Going Paperless May Not Be Better for the Environment, Says Two Sides

"The objective of our new program is to offer our expertise at no cost to U.S. corporations who currently make environmental claims about print and paper relative to online billing and communication." – Phil Riebel, President and COO, Two Sides

July 10, 2012 (Press Release) - Two Sides today announced a nationwide initiative to assist major U.S. companies in developing and implementing best practices related to environmental marketing claims for print and paper. According to Two Sides research on 94 leading companies, 50 percent of them are using unsubstantiated environmental claims to encourage consumers to switch to lower-cost electronic billing and services.

“The objective of our new program is to offer our expertise at no cost to U.S. corporations who currently make environmental claims about print and paper relative to online billing and communication. Our research has shown that many companies are using negative claims that are not verifiable or factual related to the environmental impacts of print and paper, and as a result do not meet best practice guidelines for environmental marketing,“ says Two Sides President and COO Phil Riebel. “Two Sides and our 60 member companies are committed to sharing our collective expertise on the life-cycle and environmental impacts of print and paper. Our discussions to date have been very productive and the end result has been more accurate claims that are not damaging to the paper, printing and mailing sectors that provide over 8 million U.S. jobs.”

Two Sides, which represents companies across the graphic communications supply chain, will assist companies to develop and follow best practices for environmental marketing, including the use of science-based and verifiable information. The non-profit conducted a similar campaign in the United Kingdom with great success. More than 80 percent of the U.K. companies approached — including well-known names like British Telecom, Barclaycard, Vodafone and EON Energy — agreed to change their messaging to eliminate misleading or factually incorrect environmental claims about the use of print and paper.

“The fact is, print and paper products made in the U.S. have a great environmental story to tell,” Riebel says. “Paper comes from a renewable resource — trees grown in responsibly managed forests — and it’s recycled more than any other commodity, including plastics, metals and glass. The continuing demand for sustainably sourced paper gives U.S. landowners and families a financial incentive to continue managing their lands responsibly and keep them forested rather than selling them for development or other non-forest uses. Thanks in great part to the sustainable forestry practices advanced by the paper and forest products industry, the volume of growing trees in U.S. forests has increased nearly 50 percent over the last half century.”

“Many major U.S. companies have implemented credible sustainability initiatives that focus on true performance measurement and factual environmental claims” Riebel says. “However, in some cases marketing seems to take the upper hand on science. Two Sides is committed to help change this, and our experience to date shows that we’ve been successful in finding mutually acceptable solutions.”

Two Sides is an initiative by companies from the Graphic Communication Value Chain including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing and printing. Membership spans Europe, the United States and Australia. Our common goal is to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper, and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium. For more information about Two Sides, visit the Two Sides U.S. website at www.twosides.us.

SOURCE: Two Sides