Study after study shows that the public is skeptical about environmental marketing claims, and that’s understandable. Unlike claims about product usefulness, reliability or comparative value, most environmental claims – like “going paperless saves trees” – can’t be substantiated firsthand by consumers. They must depend on outside sources for validation. For companies and individuals across the graphic communications supply chain, this presents both a challenge – to correct misleading claims about the sustainability of print and paper, and an opportunity – to communicate the medium’s true environmental value.
What’s the key to environmental communications that build trust? The case for the sustainability of paper is rooted firmly in science, and quoting authoritative sources unleashes that inherent credibility. Certainly, how you present the facts matters, too. Provide context, communicate in language people understand and be as detailed as necessary, but get to the point quickly. Don’t be tempted to overstate your case by adding information that’s not relevant to your audience. And of course, integrate your company’s mission and brand identity into any communication to both reinforce your sustainability commitment and differentiate your message.
One of the hardest parts of delivering effective green communications is tracking down the most relevant and recent supporting facts, especially if your business does not have dedicated sustainability or communications staff. This is where Two Sides can help. The Two Sides U.S. website, www.twosides.us, is a treasure trove of information about the sustainability of print and paper. From reports and studies to fact sheets and current news, the website includes the information you need, including links to original sources, to develop credible communications and to respond to today’s common misperceptions about the sustainability of print and paper.
Does paper manufacturing cause deforestation? Is electronic communication really more environmentally responsible than printed media? Whether you’re a seasoned environmental pro or a novice who wants to learn the issues, the Two Sides searchable database has something to add to everyone’s sustainability communications arsenal.
There are no better ambassadors for the sustainability of print and paper than those whose bread and butter depend on healthy forests, responsible manufacturing, and paper recovery and recycling. It’s up to everyone in the graphic communications supply chain to help spread the word about the sustainability or print and paper, and now the resources to help you do it effectively are just a mouse click away!
Kathi Rowzie, The Gagliardi Group
Senior Sustainability Communications Consultant