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Misleading Anti-Paper Messaging

Misleading Anti-Paper Messaging

Misleading Anti-Paper Messaging

Extracted from the Printing SA (PIFSA) July 2019 Newsletter

Two Sides, the global initiative promoting the sustainability of print and paper, continue to tackle misleading environmental claims made by some of the world’s largest corporations. 
Common inaccuracies about print and paper are still a major issue for the industry. These misconceptions are further reinforced by financial organisations, utility companies and many other service providers, as they increasingly encourage their customers to switch to electronic bills and statements. But instead of focusing on the potential cost savings of digital, often the incentive to switch is based on unfounded environmental claims such as “Go Green – Go Paperless” and “Choose e-billing and help save a tree”.
In the first half of 2019, Two Sides researched the websites and communications of 102 organisations around the globe. Of these, 69 were found to be using unsubstantiated claims about print and paper’s impact on the environment. So far, 38 of these organisations have removed or changed their messaging after being engaged by Two Sides. 
Since 2010, Two Sides has successfully challenged 441 companies found to be using misleading claims. Industries with the highest number of Greenwashers include telecoms providers, banks and financial institutions, utility providers and governmental organisations.

Paper and digital communications: The facts 

  •  90% of the wood used by the European paper industry comes from European forests.
  • These forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland between 2005 – 2015.
  • The European paper recycling rate is over 72% (the highest of any material).
  •  The European pulp and paper Industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe.
  • The CO2 per tonne of paper has been reduced by 43% since 1990. 
  • The ICT industry accounts for approximately 2% of global emissions, on par with the emissions from the global aviation sector.
  • 9 million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year from goods such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
  • Annually, Cloud computing demands twice as much electricity as the entire United Kingdom.

Martyn Eustace, Chairman of Two Sides, said:
“Consumers should not be misled and encouraged to go ‘paperless’ through the use of misleading ‘green’ marketing. The true picture of the excellent environmental benefits of paper is being overlooked by these false messages. Paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and used, can be a sustainable way to communicate. The forest and paper industries rely on sustainable forests and they are major guardians of this precious and growing resource.” 

Minuteman Press Cape Town supports actions to promote the sustainability of the environment that is affected by the industry which includes purchasing FSC certified paper from our vendors.