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Dear Blog followers,

Just a quick note to let you know that our blog has now been integrated into our new website at http://www.twosidesna.org .  Please sign up to our newsletter to stay on the blog list.

The blog page is here: http://www.twosides.us/blog

Below is the press release announcing our new site. I hope you enjoy it!

Phil Riebel

President, Two Sides North America, Inc.

_____________________________________

Two Sides Launches Engaging New Website

The newly redesigned Two Sides website makes it easy for site visitors to find the information they need.

LONDON-UK, CHICAGO-USA (May 15, 2014) – Bold, bright, and easy-to-navigate, the newly redesigned Two Sides website makes it easy for site visitors to find the information they need.  The new site is now live in North America (www.twosidesna.org or www.twosides.us) and for the UK (www.twosides.info). Other countries are moving to the new site over the following weeks.

The redesign celebrates the site’s five-year anniversary since it was first launched as a way to share important information about the sustainability of the Graphic Communications Industry.

“Two Sides has experienced a tremendous amount of growth over the past five years – both in the number of visitors to the website, and in the amount of information and the scope of the resources available on the site,” comments Martyn Eustace, Founder of Two Sides and Director of Two Sides UK.  “The redesign de-clutters our home page, making those resources easier to find and share, and giving site visitors a better overall experience. It’s important to our member companies that we showcase our efforts in support of our mission, and this website does that.”

The new site has a fresh, pictorial design that is simple to navigate and has a professional and welcoming look. Other improvements include:
•    Better organization: The most-visited pages now enjoy the most prominence, and are easily accessed.
•    Improved navigation: A seamless, user-friendly layout reduces the number of decisions that viewers need to make while navigating content.
•    Less clutter: The homepage has been simplified to help new visitors learn and explore.
•    More visual content: Graphics reinforce user engagement and interactivity.
•    Social media integration: Sharing tools help Two Sides reach a wider audience.
•    Robust platform: A more responsive website system is fluid and mobile/tablet friendly.
•    Homepage banners: These will help Two Sides showcase specific campaigns, events, and achievements.
•    New Membership application:  Simple to comprehend and use.

The most prominent feature on the revamped home page is a clickable banner that scrolls through the site’s most-visited content areas. Visitors can easily find Myths and Facts, Latest News, Questions and Answers, The Two Sides Vision, Anti-Greenwash Campaign, No Wonder You Love Paper, Becoming a Member, and “Print and Paper Have a Great Environmental Story to Tell.”

Two Sides will be rolling out the new website in thirteen different countries, with language-specific content to engage visitors around the world.  “Information sharing is a keystone of our mission,” says Eustace. “There was no better way to celebrate five years of growth than to make our information resources even easier to find, share, and explore.”

About Two Sides

Two Sides is a global initiative by companies from the Graphic Communications Industry including Forestry, Pulp, Paper, Inks and Chemicals, Pre Press, Press, Finishing, Publishing, Printing, Envelopes and Postal Operators. Our common goal is to promote the sustainability of the Graphic Communications Industry and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why Print and Paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.  http://www.twosidesna.org

Contact:

UK – info@twosides.info
North America – info@twosides.us

TWOSIDES_1©Matthew HamsIn 2013, 72% of Americans surveyed said that print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate when produced and used responsibly (Toluna and Two Sides, 2013). This was great news and indicated that many people understand the sustainable nature of paper.

Have you ever thought about what defines a sustainable product? A bit of research on this topic shows that the key features include:

  • made from a renewable resource
  • re-usable and recyclable
  • made using renewable energy

…the exact features of forest products, like wood and paper! Here are key points to remind us of the great features of print and paper:

1- Paper supports sustainable forest management. The North American paper industry promotes sustainable forestry and depends on sustainable forest growth to provide a reliable supply of wood fiber. Paper manufacturers do this by encouraging forest sustainability through their purchase and use of certified wood fiber and by promoting sustainable forest management policies and practices. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fiber, the industry also encourages landowners to continue managing their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses. Read more.

2- Sustainable forest management benefits people and the planet. Collecting used paper and recycling it into new products is good for the environment. However, the wood fibers in paper can be recycled only about five times before they get too weak and break down. That’s why we need fresh fiber harvested from responsibly managed forests, too. Using fresh fiber creates a sustainable cycle of high-quality recyclable material to continually replenish recycled fiber. Without fresh wood fiber, recycled fiber would quickly run out and most paper production would cease within months. Read more.

TWOSIDES_3©Matthew Hams3- Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world. Paper is the most recycled product in the world. Since we began tracking how much paper gets recycled back in 1990, the recovery rate for used paper has increased dramatically. We’re not only recovering more, but we now know how to get the most environmental and economic benefits from using recycled paper in new products. Read more.

4- Much of the energy used in pulp and papermaking is renewable. Nearly two-thirds of the energy used by U.S. pulp and paper mills is self-generated using renewable, carbon-neutral biomass in high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) systems.   In fact, the U.S. paper and forest products industry produces and uses more renewable energy than all other industrial sectors combined. Read more.

5- The carbon footprint of paper is not as high as you think. For paper products, the carbon footprint includes all greenhouse gas emissions from harvesting trees through the manufacturing process to use and disposal or recycling. A look across this entire life cycle shows that paper’s carbon footprint can be divided into three basic elements: greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration and avoided emissions.   Each of these elements is influenced by important characteristics that make paper’s carbon footprint smaller than might be expected:   it’s made from a renewable resource that stores carbon, it’s manufactured using mostly renewable energy and it’s recyclable. Read more.

6- Electronic media also has environmental impacts that cannot be ignored. Rather than asking which is better, paper or electronic communication, we should be working to determine which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while best meeting social and economic needs.   As the population and resulting demand on resources continues to grow, a sustainable future will necessarily depend more heavily on the use of renewable and recyclable products and less on non-renewable materials and the use of fossil fuel energy. Read more.

7- “Go Green – Go Paperless” messages can be misleading and may not meet best practices for environmental marketing. Many leading U.S. companies are urging their customers to go paperless with claims that paperless bills, statements and other electronic communications save trees, are “greener” or otherwise protect the environment. Beyond the fact that “go paperless” marketing messages ignore the highly sustainable nature of print on paper – it comes from a renewable resource, is recyclable and recycled more than any other commodity in the U.S. and has great carbon characteristics – these claims fail to meet the most basic tests for acceptable environmental marketing as outlined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others. Read more.

8- Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products. Paper is made from a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and compostable. These features, combined with the paper industry’s advocacy of responsible forestry practices and certification, use of renewable, carbon-neutral biofuels and advances in efficient papermaking technology, make paper a product with inherent and unique sustainable features. Read more.

There you have it. Each one of the above paragraphs links to our more detailed fact sheets packed with great information and backed-up with verifiable evidence and scientific reports.

Happy Earth Day!

Phil Riebel
President, Two Sides North America

20140331-IMG_6637Taking time to put pen to paper can actually increase your learning capability, retention and brain development according to many experts and studies on handwriting conducted over the past few years. While many schools are taking cursive requirements out of their curriculum and the majority of us compose our thoughts and work on computers through keyboards, we can’t let the practice and benefits of handwriting fall to the wayside.

“For children, handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they do it and practice it,” said Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. “Typing does not do the same thing.”

William R. Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D. agrees. In an article he wrote called “Cursive writing makes kids smarter” published on March 14, 2013 in Memory Medic, Klemm states that in the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of the brain become co-activated during learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.

He also believes there is spill-over benefit for thinking skills used in reading and writing. To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. Students have to pay attention and think about what and how they are doing it. They have to practice.

There are also benefits to the physical aspects of the actual act of writing. Julie Deardorff wrote an article in the Tribune newspaper that outlined the benefits of gripping and moving a pen or pencil that reach beyond communication. She stated that emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills and can predict a child’s academic success in ways that keyboarding can’t.

According to an article last year by reporter Chris Gayomali in The Wall Street Journal, some physicians claim that the act of writing — which engages your motor skills, memory, and more — is good cognitive exercise for baby boomers who want to keep their minds sharp as they age. And if you’re looking to pick up a new skill, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found that adults had an easier time recognizing new characters — like Chinese, math symbols, or music notes — that were written by hand over characters generated by a computer.

“Handwriting aids memory. If you write yourself a list or a note — then lose it — you’re much more likely to remember what you wrote than if you just tried to memorize it,” said Occupational Therapist Katya Feder, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa School of Rehabilitation.

According to Feder in the same Tribune article, handwriting proficiency inspires confidence. The more we practice a skill such as handwriting, the stronger the motor pathways become until the skill becomes automatic. Once it’s mastered, children can move on to focus on the subject, rather than worry about how to form letters.

Handwriting engages different brain circuits than keyboarding. The contact, direction and pressure of the pen or pencil send the brain a message. And the repetitive process of handwriting “integrates motor pathways into the brain,” said Feder. When it becomes automatic or learned, “there’s almost a groove in the pathways,” she said. The more children write, the more pathways are laid down.

So now you’ve heard what the experts say…keep writing! And we will keep paving the way for responsible paper production.

References:

Phil Riebel
President, Two Sides North America, Inc.

 

Two Sides collaborates with many Allied Organizations to further the understanding of why print and paper can be a versatile and sustainable communications medium.  These relationships greatly help extend the reach of our message.  Here are the Allied Organizations that have joined Two Sides in North America:

allies

Below are a few examples of how some of these relationships have developed and evolved.

The National Paper Trade Association (NPTA) and its members were instrumental in supporting and funding Two Sides in the United States and ensuring a successful launch in January 2012.  Most NPTA member companies are now commercial members of Two Sides in North America.

The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) joined our Sustainability Committee in early 2012 and we began collaborating and sharing information to address misleading environmental claims being used to promote various electronic services such as e-billing over print and paper.  “False marketplace claims are damaging to our industry and now we have two paths with the same objective… to help companies take the right steps to correct unqualified environmental language that can be viewed as deceptive marketing” said Executive Director, Printing-Writing Papers for AF&PA, Mark Pitts.  To date, several companies have removed their claims as a result of efforts of Two Sides and AF&PA.

The Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) has been a great supporter of Two Sides since day one.   “We believe that Two Sides offers many advantages as a partner to EMA,” said Maynard Benjamin, Executive Director of EMA.  “They are out there fighting against environmental claims that are not factually correct, they provide our members great data-based information and they engage policy makers and make them take notice.  Two Sides doesn’t need to lobby because they do such a great job educating.”

Affiliations with science-based groups helps Two Sides maintain high credibility in its messaging and address current sustainability topics.  For this reason, we invited Dovetail Partners, Inc. to join our sustainability committee and help guide our efforts.  Dovetail is a trusted source for environmental information and they specialize in providing authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives.   “Much of our messaging overlaps with Two Sides so it just makes sense for us to work together for the same cause,” says Dovetail Executive Director Kathryn Fernholz. “Two Sides is a very unique group because when they advocate for environmental change, they help us influence people’s thinking about sustainability based on fact and not fear.  They have a strong moral obligation to only share scientifically-based information and we trust them to report on what is accurate and current.”

Two Sides is a member of the Forest Legality Alliance, a global network dedicated to promoting the demand of forest products of legal origin, and to working with stakeholders along the supply chain to meet that demand.  We also collaborate with the World Resource Institute (WRI) who have peer-reviewed our Myths and Facts materials.

Nine U.S. colleges are now part of our network and Dr. Gary Scott from State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry was elected to our Sustainability Committee to represent the interests of the academic sector.

The following list gives a few more examples of the great support we have received from other allied organizations:

  • NPES, The Association of Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies – Seats on our board and committees and in-kind support related to marketing and visibility at the Graph Expo annual conference.
  • Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA) – Donated ad space in Print Solutions magazine.
  • Printing Industry Association of Southern California – Development of an app to download our Myths and Facts brochure via mobile phone.
  • PrintMediaCentr – Ongoing promotion of Two Sides via social media channels and exposure to their huge network of professionals in the print world.
  • TAPPI – Marketing and communications support.

We believe that alliances like these help us fulfill our mission which is essential to all of us who use print and paper products every day, and the millions who work in the print and paper value chain.  Let us know if you want to join our growing team!

Phil Riebel
President, Two Sides North America, Inc.

This blog first appeared in PIWorld on February 6, 2014 (Two Sides to Sustainability by Phil Riebel).

Electronic devices make our lives better in many ways. However, when we look deeply at their life cycle, it can sometimes raise more questions than it answers. A recent article in the October 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine details how electronic devices are fueling corruption and civil unrest in the Congo.

According to the article, The Price of Precious, the minerals in our electronic devices have bankrolled unspeakable violence in the Congo because “militia-controlled mines in eastern Congo have been feeding raw materials into the world’s biggest electronics and jewelry companies and at the same time feeding chaos. Turns out your laptop—or camera or gaming system or gold necklace—may have a smidgen of Congo’s pain somewhere in it.” The Congo is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country and one of its richest on paper, with an embarrassment of diamonds, gold, cobalt, copper, tin, tantalum, you name it—trillions’ worth of natural resources. But because of never ending war, it is one of the poorest and most traumatized nations in the world.

The article goes on to detail that in the late 1990s, foreign troops and rebel groups seized hundreds of mines. The rebels funded their brutality with diamonds, gold, tin, and tantalum, a hard, gray, corrosion-resistant element used to make electronics. Eastern Congo produces 20 to 50 percent of the world’s tantalum. In the early 2000s, the fighting stopped but the Congo was left in shambles…

Bridges, roads, houses, schools, and entire families had been destroyed. As many as five million Congolese had died. Peace conferences were hosted, but cordial meetings in fancy hotels didn’t alter the ugly facts on the ground. The United Nations sent in thousands of military peacekeepers—there are around 17,000 today—but the blood continued to flow. Donor nations sank $500 million into an election in 2006—Congo’s first truly inclusive one—but that didn’t change things either.

Boy working in a precious metals mine in Eastern Congo (Source: National Geographic)

Boy working in a precious metals mine in Eastern Congo (Source: National Geographic)

Sometime around 2008, a critical mass of human rights groups and American lawmakers started asking a crucial question: What about the minerals? What if Congo’s mineral trade could be cleaned up and the rebels shut down? A “blood diamonds” campaign in the late 1990s had exposed how the West African diamond trade was funding rebellions on that side of Africa. What about a similar conflict-minerals campaign for Congo?

America took the lead on making an effective change in mining for any conflict materials and on July 21, 2010, President Barak Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill that included a special section on conflict minerals. The law called for publicly listed American companies to disclose whether any of their products included minerals from mines controlled by armed groups in or around Congo. Though Dodd-Frank did not explicitly ban corporations from using Congo’s conflict minerals, it made big companies worry about being linked with what is arguably the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Many leading electronic companies, including Intel, Motorola and HP, had already taken action to understand where the materials were coming from to fuel their products and how they could improve their supply chain. Since the law went into effect, many other companies, but not all, have also made progress auditing their supply chains, according to the Enough Project, an American nonprofit that ranks major company efforts to create a clean minerals trade.

This story makes me look at my smartphone and laptop in a different way. It may also cause more people to doubt claims that electronic media is “green” compared to other alternatives, such as print and paper.

In the end, we all need to challenge ourselves to learn more about the products we use every day. This means purchasing products from companies that lead the way in sustainability and are making efforts to improve their performance and supply chain, whether it is print, paper or electronic devices.

Many of the details shared in the article were taken directly from the original National Geographic story. You can also access it at:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/conflict-minerals/gettleman-text

fsjpegWhen it comes to the sustainability of the Graphic Communications Value Chain, it’s important to separate verifiable facts from opinions and misleading information. Fortunately, Two Sides (www.twosides.us) has the resources that can help.

Two Sides has posted nine new 2-page Fact Sheets related to the sustainability of print and paper. Written in clear, easy-to-understand language and including citations to verifiable sources, these Fact Sheets make it easy to understand that print, paper, and packaging have a great environmental story to tell.

Below you’ll find a quick summary of each of the nine new Fact Sheets, plus a link leading to the fact sheet itself.  Please feel free to share these valuable resources with colleagues, customers, students and local media. You can be part of Two Sides’ efforts to end the harmful practice of “greenwashing” (using inflated, inaccurate, or misleading data to misrepresent environmental performance).  Check out the facts, then click through for the downloadable Fact Sheets:

FACT: “Go Green – Go Paperless” and “Save-a-Tree” claims are misleading and may not meet best practices for environmental marketing.  These marketing messages ignore the highly sustainable nature of print on paper – it comes from a renewable resource, is recyclable and recycled more than any other commodity in the U.S. and has great carbon characteristics. Learn More

FACT: Anti-paper environmental claims are often inaccurate and should be challenged. After research showed that more than half of America’s leading banks, utilities and telecommunications companies are using misleading anti-paper environmental marketing claims, Two Sides began its “myth-busting” campaign. To date, more than 40% of those contacted have eliminated unsubstantiated anti-paper claims from their marketing. Learn More

FACT: E-Media also have environmental impacts. A recent study estimates that developing countries will produce at least twice as much electronic waste (e-waste) as developed countries within the next six to eight years. Uncontrolled toxic emissions can result from the informal recycling practices often used in the developing world; these emissions can include dioxins, furans, and cyanide. Learn More

FACT: The carbon footprint of paper is not as high as you may think. The U.S. forest products industry is a leader in the production of renewable energy, with more than 65% of the on-site energy needed to produce paper products derived from carbon-neutral biomass. Learn More

FACT: Sustainable forest management benefits people and the planet. In addition to replenishing the supply of recycled fiber, the U.S. paper industry’s perpetual use of trees harvested from responsibly managed forests has a host of economic, social and environmental benefits. Learn More

FACT: Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world. In 2012, nearly 51 million tons or 65.1% of the paper used in the United States was recovered for recycling, up 76% since 1990. The industry’s new recovery goal is to exceed 70% by 2020. Learn More

FACT: Most of the energy used to make pulp and paper is renewable. The print and paper industry accounts for only 1% of global carbon dioxide emissions; at a global level, the greenhouse gas emissions from the forest products industry value chain are largely offset by sequestration in forests and forest products. Learn More

FACT: Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products. Paper is made from a natural resource that is renewable, recyclable and compostable; in the United States, paper is recycled more than any other commodity in the municipal solid waste stream, including plastics, glass and metals. Learn More

FACT: Paper supports sustainable forest management. The income U.S. landowners receive for products grown on their land—including wood for papermaking—encourages them to maintain, renew and manage this valuable resource sustainably, instead of converting forestland to non-forest uses. Learn More

Led by sustainable and responsible forestry, paper production and printing, the U.S. Graphic Communications Value Chain is working to ensure that, in a world of scarce resources, print and paper’s unique recyclable and renewable qualities can be enjoyed for generations to come. By sharing these Fact Sheets, you can help Two Sides U.S. and its member companies strengthen the paper, packaging, print, and related industries—and make an important contribution to real environmental sustainability. Find more resources, plus information on how to become a member company, at www.twosides.us.

bustPut on your dancing shoes and watch our latest animated video that features some great facts and figures about the important role that paper and print media play in an environmentally sustainable world.

Click this link to view the video

This is a great resource for professionals in the Graphic Communications Value Chain who want to share facts and figures, and dispel “greenwashing” myths about print and paper.

ecgrThe video is an animated version of our popular “Eco-Graphic”, a full-color Infographic poster available for download here.  The Eco-Graphic was created by Lynette Maymi, a design professional from Pompano Beach, Florida and winner of the Two Sides Eco-Graphic Challenge.

Thanks again to graphic designer Marco Morales and the Two Sides US sustainability and marketing committees for their great work and input on the video!

Phil Riebel, President, Two Sides U.S.

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