Two Sides thanks companies for not greenwashing when promoting electronic over paper


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by Phil Riebel, President, Two Sides North America

As many of you know, Two Sides has been working with several Fortune 500 companies in North America to encourage best practices for environmental marketing related to paper.  In other words, stopping the use of unsubstantiated and marketing-driven claims such as “go green – go paperless” or “save trees.”

To find out more about why we are challenging these claims, read our Myths and Fact page and view our latest infographic on Paper and Sustainable Forestry.

Our ongoing campaign has been successful, with 33 companies out of 60 removing their claims – a 60% success rate to date.  But our target is 80% and we continue to add new companies to our list regularly.  In fact, many of our members send us claims of concern every week.  We are collaborating with the American Forest & Paper Association on a number of cases, as well as Two Sides member companies.

We have made great progress with several major banks, utilities and telecom providers.  Here are a few examples:

  • Green claims to promote e-billing removed from websites operated by several of the top Fortune 30 banks, telecoms and utilities, as well as claims on e-mails to customers and printed materials.
  • Green claims removed by a major Northeastern US power provider including an envelope with the statement, “I used to be a tree :( ,” that reached millions of customers every year.    
  • YouTube videos removed by a major West Coast utility.  They followed up with a letter to Two Sides stating: “We have reconsidered our messaging and determined that cost savings is the most significant driver for our campaign. As such, we decided to discontinue statements regarding environmental benefits of electronic billing.”

In our discussions with most companies we have agreed to not release their names publicly unless we have their permission.  However, a complete list of companies we are engaged with and regular progress reports are available to Two Sides members.

We have developed some great working relationships with several companies including Sprint.   In an interview with Two Sides, Alan Anglyn at Sprint (Director – IT Care & Billing Services Business Management) said: “One of the benefits of our relationship with Two Sides has been the opportunity to reflect on how we communicate our efforts.  This caused us to review Sprint’s messaging about electronic media across multiple touch points.”

The Guardian published a feature article on our campaign in their sustainable business section: “Is Digital Really Greener than Paper?” which gave us great coverage, and was very positive for the recognition of print and paper.

With the help of our network and the cooperation of leading companies I am confident that we can continue to reduce the number of misleading claims that are damaging the graphic communications industry and the livelihood of millions of North Americans. 

Check us out on Twitter ( and Facebook ( as we say thanks to those companies who lead the way in proper marketing practices.

Please consider joining us as a member company to help support our campaign, click here

Source: Two Sides North America. Photo: Marek/Dollar Photo Club