print, from by-lined articles to news stories where I was quoted as spokesperson. In addition, I found family photos and never-before-seen documents that helped shed an interesting light on her ancestry.
As I looked through these items again recently, I wondered how many cherished mother-daughter memories would have been lost if they originated on a computer. What today’s electronic world gives us in speed and geographic reach just can’t replace the visceral experience of holding a loved one’s very personal mementos in your hands. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t live without my computer. But the value of paper in our lives shouldn’t be underestimated.
And by the way, don’t forget to mail your mom a Mother’s Day card this week … and write a nice note inside. She’ll enjoy opening it and years from now you may find, as I did, that it means much more to her than you think!
Kathi Rowzie is Two Sides guest blogger. She is a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, TN.
April 16, 2012
Study after study shows that the public is skeptical about environmental marketing claims, and that’s understandable. Unlike claims about product usefulness, reliability or comparative value, most environmental claims – like “going paperless saves trees” – can’t be substantiated firsthand by consumers. They must depend on outside sources for validation. For companies and individuals across the graphic communications supply chain, this presents both a challenge – to correct misleading claims about the sustainability of print and paper, and an opportunity – to communicate the medium’s true environmental value.
What’s the key to environmental communications that build trust? The case for the sustainability of paper is rooted firmly in science, and quoting authoritative sources unleashes that inherent credibility. Certainly, how you present the facts matters, too. Provide context, communicate in language people understand and be as detailed as necessary, but get to the point quickly. Don’t be tempted to overstate your case by adding information that’s not relevant to your audience. And of course, integrate your company’s mission and brand identity into any communication to both reinforce your sustainability commitment and differentiate your message.
One of the hardest parts of delivering effective green communications is tracking down the most relevant and recent supporting facts, especially if your business does not have dedicated sustainability or communications staff. This is where Two Sides can help. The Two Sides U.S. website, www.twosides.us, is a treasure trove of information about the sustainability of print and paper. From reports and studies to fact sheets and current news, the website includes the information you need, including links to original sources, to develop credible communications and to respond to today’s common misperceptions about the sustainability of print and paper.
Does paper manufacturing cause deforestation? Is electronic communication really more environmentally responsible than printed media? Whether you’re a seasoned environmental pro or a novice who wants to learn the issues, the Two Sides searchable database has something to add to everyone’s sustainability communications arsenal.
There are no better ambassadors for the sustainability of print and paper than those whose bread and butter depend on healthy forests, responsible manufacturing, and paper recovery and recycling. It’s up to everyone in the graphic communications supply chain to help spread the word about the sustainability or print and paper, and now the resources to help you do it effectively are just a mouse click away!
Kathi Rowzie is Two Sides guest blogger. She is a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, TN.
March 20, 2012
Two Sides U.S. is pleased to announce that we have formed alliances with the following trade organizations, industry groups, academic institutions and industry news services:
American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) – www.catalogmailers.org
American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) – www.afandpa.org
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – Graphic Communication Department –www.grc.calpoly.edu
Consumers for Paper Options – www.paperoptions.org
Envelope Manufacturers Association – www.envelope.org
Gravure Association of America, Inc. – www.gaa.org
NPTA Alliance – www.gonpta.org
Paper Technology Foundation, Western Michigan University –www.wmich.edu/wmuptf
Print Buyers International – www.printbuyersinternational.com
Print Media Centr – www.printmediacentr.com
Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA) – www.psda.org
Printing Industries of America (PIA) – www.printing.org
Printing Industry Association – Southern California – www.piasc.org
TAPPI – www.tappi.org
The Institute for Sustainable Communication –www.sustainablecommunication.org
What They Think? – www.whattheythink.com
Over the past four months we’ve talked with many groups who are strong supporters of our mission: to promote the responsible production and use of print on paper, including its sustainable features. Many of these organizations have joined Two Sides and are helping us spread our network in the U.S., and educate more people on the environmental, social and economic benefits of print and paper. We look forward to developing close working relationships with all these groups, and hopefully many more.
President & COO, Two Sides U.S.
March 12, 2012
Amidst the numerous anti-paper and print messages like “Go paperless – save a tree” from companies encouraging us to choose the digital options (ex: e-billing), it is refreshing to see that some organizations understand the unique environmental features of paper. They understand the fact that paper comes from a renewable resource that can be sustainably managed, and they get the fact that it is highly recyclable and recycled unlike many other materials we use today to manufacture the hundreds of millions of electronic gadgets we use (i.e. metals, plastics, fossil fuels, etc…). In other words, paper has unique features that categorize it as a long-term sustainable material, as long as it is produced and used responsibly (as all products should).
It pleases me even more when the people that “get it” are servicing the electronics industry itself! Yes, they are starting to make laptops out of paper, and marketing them as “green”.
A Chinese design company called PEGA D&E has created a new product called Paper PP Alloy to replace the plastic shelling used in laptop computers – the part that is often made of non-recyclable ABS plastic. Paper PP Alloy is made by combining paper and polypropylene. Compared to plastic, the materials needed to make it are easy to retrieve and they can be molded using injection molding method. In other words, there is no need to change the laptop manufacturing process. They claim it is strong, sturdy, environmentally friendly and inexpensive to make. As quoted on their website: “The material for the future: Recyclable, Reusable.”
Another company called Yanko Design is marketing and selling a laptop outer casing made of recyclable paper and pulp designed by Je Sung Park. As noted in an article bygizmag: “Generally, a laptop is upgraded every two years, resulting in an abundance of disposed computers, or ‘e-waste’. E-waste is a significant problem worldwide – in 2007, only 18% of the estimated 2.25 million tons of TVs, cell phones and computer products disposed of in the U.S. was recycled. The rest ended up as landfill. Je Sung Park’s concept design makes the upgrade process both inexpensive and guilt-free. Because the casing is made from pulp and reprocessed materials, it could easily be broken down when disposed of. The design features layers of the paper materials allowing the user the ability to replace any damaged portions.”
I should also mention the growing wood-plastic composite market, where wood fiber is being blended with plastics to make the final product more recyclable and more renewable. These materials are considered by some to be a more sustainable alternative to conventional plastics. Some companies, such as UPM-Kymmene, are also marketing the lower carbon footprint advantage of these composite products.
So it seems that the environmental features of wood fiber, pulp and paper are gradually being recognized as an effective method to make products more renewable, more recyclable and with a lower carbon footprint. Perhaps even more so if these materials are sourced responsibly and come from well managed North American forests.
Two Sides U.S., Inc.