“Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.”
Common inaccuracies about print and paper are still a major issue for the industry.
These misconceptions are further reinforced by financial organisations, utility companies and many other service providers, as they increasingly encourage their customers to switch to electronic bills and statements.
But instead of focusing on the potential cost savings of digital, often the incentive to switch is based on unfounded environmental claims such as "Go Green - Go Paperless" and "Choose e-billing and help save a tree".
These messages are unsubstantiated, misleading and can have a lasting effect on consumer perceptions of paper.
The video below focuses on our "Anti-Greenwash" campaign and highlights some key facts about the print and paper industry, as well as some lesser-known facts about the environmental impacts of electronic communication. The video also features important facts about consumer preferences, such as 84% of UK consumers do not like it when companies take away their right to choose their communication method.
Two Sides actively engages organisations found to be using unsubstantiated environmental claims about the use of paper. To date, over 70% of companies engaged by Two Sides have changed or removed misleading messages.
“For all customer facing copy, it is important to avoid making any unsubstantiated claims regarding switching from paper to electronic formats.”
Brendan McNamara, Head of NGO Engagement, HSBC
“There is a time and a place for both print and digital communications. Any future messaging will focus on the cost savings available with paperless billing.”
Iain Wood, Head of Public Affairs, TalkTalk
Please send any instances of greenwash to firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are some of the organisations engaged by Two Sides that have changed or removed misleading messages.