Submitted: Kathi Rowzie October 25, 2023
Dear Two Sides Members and Supporters,
Two Sides has been busy this year, working on behalf of our members to eliminate anti-paper greenwashing claims, to help educate industry stakeholders on hot environmental topics and to conduct research on consumer attitudes toward our industry and its products. To give you a view of what we’ve been up to, here are some of the highlights.
Through 3Q24, Two Sides’ Anti-greenwashing Campaign has persuaded 24 more corporations and other organizations to eliminate anti-paper greenwashing claims, which translates to 100 million more consumers who are no longer seeing misleading environmental claims about paper products from their service providers. We are in conversation with several other large companies right now, and continue to pursue claims as we find them.
It’s important to note that Two Sides is the only industry organization that directly challenges the senior leadership of major corporations, government entities, educational institutions and other organizations to remove unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about paper products.
As the plastics industry increases its efforts to position its packaging products as sustainable, we are seeing increasing efforts to promote plastic as more environmentally friendly than paper packaging. Two Sides has been aggressively responding to this type of greenwashing in the media. The most recent example was a letter to the Washington Times in response to an opinion piece by a plastics industry lobbyist. Our letter was picked up by various industry trade publications and news services.
Thanks to alerts from several of our members, Two Sides recently responded to greenwashing claims about “going paperless” in an opinion piece submitted by an electronic documents management company to Office Products International (OPI), a leading news source for the office products industry. While our response focused on electronic communication vs paper, it sent an important message about the sustainability of all paper products available to the office products sector. Following publication of our response, the original article was removed from the OPI website.
Two Sides responded to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s request for comment on improving the agency’s Guides to Environmental Marketing Claims (aka the Green Guides). Among other things, we suggested that paper products merit their own section in the Green Guides due to the pervasiveness of paper-related greenwashing, and we recommended that the FTC revise the Green Guides to include additional emphasis on globally recognized ISO life cycle assessment principles and practices when it comes to making comparisons of sustainability like Go Green, Go Paperless.
Our Fact Sheets are updated regularly and loaded with facts and data from credible third-party sources to help our members supplement their own sustainability efforts. Two Side members can customize these tools with their own logos for use with their customer and other stakeholders.
In addition to environmental news and facts, we continue to provide information to help our members educate their customers and other stakeholders on environmental topics specific to the paper and paper-based packaging industry. Recent topics include sustainable fiber sourcing, the facts about biomass energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the truth about deforestation and alternative fibers and how greenwashing hurts both the printing papers and packaging sectors.
We introduced our new podcast, Three Minutes with Two Sides, featuring topics like the circularity of paper products.
We conducted our biennial Two Sides Trend Tracker Survey to assess U.S. consumers’ opinions, attitudes and behaviors related to print, paper and paper based packaging, and we promoted the survey results widely in the media. Overall, the survey revealed incremental improvement in how consumers view paper products and related issues, but also showed that common misconceptions are still widespread. You’ll find an overview of the survey results here.
With our emphasis on more engaging content and graphics, our social media presence continues to grow, especially on LinkedIn, where our number of followers has grown 25% since the beginning of the year. Each month, we send our members turnkey recommended social media posts for use in their own social media.
We continue to expand our reach by educating broader and more diverse audiences through both in-person and virtual presentations on the sustainability of our industry and its products. In 2023, our audiences have included member sales organizations, customer conferences, industry association meetings and college/university groups.
We’ve supported our members by providing content for their internal and customer communications, and we helped members, particularly those who do not have their own internal sustainability function, answer paper-related environmental questions from their customers.
On behalf of Two Sides, I want to say a huge thank you to all of our members. Two Sides North America was able to accomplish everything highlighted here – and more – because of your continuing support.
Our members come from across the entire print, paper and paper-based packaging supply chain, and annual membership dues are Two Sides North America’s sole source of revenue. The more we grow, the wider we can expand our efforts to end anti-paper greenwashing and tell the great sustainability story of our industry and its products.
If your company is not currently a Two Sides member, I encourage you to get in touch with us to learn why our members say the low-cost, high-value benefits Two Sides delivers is one of the best investments they make each year. You can also learn more by downloading our value proposition.
Print, paper and paper-based packaging have a great environmental story to tell! You can help us continue to tell it in ways that make a real difference for your company, your customers and our industry as a whole.
Kathi Rowzie, President
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