AN initiative which promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper packaging has engaged over 320 organisations in the past year it claims are making ‘misleading’ environmental claims.

Since 2010, the Two Sides campaign has influenced the change or removal of claims made by over 700 organisations, centring around encouraging customers to switch from paper to digital services.

This, the Two Sides campaign says, is done to cut costs. However, organisations ‘attempt to mask these cost-saving efforts, justifying the switch with unfounded environmental marketing appeals’ which state that going paperless is ‘greener’ and doing so will help save trees.

“Not only are these greenwash claims in breach of established environmental marketing rules, but they are hugely damaging to an industry which has a solid and continually improving environmental record,” explained Jonathan Tame, Two Sides managing director.

“Far from ‘saving trees,’ a healthy market for forest products such as paper encourages the long-term growth of forests through sustainable forest management. Many of the organisations we engage are always surprised to learn that European forests have actually been growing by 1,500 football pitches every day.”

Globally in 2020, Two Sides engaged 320 organisations said to be making misleading statements about paper. So far, 134 of them have removed such statements from their communications. The organisations were throughout Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

READ MORE: Survey puts value on natural capital of new woodlands

In 2020, in Europe, 106 companies removed unsubstantiated claims about paper, including EDF energy, Eon, Marks and Spencer, Sparkasse, Volksbank-Raiffeisenbank, BHV/Le Marais and SNCF.

 “Greenwashing is a serious issue for our sector, and we have seen a worrying increase driven by current economic pressures,” Mr Tame said. “Because of the huge reach of some of these greenwashing organisations, their unsubstantiated claims have a damaging effect on consumer perceptions of paper and threaten a sector which employs 1,096,000 people in more than 115,700 businesses in the EU and UK. This is why the Anti-greenwash Campaign continues to be a priority for Two Sides, and we will continue to urge companies to reject the use of unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about going paperless in all of their communications.”

He added: “We are grateful for the cooperation of the hundreds of organisations that have changed or eliminated greenwashing claims from their messaging, and we are also thankful for the many industry stakeholders and members of the public who send Two Sides examples of greenwash.”

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £75 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link:

Thanks – and stay safe.