Two Sides Global Anti-Greenwashing Campaign Momentum Continues

Since 2010, Two Sides’ fact-driven campaign has persuaded more than 880 organizations globally, including 159 in North America, to remove unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper from their marketing communications.

CHICAGO – May 4, 2022 – As banks, utilities, telecom companies and government agencies face mounting economic uncertainties, many of these services providers are looking to cut costs by encouraging their customers to switch from paper to digital communications. But all too often, these cost-cutting appeals are cloaked in unsubstantiated and misleading environmental marketing claims that suggest going paperless is “green,” “saves trees” or “is better for the environment.”

“These greenwashing claims not only fail to comply with established environmental marketing standards, but they also damage consumer perceptions of paper’s environmental sustainability,” says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “And that’s a threat to the economic security of millions of people in the United States and Canada whose livelihoods depend on the paper, print and mailing sector.”

North America’s leading corporations and other service providers influence millions of consumers every day with their anti-paper greenwashing claims, leading many to believe that the use of paper is destroying forests and is bad for the environment. For example, a 2021 Two Sides survey of U.S. consumers showed that 60% believe that U.S. forests are shrinking, when in fact, U.S. net forest area increased by 18 million acres over the past 30 years – the equivalent of 1,200 NFL football fields every day – according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment. The UN FAO reports that Canada’s net forest area remained stable at around 857 million acres during the same period.

“Paper is one of the few products on earth that already has an environmentally sustainable, circular life cycle,” Rowzie says. “North American paper is made from an infinitely renewable natural resource – trees grown, harvested and regrown in sustainably managed forests. It’s manufactured using mostly renewable, carbon neutral bioenergy in a process that uses water, but in reality consumes very little of it. And paper products are recycled more than any other material. But many consumers believe paper is bad for the environment because their service providers are telling them so. Two Sides is working hard to change that.”

Two Sides challenges greenwashing companies and other organizations in a non-confrontational way, educating CEOs and other senior management with facts from credible, third-party sources that clearly demonstrate the unique sustainability characteristics of paper products and the solid and continually improving environmental record of the North American paper industry. Because North America’s leading corporations and other service providers have such an expansive reach, Two Sides anti-greenwashing efforts to date have had an enormous impact, with unsubstantiated “go paperless” environmental messages removed from literally billions of customer communications.

“But there’s much more work to do as companies continue to distort the paper industry’s great environmental record and threaten paper, print and mail volumes with opportunistic greenwashing claims,” Rowzie says. “This is why the Anti-Greenwashing Campaign continues to be a top priority for Two Sides.”

Across North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Two Sides has challenged more than 1,900 organizations that have made unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper and continues to pursue those whose use greenwashing claims to mask their cost-cutting efforts.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of the hundreds of organizations that have changed or eliminated greenwashing claims from their messaging, and we are also thankful for the many industry stakeholders and members of the public who send Two Sides examples of greenwashing,” Rowzie concludes.

To learn more about Two Sides North America and its Anti-Greenwashing Campaign, please visit www.twosidesna.org.

About Two Sides

Two Sides is a global, member-funded non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the uniquely sustainable attributes of print, paper and paper-based packaging. Two Sides’ members span the entire print, paper and paper-based packaging value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, packaging, inks and chemicals, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and mail operators.  For more information, visit www.twosidesna.org.

 Download the press release here.

Media Contact:

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America

info@twosidesna.org

937-999-7729

 

 

Just in Time for Earth Day – New Global Greenwashing Guidance

World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) announces a series of recommendations to combat greenwashing and build consumer trust

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has published a series of recommendations for brands, marketers and advertisers to ensure their environmental claims are credible among consumers and can be backed up if challenged by regulators. The global organization, which represents marketers responsible for 90% of global marketing communications spend around the world, aims to provide marketers with a clear set of principles and best practices to follow when they communicate the actions their companies are taking to drive more sustainable outcomes.

The WFA has identified six core principles that brands should follow:

  • Claims must not be likely to mislead, and the basis for them must be clear.
  • Marketers must hold robust evidence for all claims likely to be regarded as objective and capable of substantiation.
  • Marketing communications must not omit material information. Where time or space is limited, marketers must use alternative means to make qualifying information readily accessible to the audience and indicate where it can be accessed.
  • Marketers must base general environmental claims on the full life cycle of their product or business, unless the marketing communication states otherwise, and must make clear the limits of the life cycle.
  • Products compared in marketing communications must meet the same needs or be intended for the same purpose. The basis for comparisons must be clear and allow the audience to make an informed decision about the products compared.
  • Marketers must include all information relating to the environmental impact of advertised products that is required by law, regulators or Codes to which they are signatories.

A Pledge for the Planet

The six core principles are part of the WFA’s Planet Pledge initiative, which encourages brands to commit to a zero-carbon economy and use their marketing to drive more sustainable behavior. There are currently 27 signatories to the pledge, including brands such as  Bayer, Dole, IKEA, L’Oréal, Mastercard, PepsiCo and Unilever, who collectively represent over $50 billion in marketing spend.

“Current consumer skepticism of environmental claims and marketers’ fear of greenwashing are together the biggest obstacles to our industry being part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA. “Big reductions in CO2 emissions have occurred on the back of technology and innovation; the next big advance needs to be driven by behavioral change. This is where marketers can help. This guidance is an essential first step to creating an environment where marketers and consumers can feel more confident about companies’ sustainability credentials.”

A Growing Movement

 The WFA principles reinforce established environmental marketing guidance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Canadian Standards Association and International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14021), as well as the efforts of the Two Sides Anti-Greenwashing Campaign.

“Two Sides is the only industry organization that directly challenges major corporations to stop using unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper products,” says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “Respected companies that use greenwashing claims damage consumer perceptions of paper and put at risk the livelihoods of more than 7 million people in the North American paper, print and mail sector. Greenwashing also distracts from a company’s legitimate environmental initiatives and can damage corporate reputation when misleading claims are exposed.”

Over the past decade, Two Sides North America has persuaded 157 major corporations and other organizations to stop using unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper, leading to the removal of billions of instances of greenwashing.

To learn more about the Two Sides Anti-Greenwashing Campaign, visit https://twosidesna.org/anti-greenwash-campaign/

Download the WFA Global Guidance on Environmental Claims 2022 at www.wfanet.org/leadership/planet-pledge

 

It’s True: Paper Products Are Not a Major Contributor to Climate Change. Here’s Why…

by Kathi Rowzie, President, Two Sides North America

If you’ve been following Two Sides or other authoritative sources, you know that the paper products you use do not contribute in any major way to climate change. Why? Because most of the energy used to manufacture them is generated using renewable, carbon neutral biomass. But what does this really mean?

The life cycle of paper, like that of any other widely manufactured and used product, does involve the emission of carbon – the key element in most greenhouse gases. However, with paper, there’s a critical difference.

To put it simply, the carbon released from burning biomass does not contribute to climate change, while the carbon released from fossil fuel does.

Biomass, also called biogenic carbon, is carbon that is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in trees and other vegetation through photosynthesis. When that biomass later decays in the forest or is burned – either in forest fires or as fuel in a paper mill – its carbon returns back to the atmosphere in an endless natural loop that continuously recycles the same carbon atoms (called the “terrestrial carbon cycle”). Consequently, no new carbon is added to the environment.

On the other hand, the carbon from fossil fuels originates from deposits that have been stored in the earth for tens of millions of years. When coal and oil are extracted from those deposits and burned for energy, “new” carbon from outside the terrestrial carbon cycle is added to the atmosphere. The result is a net increase in greenhouse gases. And that is what’s warming the climate.

In an interesting take on the difference between the two sources of carbon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture compares them to the relationship between landlords and tenants. Biogenic carbon emissions are like tenants who “stay only the duration of their short-term leases, and politely leave over time as the regenerating forest calls them back,” while fossil fuels are “carbon tenants who squat permanently in our home and change the balance we previously had.”

Think about it. Humans have been burning biomass – especially wood – as a primary source of heat for millennia. Yet, as paleoclimatologists have found, not until the industrial revolution, with its massive reliance on fossil fuels, have greenhouse gases begun to increase so dramatically in the atmosphere. Before the widespread use of fossil fuels, the maximum concentration of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) held steady at a maximum of around 280 parts per million (ppm). Since then, however, that concentration has climbed to over 500 ppm, and it continues to increase.

The work of the national and international agencies and bodies directly responsible for the study, regulation and accounting of greenhouse gases is based on the fundamental finding that fossil fuel carbon, not biogenic carbon, is the problem.  Among these organizations are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, to name a few.

It follows then, that a biomass-based industry like papermaking, which uses and emits mostly biogenic carbon, is not a major contributor to climate change. In fact, that’s what the numbers show. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Natural Resources Canada report that the pulp and paper industry in their respective countries is responsible for only 0.5% and 1.2%  of total annual CO2-e emissions. The IPCC states that over the course of a year, the CO2 emissions from the combustion/oxidation/decay of biomass are balanced by carbon uptake prior to harvest, so the net emission is zero. IPCC also states that when used to displace fossil fuels, wood-based fuels can provide sustained carbon benefits and constitute a large [carbon] mitigation option.

It is true that over the life cycle of paper, some carbon is released as greenhouse gases other than CO2. For example, paper that decomposes in landfills releases methane. However, the more paper products are recycled, the less methane is emitted, and paper is recycled more than any other material in the United States. By reducing the amount of paper products going to landfills through recycling, U.S. greenhouse gases emissions were lowered by 155 million metric tons of CO2-e in 2018 – the equivalent of taking over 33 million cars off the road for an entire year, this according to the U.S. EPA.

For more information, download the updated Two Sides Fact Sheet on Paper, Renewable Energy and Carbon Footprint here.

Defending the Sustainability of Paper: We’re All In This Together

Listen to our Podcast with Keypoint Intelligence

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.”

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TWO SIDES MEMBERSHIP, CLICK HERE.

Reaching Consumers in an Environmentally Responsible Way: The Return of Printed Catalogs   

By Kathi Rowzie, President, Two Sides North America

After a sharp decline in 2020, printed catalogs are coming back in a big way. Market research firm Keypoint Intelligence reports that digital print volumes – the production method for most smaller-run catalogs – has rebounded close to its pre-pandemic level, and demand is expected to soar past pre-pandemic production next year and continue rising at a compound annual rate of 8% through 2025.

Why? As the rising cost of digital advertising increases the cost of acquiring and keeping customers, brands are looking for omnichannel strategies that enhance customer experiences, build loyalty and increase sales. Printed catalogs allow brands to connect with consumers in ways that digital platforms cannot.

The touch, feel and even the smell of catalogs provide a more intimate shopping encounter, and that interaction can be highly personalized thanks to today’s digital printing technology. Catalogs have staying power far beyond a quick scan on a handheld device. And their enticing visual appeal offers a shopping-as-entertainment experience that drives consumers online to learn more, seek additional products and make both online and in-store purchases. At the same time, the ability to target digital advertising has become less precise with the advent of new online privacy policies that allow consumers to opt out of being tracked.

The catalog comeback can also be attributed to brands’ efforts to tap into growing consumer awareness of sustainability and the desire to create a more environmentally friendly, circular economy. These savvy brands are looking beyond simplistic environmental paper calculators and pop culture myths about the environmental sustainability of paper — that it causes deforestation, is a major contributor to climate change, consumes huge amounts of water and generates excessive waste – and instead, are depending on hard, science-based facts to drive their marketing decisions.

For example, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines deforestation as the permanent loss of forestland. In the United States, trees to make paper are grown, harvested and regrown using sustainable forest management practices that perpetuate infinitely renewable forestlands. In fact, in its recent Global Forest Resources Assessment, the UN FAO reported that net forestland area in the United States actually increased 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020. That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Continuing demand for sustainably sourced paper encourages landowners to keep their land forested and manage it responsibly rather than selling it for development, the leading cause of deforestation in the United States. The U.S. Forest Service reports that less than 2% of U.S. forestland is harvested each year, compared with 3% that is disturbed annually by natural causes like fire, insects and disease, and most of this 2% of harvested wood is used for non-paper purposes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the paper industry contributes only 0.5% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. These very low emissions are due to decades of energy efficiency and process improvements at U.S paper mills, and to the fact that the U.S. paper industry generates two-thirds of the energy to manufacture its products using renewable, carbon-neutral fuels, primarily biomass.

While the paper industry uses large amounts of water to produce catalog papers, most of that water is not consumed in the manufacturing process, this according to the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). NCASI reports that water used in the papermaking process is recycled up to 10 times in a typical paper mill, and then nearly 90% of that water is cleaned to meet federal and state clean water standards before it is returned to its source. The remaining water is retained in the manufactured paper or evaporates back into the environment.

And when it comes to circularity, paper has all other materials beat hands down. According to the U.S. EPA, around two-thirds of all paper products are recycled, more than any other material.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace where environmental responsibility is a necessary part of any marketing strategy,  brands that choose printed paper catalogs to effectively reach their customers can be confident that they are making a sound environmental choice.

 

 

Can Paper Help Save the Planet?

The recent United Nations global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, brought the world’s leaders together again to try to reach agreement on further commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. High on the agenda was preserving the health of the world’s forests – a critical natural resource for absorbing these emissions.

With this heightened international attention on preventing deforestation, primarily in the developing world, now is a good time to remind ourselves that the North American forests that supply the wood fiber for our paper and packaging products are among the most sustainably managed in the world.

They are so well-managed, in fact, that our forests continue to be a net absorber of carbon. In the United States, sustainable forest management practices, the regeneration of forest area and modern harvesting practices resulted in a net sequestration of carbon every year from 1990 to 2019, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) reports that U.S. forests annually capture and store 14% of economy-wide carbon dioxide emissions. Natural Resources Canada reports that forestlands capture and store around 19% of all carbon dioxide equivalents emitted in the country.

The production of wood and paper products is a powerful economic engine and driving force in keeping North American lands forested. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fiber, the paper industry encourages landowners to manage their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses. More than half (58%) of the forestland in the U.S. is privately owned and managed, mostly by millions of small landowners, and they are under no obligation to keep their lands forested. Without the economic incentive provided by the forest products industry, untold millions of acres of forestland would likely have been lost permanently to commercial land development – converted to building projects, strip malls or parking lots.

For proof, look no further than countries where there is little economic incentive to keep lands forested. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment, those areas of the world that consume the least amount of wood have the greatest problem with the kind of deforestation that the Glasgow conferees were trying to address.

Compare that with North America’s forest products industry. While they were producing the wood and paper products that enrich the lives of consumers, net forest area in the U.S. grew by some 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the UN FAO, and Canada’s forest area of 857 million acres has been stable over the same period. By law, every acre of Canadian forest that is commercially harvested must be regenerated.

In the U.S., the net average annual increase in growing stock on timberland is about 25 billion cubic feet, according to the USFS, and forests in the U.S. annually grow nearly twice as much wood as is harvested. USFS also reports that tree harvesting in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland per year in contrast to the nearly 3% disturbed annually by natural events like insects, disease, and fire, and most of this harvested wood is used for non-paper purposes. Harvesting in Canada occurs on only 0.2% of forestlands, while 4.7% is disturbed by insects and 0.5% is disturbed by fire, this according to Natural Resources Canada.

The Glasgow summit also kicked off a discussion of the inherent advantages of bio-based materials – like  paper and paper-based packaging– in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their potential role in a more broad-based, circular bio-economy. The FAO released a report demonstrating how renewable wood-based products can help combat climate change and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Dr. E. Ashley Steel, Forest Statistics Expert at the UN FAO:

“There is strong evidence at the product level that wood products are associated with lower GHG emissions over their entire life cycle compared to products made from GHG-intensive and non-renewable materials. Wood and wood-based products are generally associated with lower fossil and process-based emissions when compared to non-wood products.”

The document left open for later study the extent to which paper and paper-based packaging may serve as substitutes for non-wood products in the search for those that contribute to the net reduction of greenhouse gases, but there’s little doubt that any product sourced from materials that are grown and regrown are better for combating climate change than the non-paper alternatives.

Member Spotlight

With paper production capacity of 1.1 million tons and pulp production capacity of 600,000 tons, Pixelle Specialty Solutions is the largest and fastest growing specialty papers manufacturer in North America. The company operates four paper mills in Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as a coating and converting plant in Ohio.

Pixelle’s broad portfolio of products includes inkjet papers used for wide-ranging applications, from home office and desktop printing to book publishing, billboards and wide-format printing; label stock used for cut-and-stack labels, beverage labels and thermal transfer/direct thermal labels; label and release liners; food packaging papers; bag papers; and paper for cups, straws and lids.

Pixelle is a long-time member of Two Sides and an enthusiastic supporter of Two Sides’ mission to tell the great sustainability story of print, paper and paper-based packaging.

“The paper and packaging sustainability story needs to reach new audiences, and Two Sides has a track record of doing just that,” says Pixelle Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dave Dickerhoof. “Whether it’s fighting misleading claims about our industry’s environmental impact or working with organizations and consumers to better understand the sustainability of print, paper and fiber-based packaging, we appreciate the value Two Sides creates for its membership and for the packaging industry as a whole.”

The Pixelle team creates value for brand owners, converters and end users by providing tailored solutions that go beyond functional product requirements to help these customers meet their sustainability goals and objectives. Pixelle’s release liner recycling program is a prime example. Designed to reduce the amount of silicone paper that goes to landfills or gets incinerated, the program consolidates used release liner from customers and sends it to a recycler that de-siliconizes it. The clean fiber is then returned to Pixelle for use in new liner products.

“We understand that Pixelle has a role to play in advancing a circular, more sustainable economy,” says Dickerhoof. “Using recycled content in our products can have an important environmental impact on the overall life cycle of these products. Our goal is to develop and create new products that maximize that impact and align with the sustainability commitments of our converter and brand partners.”

In response to increasing consumer demand for more sustainable packaging and an end to single-use plastics, another focus area at Pixelle is the development of barrier coating technologies for packaging papers and other applications that deliver desired performance characteristics without the use of plastics and PFAS chemicals.

Pixelle works to understand barrier requirements on a case-by-case basis and tailors solutions that meet overall structural needs, but also focuses on end-of-life and eco-friendly design that eliminates the need for “regrettable substitutes.”

“There are many applications where plastic is not the only viable option,” says Pixelle Vice President of Specialty Papers Bob Van Helden. “For Pixelle, problematic plastics are a focus for resolution. We’re collaborating and partnering with brand owners and converters, looking at historical packaging applications and discovering fiber alternatives to problematic substrates and raw materials.”

For more information about Pixelle Specialty Solutions, visit www.pixelle.com.

For more information on the benefits of Two Sides membership, click here.

How Do We End the Myths About Paper Use and Forests? Everybody has a Part to Play!

North American consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the products they buy and use, and they want to do the right things. But when it comes to paper products, the right things are often buried under an avalanche of misinformation and outright falsehoods that are made to sound plausible. Environmental advocacy is too often wrapped in a veneer of misleading, science-sounding terminology, or worse, reduced to slogans like “paper equals deforestation” or “billions of trees are cut down every year to make paper packaging.”

Consumers are presented with images of endangered forests in faraway places like the Amazon and Borneo, the implication being that these forests are the source of trees for paper products manufactured in the United States and Canada. The only beneficiaries of these bait-and-switch tactics are anti-paper activists and paper industry competitors, not consumers or the environment.

Most consumers are fair-minded and justifiably concerned about deforestation, so it’s easy to see why many fall for this type of misdirection. A recent Two Sides North America survey showed that 48% of Americans believe paper is bad for the environment, and 60% believe U.S. forests are shrinking. The facts tell a different story. But these misconceptions will continue to proliferate if we don’t actively debunk the myths about paper and the forest.

Every person in the print, paper and paper-based packaging value chain can play an important part in this effort. Sustainable forestry is a comprehensive, science-based approach to protecting and conserving this vital natural resource. But you don’t need to be a scientist or have a special degree to credibly participate in the conversation. All it takes is a basic understanding about the foundations of sustainable forestry and a few facts from credible sources to make the case.

First, let’s lay a little groundwork.

Most people think sustainable forestry simply means planting trees to replace those that are harvested. While that’s certainly a critical element, sustainable forestry is about so much more than that. The U.S. Forest Service defines it as meeting the forest resources needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations.

Going far beyond just the physical act of reforestation, sustainable forestry is a land stewardship ethic that integrates the growing, harvesting and regeneration of trees for useful products with the protection and conservation of soil, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, forest contributions to global carbon cycles, aesthetics, and long-term social and economic benefits that meet the needs of society. Achieving these objectives is a tall order, and U.S. and Canadian paper and paper-based packaging companies are instrumental in making it happen. Yes, because it’s the right thing to do, but also because their very existence depends on a thriving and sustainable supply of trees to manufacture the products consumers want and need.

Few enterprises on earth have the benefit of so vast or scientific an infrastructure to promote sustainability and the protection of landscapes and natural values as the North American paper industry. This infrastructure links paper companies; university forestry schools; federal, state and provincial foresters; landowners and loggers; silviculture and soil experts; wildlife biologists; conservation groups; forest certification bodies and others to lead world-class forest stewardship.

Partnerships among these diverse entities drive innovation and real-world sustainability progress grounded in research, the continuing evolution of forestry best management practices, education and training for loggers and landowners, and targeted initiatives to address emerging challenges. In addition, certification organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative rigorously audit forestry practices on the ground to independently certify to paper consumers that the products they use come from responsibly managed forests. More than half of the world’s certified forests are in North America (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020).

Here are a few key facts to help make the case that paper is not “destroying forests.”

North American forests are a renewable resource and are not shrinking. U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, and net forest area in Canada remained stable at 857 million acres during the same period (U.N Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020).

Tree harvesting in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland each year compared to the nearly 3% disturbed annually by natural events like insects, disease and fire. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019)

About 89% of wood harvested in the U.S. comes from privately owned forests (U.S. Forest Service, 2019) which provide most of the wood for domestically produced wood and paper products. Demand for sustainably produced paper products provides a strong financial incentive for landowners to manage their land responsibly and keep it forested rather than selling or converting it for non-forest uses, which is the leading cause of deforestation in the United States. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019).

Thanks to innovations in sustainable forest management techniques, today’s private forest owners in the U.S. are growing 59% to 98% more wood (depending on geographic region) than they remove from their timberlands. (Forest2Market, 2021)

Over 90% of Canada’s forestland is publicly owned and managed by provincial, territorial and federal governments. Canada’s forest laws are among the strictest in the world, protecting forests and ensuring that sustainable forest management practices are followed across the country. (Natural Resources Canada, 2021)

Harvesting occurs on 0.2% of Canada’s forestlands annually, while 4.7% is disturbed by insects and 0.5% is disturbed by fire. (Natural Resources Canada, 2020)

For more facts about the sustainability of the North American paper industry and its products, visit www.twosidesna.org/two-sides-fact-sheet.

 

New Two Sides Survey Shows U.S. Consumers Believe Paper-based Packaging is Better for the Environment than Other Packaging Materials

Packaging Preferences Unpacked

 

CHICAGO – June 9, 2021 –  With physical stores closed during the pandemic, the boom in online shopping resulted in record numbers of packages arriving on consumers’ doorsteps. Along with all that merchandise came a growing awareness of the materials used to package and ship products, and the impact those materials have on the environment. A new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by international research firm Toluna found that U.S. consumers believe paper-based packaging is better for the environment than other packaging materials.

Paper: The preferred and sustainable packaging choice

Survey respondents were asked to rank their preferred packaging material (paper/cardboard, plastic, glass and metal) based on 15 environmental, aesthetic and practical attributes. Overall, paper/cardboard packaging was preferred for 10 of the 15 attributes, with half of respondents saying paper/cardboard is better for the environment. Consumers also preferred paper/cardboard packaging on other environmental attributes, including being home compostable (65%) and easier to recycle (44%).

Glass packaging was preferred by consumers for four practical and aesthetic attributes, including being reusable (39%), having a preferred look and feel (39%), providing a better image for the brand (38%) and better protection (35%).  45% preferred metal packaging for being strong and robust. Plastic packaging was not preferred for any of the 15 attributes but was ranked second for six attributes. Only one in 10 respondents believe plastic packaging is better for the environment.

Consumers demand that brands and retailers do more

Brands and retailers play a crucial role in driving innovation and the use of recyclable packaging. In response to increasing consumer pressure to operate more sustainably, brands and retailers in many sectors, from wine, spirits and soft drinks to candy, cosmetics and apparel are shifting from plastic to paper packaging.

The survey found that 49% of consumers would buy more from brands and retailers who remove plastic from their packaging, and 39% would consider avoiding a retailer that is not actively trying to reduce their use of non-recyclable packaging.

“It’s important for consumers to understand that just because packaging is recyclable does not mean it actually gets recycled,” explains Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “Around 66% of all paper and paper-based packaging and nearly 89% of corrugated cardboard gets recycled into new products in the U.S. These high recycling rates and expected increases are due to the paper industry’s already completed and continuing investment in recycling infrastructure, which between 2019 and 2023 will exceed $4 billion. In comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection reports that plastics, glass and metals are recycled at just 9%, 25% and 34%, respectively.”

Who should be responsible for reducing waste from single-use packaging?

As consumers, businesses and governments looks for ways to create a more sustainable, circular economy, waste from single-use packaging, particularly in marine environments, has come into sharp focus. When consumers were asked who has the greatest responsibility for reducing the use of non-recyclable, single-use packaging, more than a third (36%) said individuals have the primary responsibility, followed by 23% who believe it’s up to brands and retailers, 23% who believe it’s up to packaging manufacturers, and 18% who believe it’s the government’s responsibility.

“As the call for the circularity of product lifecycles grows louder, paper has always had a head start,” Rowzie says. “And the industry’s strong support and investment in recycling has transformed the circularity of paper packaging from vision to reality. At a time when there is growing alarm about the low recycled rates of other packaging materials, paper recycling is a striking exception.”

About Two Sides North America, Inc.

Two Sides North America (www.twosidesna.org) is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging, and dispels common environmental misconceptions about paper products. We are part of the Two Sides global network which operates across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

About the survey

The survey, Paper’s Place in a Post-pandemic World, queried a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older across the United States in January 2021.

DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE HERE.

Media contact

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America, Inc.

P:  937-999-7729

E:  info@twosidesna.org

 

 

Has the Pandemic Changed the Way U.S. Consumers Access News and Information?

New Two Sides survey shows U.S. consumer reading habits have changed, but print on paper remains a valued and sustainable part of everyday life

CHICAGO – May 25, 2021 – Print media has seen significant disruption during the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns changing the way we access and consume news and information. But even as familiarity with and use of online media has increased, print on paper remains a widely used and highly valued resource. This according to a new survey, “Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World,” commissioned by non-profit organization Two Sides North America and conducted by global research firm Toluna.

“Print and digital communications are often compared as an either/or proposition to suggest one is better than the other,” says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie, “but our research shows that both play an important part in today’s information-driven economy. Rather than adopt a one-size-fits all digital communications strategy, savvy news organizations and other businesses will continue to offer consumers a choice and in doing so, help to assure that those who are unwilling or unable to access digital information are not disadvantaged.”

As a result of pandemic-related lockdowns, traditional news brands have successfully developed or enhanced their digital platforms, leading many to turn to online media as a primary source of news and information. But it cannot be assumed that everyone who moved online for news did so by choice or that all who moved online will remain there as restrictions on work, travel and leisure are lifted. While the Two Sides survey showed that 58% of consumers intend to read more news online in the future, this percentage has not changed since 2019.  And although print newspaper readership has taken a hit during the pandemic, 49% of consumers say they would be concerned if printed news were to disappear.

It’s important to note that for many Americans, printed communication is not a choice – it’s a necessity.  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission estimates that some 21 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet service,1 but other organizations, including Microsoft,2 report estimates as high as 157 million. In addition, many who have access to internet service cannot afford it. Consumers in rural areas without broadband infrastructure and many among our most vulnerable populations – older Americans, those with disabilities and low-income individuals –  depend solely on printed newspapers, magazines, books, bills and statements.

In addition, digital communication is not universally welcomed. Nearly three in 10 consumers (29%) prefer to read newspapers in print, and that number jumps to more than four in 10 for those over age 55.  44% of consumers say they gain a better understanding of a story when reading news in print versus online. When it comes to magazines, 38% of consumers prefer to read in print, with percentages climbing to 49% for those over 55 and 63% for those over 65. When all age groups are included, 44% prefer to read books in print.

As might be expected, the survey shows that younger adults, those aged 18 to 24 in particular, prefer to read all types of media online. But even among these younger consumers, 28% prefer to receive and read  personal information from doctors and hospitals in print, 27% prefer to read books in print and 23% prefer to receive bills and statements from service providers in print.

“It’s clear that digital communication is changing the way we receive news and information,” Rowzie says, “but Americans’ growing dependence on digital communication brings its own concerns, which in turn presents opportunities for print media to hold and potentially reclaim a  bigger slice of the consumer media pie. Our survey reveals that 52% of consumers believe they spend too much time on their electronic devices, and just over half are concerned that the overuse of digital devices may be damaging their health. And as headlines about online security breaches become a common occurrence, 64% say they are increasingly concerned that their personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.”

Consumers also are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of their communication choices, but there are a lot of misconceptions in the marketplace about the sustainability of both digital communication and print on paper.  “Our survey shows that 67% of consumers believe electronic communication is better for the environment that print on paper,” Rowzie says.  “But the miniaturization of today’s electronic devices and the ‘invisible’ nature of digital infrastructure and cloud-based services cause many to vastly underestimate the environmental footprint of electronic communication, which includes the mining of raw materials like iron, copper and rare earth minerals to produce electronic devices, the massive amounts of predominately fossil fuel energy used to manufacture and operate those devices and the server farms that support them, and the enormous and growing amount of e-waste generated.

“Like all manufactured products, paper has an environmental footprint, too,” Rowzie explains. “But in the U.S., it is a material whose industry grows and regrows its own raw material (wood fiber from trees), derives two-thirds of the power to drive its processes from renewable, carbon-neutral biofuel, cleans and returns more than 90% of the water it uses to the environment and recycles more than 95% of the chemicals it uses to turn trees into pulp. In addition, with a 66% recovery rate, paper is the most recycled material in the country, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  That’s a powerful sustainability story the electronics industry cannot match.”

For more facts about the environmental sustainability of print and paper products, visit https://twosidesna.org/two-sides-fact-sheet

About Two Sides North America, Inc.

Two Side North America is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging, and dispels common environmental misconceptions about paper products.  We are part of the Two Sides global network which operates across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Media Contact:

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America, Inc.

P:  937-999-7729

E:  info@twosidesna.org

  Federal Communications Commission, “2019 Broadband Deployment Report,” 2019, https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/broadband-progress-reports/2019-broadband-deployment-report
 Microsoft, “Microsoft Airband: An Update on Connecting Rural America,” 2019, https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2020/03/05/update-connecting-rural-america/
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