Submitted: The Two Sides Team January 15, 2013
Doesnt the print industry have better things to do than shake its fist at Google and their Go Paperless in 2013 campaign? So many already think Print is out of touch with the new world, so why add fuel to that fire? And the organizations that are speaking out, well they just have their own agendas to push.
January 14 2013
by Deborah Corn, Print Media Center
Doesnt the print industry have better things to do than shake its
fist at Google and their Go Paperless in 2013 campaign? So many already
think Print is out of touch with the new world, so why add fuel to
that fire? And the organizations that are speaking out, well they just
have their own agendas to push. Google isnt attacking anyone in the
print, or paper industry, for that matter. This campaign is about office
paperwork. It makes us seem like Luddites coming off so defensive!
Those are a few sentiments from our side being shared on social
media, in various channels, from numerous discussions. And you know
what, they are valid arguments. The problem is none of them address the
core issue with Go Paperless in 2013. And until we all are clear on
that, and unify to fix it, we are doomed to fight amongst ourselves
about the tangents.
As Kermit says, Its not easy being Green. But its
apparently very simple to imply you are in marketing, especially when it
comes to the phrase Go Green, Go Paperless.
Why does that matter? I will get to that in a second, first I would
like you to consider this The claim that is being made by Google for Go
Paperless in 2013 is save time, money and trees.
To establish that an advertisement is false, a plaintiff must prove
five things: (1) a false statement of fact has been made about the
advertisers own or another persons goods, services, or commercial
activity; (2) the statement either deceives or has the potential to
deceive a substantial portion of its targeted audience; (3) the
deception is also likely to affect the purchasing decisions of its
audience; (4) the advertising involves goods or services in interstate
commerce; and (5) the deception has either resulted in or is likely to
result in injury to the plaintiff.
Deception is a strong word, and I dont believe the save trees part
was intended to deceive or trick consumers into purchasing digital and
cloud services from Google and their partners. It is however a deceptive
phrase. It does imply that consumers are doing something to save trees
(aka beneficial to the planet) by using digital and cloud services
instead of paper. Therefore, paper bad, digital good. That is the ONLY
problem here. Its simply not true.
Two-Sides US, Choose Print, Print Grows Trees, Go Paper Grow Trees
and a host of credible resources out there have pages of facts and
stats you can refer to and look up which support the sustainability of
paper, and the amount of trees has essentially remained the same for the
past 100 years, way before digital anything came into the picture.
So why should this matter to you?
If it matters to you that automakers cant make up how many miles per
gallon their cars get and slap it into ads, or that cosmetic companies
cant make claims and then use retouching to show results, or that
airlines now have to include all of their hidden fees in pricing, this
situation is no different, and there are laws against it.
Greenwashing isnt good for anyone or any industry. To quote TwoSides US guest blogger Kathi Rowzie,
playing on consumers desire to be environmentally responsible without
sound scientific backup only serves to further erode confidence in all
green marketing claims, including the ones that represent real
Greenwashing isnt good for anyone in print and marketing. As I commented
on PrintWeeks site, Until we change the misperception that Paper
Kills Trees, we are holding the door open for Print Kills Trees
instead of slamming it shut.
Perhaps you think that is a stretch? Well let me tell you about a
horrific exchange I had with someone who works for a company that
provides software solutions for print service providers to automate
their workflow. I do not see an environmental claim on their site, but
his position is that emailing PDF quotes, PDF invoices and linking to
online PDF proofs, and I quote, reduce the amount of certain types of
documents. In the three examples, it is also faster and less energy
consuming than printing a quote or invoice, placing it into an
envelope, placing postage on it, putting it in a mail box and have gas
consuming trucks involved. Any rational person would agree that sending
these documents as paper is wasteful, slower so, less efficient and
And that is how it starts. Today its office copy paper; tomorrow
its direct mail. And this is from someone IN our industry who is not
(usually) irrational, but also has a bunch of mail automation software
on their company product list!
Its always someone elses problem until it hits your doorstep, and
usually by then its too late. Google did not attack us, but the idea
they are spreading, unless it stopped, will eventually kill us. Then the trees might actually have something to worry about!