Greenwash remains a target
Greenwash claims about saving trees damage an industry which has a solid and continually improving environmental record

Two Sides says that greenwash remains a target as its global campaign continues.

The Two Sides Anti-Greenwash Campaign has successfully challenged over 810 companies’ misleading anti-paper statements. The campaign began in 2010. It challenges organisations that subject their customers to repeated greenwashing messages. These messages damage the paper, print, and mailing sectors.

Many companies and organisation focus on switching their customers from paper to digital services to cut costs. They justify these cost-saving measures with unfounded environmental marketing appeals. Their messages include: ‘Go Green – Go Paperless’ and ‘Choose e-billing and help save a tree’.

Kellie Northwood, chief executive at Two Sides, says, “These greenwash claims are in breach of established environmental marketing rules. Also, they are hugely damaging to an industry which has a solid and continually improving environmental record.

“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 the truth. For example, New Zealand’s total planted tree farm’s standing volume is estimated to be 519 million cubic metres with an average forest standing age (area weighted) of 17.38 years. Furthermore, Australia has two million hectares of working tree farms and this is growing.”

Vital to challenge greenwash

Globally, Two Sides has engaged over 1,690 organisations making misleading statements about paper. So far, over 810 of them have removed such statements from their communications. Meanwhile, Two Sides continues to engage and inform the remaining organisations. The organisations are located throughout Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Northwood adds, “It remains vital that we challenge greenwash. This will help ensure recognition for the industry’s great environmental record. In addition, it avoids damaging the livelihoods of thousands of industry employees. It is vital we stop the harm to print, paper and postage volumes from this spread of misleading and opportunistic greenwash marketing.”

“Some of the greenwashing organisations have a huge reach. As a result, their unsubstantiated claims have a damaging effect on consumer perceptions of paper. Overall, this threatens a sector that employs 301,000 people in more than 8,519 businesses across Australia and New Zealand. There is significant financial impact of greenwash on the paper, print and mailing industry where these messages continue without challenge. Recent research found that in Australia and New Zealand alone, greenwashing threatens the loss of $8.27bn of value annually to the paper, print and mailing industry.”

“This is why the Anti-Greenwash Campaign continues to be a priority for Two Sides. We will continue to urge companies to reject the use of unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about going paperless in all of their communications.”

She concludes, “We are grateful for the cooperation of the hundreds of organisations that have changed or eliminated greenwashing claims from their messaging. Also, we thank the many industry stakeholders and members of the public who send Two Sides examples of greenwash.”

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