Two Sides Launches New Initiative to Stop misuse “Go Green – Go Paperless” Claims

March 9, 2015  |  Electronic Invoicing, Research

Yet another research, commissioned by the paper industry lobbying organisation ‘Two Sides’, has revealed that major global corporations are still using inaccurate and misleading environmental claims to encourage consumers to ‘go paperless’ and switch from paper-based to digital communication.  This is despite legislation being introduced by the advertising standards authorities to protect the consumer from being misled.

The survey, undertaken in February 2015, showed that in the UK, there is still a significant proportion of financial service organisations, energy, gas and water suppliers and telecoms businesses that are still making false environmental claims. Similarly, research in the US shows a similar picture with half of the leading Fortune 500 companies in the same sectors were doing the same.

Two Sides will be engaging with companies in Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, South Africa and Australia, who have either reneged on undertakings to stop using misleading environmental claims or are now again claiming that switching to online billing and communication is better for the environment without supplying verifiable supporting evidence.

In North America, Two Sides has also been successful in converting 30 of the Fortune 500 companies in the same sectors and is in discussion with a further 25 organisations who have yet to comply.

Forest land and wood land areas have increased

According to TwoSides, in Europe 44% of the land area is covered by forests and 93% of our paper comes from Europe where the area of forest has grown by 30% since 1950 and has been increasing at a rate of 1.5 million football pitches every year.”

In the US, the latest statistics from the US Department of Agriculture show that net forest land area has increased by 3% in the past 60 years, and wood volume on timberland (number of trees) has increased 58% during the same time period.

TwoSides concludes: “Paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and used, can be a sustainable way to communicate. The forest and paper industries rely on sustainable forests and they are major guardians of this precious and growing resource.”

But there is more to it, TwoSides!

There is something else however that TwoSides ‘forgets’ to mention. And that is the water and air pollution when creating paper and during the pre-press and press production. And then there is the ecological footprint when dealing with the logistics of paper products. Because a paper sheet is just a paper sheet.

So perhaps, the e-billing go green argument is legit after all!


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  1. Two Sides is well aware of the entire life cycle and environmental impacts of paper and print products. We have covered many of these topics in our fact sheets available here:

    The go green argument being used to promote e-bills is only legitimate if it is backed up by credible science-based studies, which are factual and verifiable and which apply to the specific situations of each company. The problem is that nobody bothers with this and they act based on pure marketing instinct. This is against best practices for environmental marketing as outlined by ISO, the US Federal Trade Commission and most developed countries advertising standards.

    People need to understand that the massive electronic infrastructure we all rely on has as much or more global environmental impacts than paper products, and it relies mostly on non-renewable materials and fossil fuel energy, unlike paper.

  2. What is not legit is either paper or digital channels arguing that their process is better for the environment. Both have impacts. Consider the environmentally friendly recycling of paper compared to the growing volume of electronic waste, (according to Greenpeace, now making up over 5% of worldwide municipal landfills and growing).
    Leave the environmental arguments out when promoting e-billing. They don’t stand up, they’re misleading and they flout regulations!
    But great to see you airing the debate!