8 January 2013
Industry responds to "Go Paperless"
TORONTO—Seven digital companies comprising a group called the Paperless Coalition have launched a "Go Paperless" initiative that some members of the printing industry see as an attack.

The group of companies, including Google, is encouraging consumers to sign-up and pledge to reduce paper usage in 2013.

Michael Makin, president and chief executive officer of Printing Industries of America (PIA), said today in a letter to members that the Paperless Coalition companies "clearly have a vested interest in a non-paper communications stream." He added that PIA regards the proposal as "an insult to the almost one million Americans who owe their livelihood to our industry."

Michael Makin, PIA president and chief executive officer

In a like-minded salvo, an open letter to Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt from the group Two Sides expressed "incredulity" at the news. Two Sides is an industry advocacy group the promotes responsible production and use of print and paper in Europe, the U.S. an Australia.

"This new initiative is clearly another example of a self-interested organization using an environmentally focused marketing campaign to promote its services while ignoring its own impact upon the environment," said the letter, which goes on to measure Google's environmental footprint.

"In reality we live in an increasingly digital world and electronic and paper based communication coexist. Each has environmental impacts and it would be helpful, and more honest with consumers, if organizations would not try to differentiate their products and services on the basis of spurious and unattributed environmental claims."

The Paperless Coalition members are Google, HelloFax, Manilla, HelloSign, Expensify, Xero and Fujitsu ScanSnap. For more information on "Go Paperless" visit Paperless2013.org.
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