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Archive for September, 2012

The report includes a “must see” video, Into the Cloud!  It takes us through the operation of a data center and the infrastructure and energy required.  Very well done. You can view the video here on the Two Sides UK site: http://www.twosides.info/Into-The-Cloud

The Cloud Factories and their related environmental / energy issues will be featured in a series of articles by the New York Times.  The first article has been written by James Glanz and is available here:  http://www.twosides.us/The-Cloud-Factories—Power-Pollution-and-the-Internet

The article raises questions about claims that e-media and e-billing is somehow better for the environment than the responsible production and use of print and paper.  It also reminds us that electronic communications have an environmental impact which is not readily perceived by the consumer.

A recent rebuttal article in defense of ICT has been published recently and is available here: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/09/25/whole-story-data-centers

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for more articles and reports on this topic.

Regards,

Phil Riebel

President and COO

Two Sides US, Inc.

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Some Companies are Ignoring Environmental Marketing Best Practices When it Comes to Print and Paper

The potential consequences of misleading marketing claims – from negative public relations and customer dissatisfaction to legal action and financial penalties – make rigorous factual and legal scrutiny of product and service claims a fundamental step in today’s corporate marketing process.  So why are many otherwise diligent companies skipping this step and shooting from the hip when it comes to making environmental claims about the use of print and paper?

In part, I think the answer lies in the fact that the “go paperless, saves trees” mantra has been repeated without effective challenge for so long that many, including corporate gatekeepers, have come to accept it as fact.   If paper comes from trees and we use less paper, we save trees and protect our forests, the reasoning goes.   And since using less paper is good for the environment, the electronic bills, statements and other customer communications that replace it must be a better environmental choice, right?  Wrong.  But lots of big-name U.S. companies are making this unsubstantiated leap as they encourage their customers to switch from paper to electronic communications, ironically sidestepping best practices for environmental marketing under the banner of going green.

Two Sides recently initiated an educational campaign to engage and encourage major U.S. corporations to adopt best practices for environmental marketing established by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14021:1999) and to end the use of unsubstantiated claims about the sustainability of print and paper. Both sets of standards are quite detailed, but in a nutshell they say that environmental marketing claims should be accurate, substantiated by competent and reliable evidence and should not suggest environmental benefits by using broad, vague terms like “green” and “environmentally friendly.”

What I especially like about the Two Sides effort is that it doesn’t try to establish a “pixels versus paper” scenario but instead recognizes that both print and electronic communications have attractive benefits and environmental consequences.   It’s a straightforward approach that simply says, “Dear Mr. CEO, your company is making unsubstantiated marketing claims about the environmental attributes of print and paper. Here are the facts about print and paper sustainability. We encourage you to follow best practices for environmental marketing from the FTC and others and put an end to your misleading claims.”

Citing facts from well-known, credible sources, Two Sides makes the case that paper is made from a natural resource that is renewable and recyclable and that these features, combined with the U.S. paper industry’s advocacy of responsible forestry practices and certification, use of renewable, carbon-neutral biofuels and advances in efficient papermaking technology, make paper one of the most sustainable products on earth.   It’s a compelling argument founded in sound science.

The process of contacting companies will take some time, so it will be a while before results of the campaign are known.  But the results of a similar effort in the United Kingdom were pretty impressive.  At the outset of the campaign, 43 percent of the major U.K. banks, 70 percent of telecoms and 30 percent of utilities were using misleading environmental claims to support e-billing and statements.   As a result of Two Sides efforts, over 80 percent of these companies either eliminated the claims or now use wording that doesn’t include misleading statements.   You can keep up with results of the U.S. campaign and other print and paper sustainability news by following Two Sides on Twitter at twitter.com/twoside.us or visiting www.twosides.us.

Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.

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The text below is taken from our first annual report published here

Two Sides U.S. Annual Report (July 2011 – July 2012)

The past year has been a busy and exciting time for Two Sides.  Our membership continues to grow as companies across the Graphic Communications Supply Chain recognize the value of speaking with one clear voice about the sustainability of print and paper.   Our reach and effectiveness continue to grow, too.   With our master strategy approved by the Two Sides U.S. Board of Directors and an ambitious Marketing/Communications Plan in place, we’ve effectively used in-person presentations, the news media, advertising, targeted campaigns,  printed materials, social media and our website to share the news that Print and Paper Have a Great Environmental Story to Tell. 

Membership – As of July 31, 2012, Two Sides U.S. has 43 commercial members  from across the Graphic Communications Supply Chain, including paper producers, merchants, printers, envelope manufacturers and a host of allied organizations and partner members.  Internationally, the Two Sides network includes more than 1,000 members in over 12 countries.

Website – Following our initial membership effort in 2011, the Two Sides website, www.twosides.us, officially launched in January 2012.  The site is a vast and valuable resource for members and the general public, providing the latest news, research, case studies, tools and useful facts about the sustainability of print and paper.  The site is update twice monthly and members receive email notification of new items that have been added.  For the quarter ended June 30, 2012, the website had more than 5,000 visits.  There are about 420 visits per week or roughly 60 visits per day to the site.

Member Support – Two Sides supported its members’ efforts to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper throughout the year with a variety of presentations, materials and other resources available on the Member Only sections of our website

Research – In September 2011, Two Sides commissioned Ipsos, a global market research company, to conduct a multi-country survey that included 500 U.S. respondents classified by age and gender.  The survey found that 70% of Americans, including 69% of 18- to 24-year-olds, say it’s nicer to read print and paper communications than reading off a screen.   Most of those surveyed also believe that paper records are more sustainable than electronic record storage (68%) and that paper is more pleasant to handle and touch than other media (67%).  But survey results also showed that many Americans still have misconceptions about the environmental impacts of print and paper.  Survey results were publicized in the news media and on Two Sides social media sites.

Ad Campaign –To address the misconceptions identified in the Two Sides research, the No Wonder You Love Paper ad campaign was designed to educate consumers that print media is sustainable, made from a renewable resource, supports sustainable forest management, and to promote the reading experience and enjoyment of printed magazines and newspapers.   The campaign which will be launched in the summer and fall of 2012, includes a very user-friendly companion consumer website.   Two Sides is seeking free advertising space in business and trade magazines and newspapers.

Paperless Claims Initiative Two Sides launched this nationwide education effort in July 2012 to encourage leading U.S. companies to end the use of unsubstantiated marketing claims that electronic billing and customer communications are better for the environment than paper communications.  The campaign will engage about 100 companies, primarily in the financial services, telecommunications and utilities industries and will run through December 2013.   This effort is patterned after a similar, highly successful program conducted by Two Sides in the United Kingdom.

Myths and Fact Sheets – Two Sides published and regularly updates a series of fact sheets that cite well-known, credible sources to dispel the common myths about the sustainability of print and paper.  The fact sheets are available to anyone on the Two Sides website at www.twosides.us/mythsandfacts.

Myths and Facts Brochure – To make it easier members to share the Myths and Facts about print and paper, Two Sides developed a customizable brochure version of its Myths and Facts series.  High resolution artwork is available to members on the Two Sides website; a low resolution version is available to anyone.

News Media – Two Sides distributed news and information through the media and was featured in a number of business and trade publications.

Social Media – Outreach via social media includes regular posts to LinkedIn, Twitter (twitter.com/twosidesUS) and the Two Sides blog (twosidesus.wordpress.com).  Two Sides currently has approximately 370 LinkedIn group members, 740 Twitter and blog followers.

Conference Participation – Two Sides presented at/participated in more than five conferences and industry meetings over the past 12 months, including 2011 Graph Expo, 2011 and 2012 Gravure Association of America Environmental Workshop, Envelope Manufacturers Association 2012 Spring Meeting, Paperweek  2012, Paper Distribution Council 2011 Meeting, and the 2012 Boise Sustainability Summit.

Webinars and Presentations to Member Companies – Two Sides hosted over a dozen webinars and face-to-face presentations to introduce its members and others to the organization, and to review the many features available on the Two Sides website.  Two Sides also hosted webinars for members and other stakeholders on topics related to the sustainability of print and paper.

Member Satisfaction Survey – In June 2012, Two Sides conducted its first annual member satisfaction survey to gauge member attitudes about the organization’s progress and guide it in refining and expanding its efforts.  We received great feedback and results show that we are on the right track.  Members can access the full report on our Member Page.

World Resource Institute (WRI)/Forest Legality Alliance (FLA) – In July 2012, Two Sides joined the WRI-FLA, 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.

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