Submitted: The Two Sides Team March 3, 2014
Life Cycle Assessments are often used to support environmental arguments. But there are risks, warns a new article from Two Sides.
Many leading companies, including banks, utilities and telecommunications organizations, are urging their customers to go paperless with claims that electronic communications save trees, are 'greener' than print or otherwise protect the environment.
Research shows that 250% of US respondents and 58% of UK respondents do not believe, feel misled or question 'go green' go paperless' claims used to promote e-billing.'
Two Sides asserts that all claims should be supported by sound and verifiable evidence and has released a detailed three page fact sheet on 'Understanding generic calculators, Life Cycle Assessment's and risks to corporate reputation'.
The fact sheet highlights the 'misleading' nature of these claims and states that the majority of them lack specificity and rarely cite substantiating data while implying an environmental benefit, which means they fail to meet the basic criteria for acceptable environmental marketing as outlined in most published laws, guidelines and standards.
Two Sides focuses on why a generic LCA is not designed to substantiate a marketing claim and reviews the best practices for environmental marketing. The report also provides an important starting point in understanding the different roles of generic and full Life Cycle Assessments.
Both electronic and paper communications have environmental consequences. The impact of each is broad and complex, and cannot be well understood without careful examination of a specific use scenario. The fact sheet looks at the digital life cycle and asserts that 'a responsible approach to understanding the environmental impact of each of these mediums would reflect careful examination while also seeking to reduce the footprint of both'.
The full report can be downloaded in a PDF here.