3 November 2014
Thirty companies agree to remove "anti-paper" claims from e-services
CHICAGO—Two Sides North America Inc’s anti-greenwash campaign is gaining traction, as the company has announced that more than 30 leading organizations have agreed to remove “anti-paper” claims from its electronic billing and other e-services.

“Many in the graphic communications industry, from family forest owners to paper mills, printers, mailers and related businesses, are tired of seeing misleading environmental claims about print and paper,” Two Sides North America president Phil Riebel said. “Our campaign has been focused on educating corporate marketers on the unique social and environmental benefits of print and paper, and to ensure that claims used to promote e-services are based on credible science and facts.”

The non-profit organization was created to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper. Two Sides says the claims that e-services are more environmentally friendly hurts the North American economy and they do not meet the guidelines for environmental marketing established by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Competition Bureau of Canada.

Additionally Two Sides main reasons for challenging the claims are:
  • They are damaging to the North American economy and threaten jobs.   In the U.S. alone, a total of 8.4 million jobs that generate $1.3 trillion in sales revenue depend on the U.S. mailing industry, which includes paper production, printing production, related suppliers, graphic design and the handling and distribution of mail (Envelope Manufacturers Association, 2013).
  • The income landowners receive for trees grown on their land is an important incentive to maintain, sustainably manage and renew this valuable resource. If the market for their wood products is lost, there is little incentive for owners to maintain their forest land (which is then sold to developers and converted to non-forest use).  
  • Print on paper originates from a renewable resource – trees grown in responsibly managed North American forests. It is recyclable, and is the most recycled commodity with recovery rates of 63% or higher (American Forest & Paper Association, 2014). 
  • In North America, we grow more trees than we harvest.  Over the last six decades, total net U.S. forest area has increased by over 3% and the net volume of trees on timberland has increased by 58% (U.S. Forest Service, 2012).  In Canada, the forest cover has remained stable over the last two decades and harvest has been 44% of annual growth (Conference Board of Canada, 2014).
  • The environmental and social impacts of switching from paper to e-media are not properly or adequately considered - and they are far from negligible.  The trade‐off between the two platforms depends on conditions such as use frequency, source of energy, and end‐of‐life management of the products (P. Arnfalk, 2010). 
  • Consumer surveys found that 50% or more of U.S. respondents don’t believe, feel misled or question “Go Paperless – Save Trees” claims, and that over 80% agreed that e-billing and e-statements are being promoted to save costs (Toluna and Two Sides, 2013).
The company also cites writer Alison Moodie’s article in The Guardian, which states that electronic products also leave a carbon footprint and more research needs to be done to understand its full environmental impact before either is deemed better for the environment.
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