Submitted: Kathi Rowzie February 1, 2021
Since 2010, the Two Sides campaign has successfully influenced the change or removal of misleading environmental claims by more than 700 organizations globally and more than 130 in North America, including many of the world’s largest corporations.
CHICAGO – February 2, 2021 – With huge pressures on the economy, banks, telecom providers, utility companies and even governmental organizations are increasingly focused on switching their customers from paper to digital services to cut costs. All too often their customer communications attempt to mask these cost-saving efforts, justifying the switch with unfounded environmental marketing appeals such as “Go Green – Go Paperless” and “Choose e-billing and help save a tree.”
“Not only are these greenwash claims in breach of established environmental marketing rules, but they are hugely damaging to an industry which has a solid and continually improving environmental record,” says Two Sides North America (TSNA) President Phil Riebel. “Far from ‘saving trees,’ a healthy market for forest products such as paper encourages the long-term growth of forests through sustainable forest management. Many of the organizations we engage are surprised to learn that over the last 30 years, U.S. forests have grown by some 18 million acres while net forest area in Canada has remained about the same.”
Globally in 2020, Two Sides engaged 320 organizations making misleading statements about paper. So far, 134 of them have removed such statements from their communications and Two Sides continues to engage the remaining organizations. The organizations were throughout North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This brings the total to 710 companies that have removed misleading greenwashing statements since the campaign began in 2010.
In early 2020, the board of directors of TSNA made the difficult decision to suspend the Anti-greenwash Campaign in the United States and Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges posed by lockdowns across both countries. While no additional organizations were engaged from March through October, TSNA continued its efforts with organizations previously contacted, resulting in a number of additional wins and an overall success rate of 65% since the beginning of the campaign, which resumed in November.
“Greenwashing is a serious issue for our industry, and we have seen a worrying increase driven by current economic pressures” Riebel says. “Because of the huge reach of some of these greenwashing organizations, their unsubstantiated claims have a damaging effect on consumer perceptions of paper and threaten a sector which employs 7.6 million people across the United States and Canada. This is why the Anti-greenwash Campaign continues to be a priority for Two Sides. We will continue to urge companies to reject the use of unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about going paperless in all of their communications.
“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 greenwash,” Riebel concludes.
For more information about the anti-greenwash campaign or to learn more about Two Sides, please contact us at email@example.com
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 paper packaging value chain including: forestry, pulp, paper, packaging, inks and chemicals, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators.
Kathi Rowzie, Vice President, Operations
Two Sides North America