Two Sides Continues To Challenge Greenwashing Claims

Two Sides Continues To Challenge Greenwashing Claims

Since 2010, Two Sides’ fact-driven campaign has persuaded more than 880 organisations globally, including 159 in North America, to remove unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper from their marketing communications.

North America’s leading corporations and other service providers influence millions of consumers every day with their anti-paper greenwashing claims, leading many to believe that the use of paper is destroying forests and is bad for the environment.

For example, a 2021 Two Sides survey of U.S. consumers showed that 60% believe that U.S. forests are shrinking, when in fact, U.S. net forest area increased by 18 million acres over the past 30 years, the equivalent of 1200 NFL football fields every day, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment. The UN FAO reports that Canada’s net forest area remained stable at around 857 million acres during the same period.

As banks, utilities, telecom companies and government agencies face mounting economic uncertainties, many of these services providers are looking to cut costs by encouraging their customers to switch from paper to digital communications. But all too often, these cost-cutting appeals are cloaked in unsubstantiated and misleading environmental marketing claims that suggest going paperless is ‘green’, ‘saves trees’ or ‘is better for the environment’.

‘These greenwashing claims not only fail to comply with established environmental marketing standards, but they also damage consumer perceptions of paper’s environmental sustainability,’ said Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. ‘And that’s a threat to the economic security of millions of people in the United States and Canada whose livelihoods depend on the paper, print and mailing sector.’

‘Paper is one of the few products on earth that already has an environmentally sustainable, circular life cycle,’ Rowzie said. ‘Paper products are recycled more than any other material. But many consumers believe paper is bad for the environment because their service providers are telling them so. Two Sides is working hard to change that.’

Two Sides challenges greenwashing companies and other organisations in a non-confrontational way, educating CEOs and other senior management with facts from credible, third-party sources that clearly demonstrate the unique sustainability characteristics of paper products and the solid and continually improving environmental record of the North American paper industry. Because North America’s leading corporations and other service providers have such an expansive reach, Two Sides’ anti-greenwashing efforts to date have had an enormous impact, with unsubstantiated ‘go paperless’ environmental messages removed from literally billions of customer communications.

‘But there’s much more work to do as companies continue to distort the paper industry’s great environmental record and threaten paper, print and mail volumes with opportunistic greenwashing claims,’ Rowzie said. ‘This is why the Anti-Greenwashing Campaign continues to be a top priority for Two Sides.’

Across North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Two Sides has challenged more than 1900 organisations that have made unsubstantiated environmental claims about paper and continues to pursue those whose use greenwashing claims to mask their cost-cutting efforts.

‘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 greenwashing,’ Rowzie concluded.


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