Global industry campaign fights greenwashing

Two Sides, a global industry campaign promoting the environmental credentials of paper and print, has successfully challenged over 880 organisations from sending greenwashing messages to customers, calling out the misrepresentation of the environmental credentials of paper, print and mail.

Over the past twelve months, Two Sides said that it has seen an increase in banks, telecos, utility companies and government organisations increasing their claims that paper bills and statements are bad for the environment.

With marketing claims ‘Go Green – Go Paperless’ or ‘Choose e-billing, save a tree’, it said these claims are unsubstantiated by fact and are more to save the company money rather than save the environment. 

“Greenwashing in Australia is hugely damaging to an industry which has a very strong environmental record and is in breach of the ACCC Guidelines. Far from ‘saving trees,’ paper is a renewable resource from working forests, which are planted and harvested which encourages the long-term growth of forests through sustainable and biodiverse forest management,” Two Sides A/NZ manager, Kellie Northwood said.

“Many of the organisations we engage are surprised to learn that our planted forests have doubled in size from one million to two million hectares and this number is growing.”

Globally, Two Sides has engaged over 1,900 organisations making misleading statements about paper with 880 of them having removed greenwashing statements from their communications.

It remains vital that greenwash is challenged to ensure that the industry’s great environmental record is represented accurately and that the livelihoods of Australians are not damaged by the spread of misleading marketing messages. Paper is renewable, recyclable and an important part of our social inclusivity in an increasingly digitally divided country,” Northwood added.

According to Two Sides, because of the huge reach of some of these greenwashing organisations, their unsubstantiated claims can have a detrimental effect on consumer perceptions of paper and threaten a sector that employs 258,000 Australians across 4,728 companies of which 94 per cent are small businesses.

The financial impact of greenwash on the paper, print and mailing industry is of global concern if these messages continue without challenge.

Further to this, recent research, conducted by Two Sides and Toluna in 2021, found that 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 the industry, which is planning to launch a broader consumer campaign promoting the societal and environmental credentials of paper and print.

“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 examples of greenwashing. We will continue to challenge the misrepresentation and call on any companies making these claims to reconsider your approach,” Northwood said. 

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