Since the campaign began in 2010, globally, Two Sides has successfully challenged over 1075 organisations that subject their customers to repeated greenwashing messages which are damaging to the paper, print and mailing industry.
With huge pressures on the economy; banks, telecom providers, utility companies and even governmental organisations 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.” Recent consumer survey results from Two Sides 2023 ‘Trend Tracker’ report, reveals that 55% of European consumers believe environmental arguments from companies to switch to digital communications are misleading and are about reducing costs.
“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 Europe Managing Director Jonathan Tame. “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 organisations we engage are surprised to learn that European forests have actually been growing by 1,500 football pitches every day.”
Globally, Two Sides has engaged over 2100 organisations making misleading statements about paper. So far, over 1075 of them have removed such statements from their communications and Two Sides continues to engage and inform the remaining organisations. The organisations were located throughout Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
In Europe, to date, 682 companies have removed unsubstantiated claims about paper, including Dunhelm, British Gas, Intermarche, American Express and Sparebanken Vest, to name a few.
“It remains vital that greenwash is challenged to ensure that the industry’s great environmental record is recognised and that the livelihoods of thousands of industry employees, as well as print, paper and postage volumes, are not damaged by the spread of misleading and opportunistic greenwash marketing,” Tame says.
Because of the huge reach of some of these greenwashing organisations, their unsubstantiated claims have a damaging effect on consumer perceptions of paper and threaten a sector that employs over 640,000 people in more than 112,000 European businesses. The financial impact of greenwash on the paper, print and mailing industry is of global concern if these messages continue without challenge. Research conducted by Two Sides and Censuswide in 2021, found that in Europe alone, greenwashing threatens the loss of €337 million of value annually to the paper, print and mailing industry.
The Anti-greenwash Campaign continues to be a priority for Two Sides, and 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 organisations 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,” Tame concludes.
Two Sides continues to actively challenge major organisations found to be misleading consumers by using environmental claims about the use of paper. Please send any instances of greenwash to [email protected].