Submitted: The Two Sides Team May 29, 2019
Misinformation in Mailings and Annual Reports
Two Sides’ efforts to combat misleading claims related to print and paper has resulted in over 400 companies worldwide, including 118 in North America, removing unsubstantiated ‘green’ claims in their marketing materials.
Despite our repeated efforts to contact TIAA and BlackRock, they continue to ignore consumer preferences and fact-based research to make unsupported environmental claims in their literature and mailings.
Common consumer misconceptions about print and paper are reinforced by service providers as they increasingly encourage their customers to switch to electronic bills, statements, and correspondence to reduce costs. 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 not welcomed by many consumers. If TIAA and BlackRock are serious about their environmental and sustainability efforts, they need to review the U.S. FTC Green Guides which gives marketers a thorough overview of how to preserve their company’s public image when it comes to avoiding “greenwashing” claims and meet the requirements to be “truthful, clear and substantiated.”
Here are some facts and key links to consider about paper and the switch to electronic or digital-only options:
- Contrary to popular thinking: going paperless does not save trees or forests in North America and North American Paper can be a sustainable choice.
- U.S. forests are growing by 2,740 football fields every day, and North America is a world-class leader in sustainable forest management.
- Paper supports sustainable forestry and millions of landowners, family businesses and communities that rely on forestry and paper products.
- Not using forest products increases the risk of private forests being lost due to conversion to non-forest uses.
- Green claims need to be backed by specific evidence and studies – they cannot be vague and must consider the above points and others in the life-cycle of both digital and print products.
Two Sides continues to provide fact-based information about paper and printing to encourage companies like TIAA and BlackRock to send the right message about sustainability. If you are a TIAA or BlackRock customer, please consider sending them a letter to encourage them to join the hundreds of other companies who have changed their message about paper and printing.
You can contact us at [email protected] for a ready-made template to use. All you need to do is sign and mail it.
To join us, please visit the Two Sides Membership page, contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 855-896-7433. You can also connect with us online at www.twosidesna.org and through social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.