Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie and Two Sides Europe Managing Director Jonathan Tame recently talked with German Sacristan, director of on-demand printing and publishing at Keypoint Intelligence, about greenwashing – the use of unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims by corporations and other entities to encourage consumers to stop using paper – and what Two Sides is doing to eliminate it.
Funded entirely through membership dues, Two Sides is the only industry organization that directly challenges major corporations, the media and other types of organizations that promote common environmental myths, such as going paperless “saves trees,” “protects the environment” and “reduces carbon emissions.” Our global anti-greenwashing campaign has resulted in more than 800 companies, government agencies and other organizations changing or eliminating anti-paper environmental claims.
“In North America alone, the companies that have eliminated bogus environmental claims about paper as a result of Two Sides’ anti-greenwashing campaign collectively represent billions of instances of greenwashing and consumers numbering in the hundreds of millions who are no longer seeing anti-paper environmental messages from their service providers,” Rowzie says.
“But Two Sides did not achieve this alone,” she adds. “We’re all in this together, and the continuing support and engagement of our members is critical to helping end greenwashing and to amplifying the great sustainability story of print, paper and paper-based packaging. Two Sides membership is an investment in the future of our industry, and we invite every company whose business depends on paper to join us.”
In today’s Member Spotlight, we feature the University of Houston Digital Media Program (UH DIGM) within the Department of Information and Logistics Technology at the College of Technology. At UH DIGM, students receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Media with specializations in areas like Packaging and Print Media. By integrating Two Sides materials into their curriculum, the faculty educates Digital Media students on the importance of the paper and print industry and the unique sustainable features of paper products.
“I meet with every print and packaging course and address the two ‘elephants’ in the room…‘Print is Dead’ and ‘Go Green, Go Paperless,’” says Dr. Jerry Waite, a Professor of Technology and UH DIGM Program Coordinator. To address the “Go Green, Go Paperless” claim, Dr. Waite says he discusses with students the positive benefits of growing trees to absorb CO2 in addition to the carbon sequestering attributes of paper and wood products.
In DIGM 3152, a digital and lithographic output course, students print out letter-sized versions of the Two Sides infographics which bust common paper myths and demonstrate how paper is a renewable and recyclable resource. The course instructor, Mr. Harold Halliday, encourages students to share copies of the infographics with any skeptical friends and family. In doing so, Dr. Waite says the students help spread the message that the growth and use of trees can have many positive environmental impacts.
“Once I understood how growing and using trees could help the environment, it only enforced me to be environmentally responsible by being skeptical about companies’ claims of going ‘green,’” says Alexa Needham, a UH DIGM student who was previously unfamiliar with the term “greenwashing.”
Additionally, she says Dr. Waite and the Two Sides information has taught her how “paths built on good intentions,” like the push for paperless billing, can lead to unintended consequences. “Overall, my perspective about paper use has made me look at paper in a different light,” she added. “Paper isn’t an enemy as long as I do my part.”
Along with providing students with research and facts about the sustainability of print and paper, Two Sides infographics are printed poster sized and adorn the department labs. “I had always had the belief of paper being more effective and beneficial to our environment than something like plastic,” says Mitchell Lasker, a current UH DIGM student. “… the data provided from Two Sides has reaffirmed that sentiment.”
The UH DIGM program mission focuses on preparing students to take on leadership positions in the multifaceted world of print and digital media. In fact, students pursuing an area like packaging will enter the third largest industry in Houston! By partnering with members, such as schools like the University of Houston, Two Sides is working toward the shared purpose of educating future print leaders about the environmentally beneficial features of paper and the dynamic role of print media professionals.
For more information about the University of Houston Digital Media Program (UH DIGM) visit http://www.uh.edu/tech/digitalmedia/.
Two Sides members are provided with a wealth of fact-based tools and information that companies, schools, and organizations can use to support their own educational goals. Connect with us online at www.twosidesna.org and through social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To join us, please visit the Two Sides Membership page, contact us by email at mailto:email@example.com or by phone at 855-896-7433.
LONDON, UK (November 13, 2018) – At the annual meeting of Two Sides’ Country Managers in London on November 5, 2018, representatives from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America, South America and South Africa determined to continue efforts to stop organizations from making misleading, anti-print and paper claims in their customer communications.
Since its inception, Two Sides’ anti-greenwash campaign has investigated 921 organizations worldwide. Of these, over two-thirds were found to be using unsubstantiated claims regarding paper’s impact on the environment, usually in breach of local advertising regulations. After being challenged by Two Sides, a total of 335 organizations have now removed or changed their messaging.
In a joint statement, Two Sides’ Country Managers stated: “We are thrilled to be able to report the latest global anti-greenwash results. The Anti-Greenwash campaign is such an important initiative because without Two Sides’ intervention there would be no other body holding these organizations to account. But despite the success of the campaign, as well as clear rules on unsubstantiated environmental claims, greenwash tactics are still commonplace. Everyday, new claims are brought to the attention of Two Sides, from some of the world’s largest companies telling tens-of-millions of their customers that paper is bad for the environment.”
Common consumer misconceptions about print and paper are being reinforced by service providers as they increasingly encourage their customers to switch to electronic bills, statements and correspondence. The incentive to switch is often based on unfounded environmental claims such as ‘Go Green – Go Paperless’ and ‘Choose e-billing and help save a tree.’
Not only are these claims misleading, but the drive to digital is not without environmental impacts and also not welcomed by many consumers.
In a survey commissioned by Two Sides, over 10,000 consumers around the globe were asked about their preferences for print. Key findings include:
Two Sides’ Country Managers remark: “Two Sides, of course, recognizes the benefits of digital communication in today’s ever-online world, but we must not force change as a blanket policy on all consumers, particularly under the guise of misleading and unsubstantiated environmental claims. Two Sides asks all services providers to take a fair and honest approach to their communications and ensure that consumers remain free to choose paper, without charge or difficulty.”
If you see instances of Greenwash messages, please send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Two Sides
Two Sides is a not-for-profit, global initiative promoting the unique sustainable and attractive attributes of print, paper and paper packaging. Two Sides’ members span the entire print, paper and packaging value chain including: forestry, pulp, paper, packaging, inks and chemicals, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators. Membership in Two Sides demonstrates your organization’s commitment to the environment and continuing desire to improve practices.
For more information about the Anti-Greenwash campaign, or to learn more about Two Sides, please contact us:
Australia and New Zealand: Kellie Northwood, email@example.com
Austria: Patrick Mader, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brazil: Fabio Arruda Mortara, email@example.com
France: Jan Le Moux, firstname.lastname@example.org
Germany: Anne-Katrin Kohlmorgen, email@example.com
Italy: Massimo Ramunni, firstname.lastname@example.org
Netherlands: Erik Timmermans, email@example.com
Nordics: Magnus Thorkildsen, firstname.lastname@example.org
North America: Phil Riebel, email@example.com
South Africa: Deon Joubert, firstname.lastname@example.org
UK: Jonathan Tame, email@example.com