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Below is the second progress report on our ongoing campaign to promote best practices for environmental marketing of print and paper products.  We issued our first report in April 2013 which also included the background and rationale for the campaign.

Progress to Date

Number of U.S. companies who have received a first letter from Two Sides 48
Number of additional cases that Two Sides has referred to member companies and allies 14
Total cases to date 62
Number of companies who have removed their anti-paper environmental claims 13
Success rate 21%
Number of companies who have responded to Two Sides 32
Number of companies that Two Sides has had (or is having) discussions with 17
Number of companies who have not yet responded 20

Our success rate is now 21% and has increased 7% since the last report.  We increased our number of target cases by 8 companies overall, for a total of 62 to date.  Many companies have received a second letter from us and more have responded and removed their claims.  Just this week I received an encouraging letter from a major West Coast utility company that removed all their green claims related paperless billing.  Here is the letter:

________________________________

Dear Mr. Riebel:

This letter is in reply to your January 30, 2013 and June 19, 2013 letters regarding [company name] messaging around electronic billing . Because these issues fall within my area of responsibility,  I have been asked to respond to you.  In particular, your letters express concerns over messages that encourage customers to switch to on-line billing for environmental reasons.

 I appreciate your bringing the concerns of Two Sides U.S. to our attention and your willingness to discuss them. [Company name] takes seriously any suggestion that its messaging to customers might be unreliable or contain inaccuracies.

The statements cited in your letters were, we believe, appropriately incorporated into our customer messaging based on information we had available at that time. Nevertheless, following receipt of your initial letter in January, [company name] reconsidered our messaging and determined that cost savings is the most significant driver for our campaign. As such, we decided to discontinue statements regarding environmental benefits of electronic billing, and to focus on the cost savings associated with electronic billing. Accordingly, we believe our actions have addressed your concerns.

 Let me assure you that we share your desire that the public be accurately informed on issues regarding the environment. It is also important to [company name] that our messaging to customers is accurate, reliable, and helpful. {Company name] would therefore welcome any further suggestions you may have in this regard.

Finally, we assume that this matter is now concluded, but please let me know if you believe further discussion would be helpful .

 ______________________________

There is hope!  In other words, it’s more about “fees” than “trees”.

We have agreed not to publicly name companies who are working with us, however a list of all companies and results is available to Two Sides commercial members.  Our plan is continue our initiative and start taking actions to convince non-responding companies to pay attention.

Phil Riebel
President and COO
Two Sides US, Inc.

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Over the last year, Two Sides made the transformation from new kid on the block to familiar advocate for the sustainability of print on paper.  Our membership continues to grow and our collective voice is getting stronger every day.  Even more exciting, we’ve extended our reach and effectiveness where it really counts – to the C-suites of many major U.S. companies and to American consumers.   Following the strategic guidance of the Two Sides U.S. Board of Directors, our ambitious 2012-2013 Marketing and Communications Plan built on past successes and incorporated new efforts to put an end to anti-paper environmental marketing claims and share the news that Print and Paper Have a Great Environmental Story to Tell.

Membership – As of July 1, 2013, 2013, Two Sides U.S. has 60 commercial members  from across the Graphic Communications Supply Chain, including paper producers, merchants, printers, envelope manufacturers, and 34 allied organizations and partner members.  Internationally, the Two Sides network includes more than 1,000 members.

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 initially engaged about 50 companies, primarily in the financial services, telecommunications and utilities industries. While time-consuming, our systematic educational approach is working. Ten companies have removed their anti-paper environmental claims and we are currently in discussions with several others.  In March 2013, we launched Phase II of this initiative with a second round of communications.  With input from members and others, our potential target list has grown to more than 200 companies.   This initiative is patterned after a similar, highly successful program conducted by Two Sides in the United Kingdom.

TS US PrintSolutions002 10 875H x 8 125Wmm  col woman 2_4_13Ad Campaign To address misconceptions about the sustainability of print on paper identified by Two Sides research, the No Wonder You Love Paperad campaign was designed to educate consumers that print media is sustainable, made from a renewable resource and supports sustainable forest management, and to promote the reading experience and enjoyment of printed magazines and newspapers.   The campaign includes a user-friendly companion website for consumers (www.youlovepaper.info/us). To date, several ads have appeared in Print Solutions and Gravure magazine.  The first consumer-facing ads appeared in the digital version of Inc. magazine in April and most recently in the June issue of National Geographic.  Over the next year, Two Sides is seeking free advertising space in business, trade and consumer magazines and newspapers.

Response to Anti-Paper Initiatives – In addition to its focused campaign on addressing paperless claims, Two Sides often responds to new initiatives aimed at encouraging consumers to “go paperless” for environmental reasons.  Most notable during the past year were responses to Toshiba’s proposed “No Print Day” and Google’s participation in the Paperless2013 initiative. Both were successful in removing anti-paper green messages thanks to the actions of Two Sides and it’s allies.

Two Sides U.S. websiteWebsite – The Two Sides website, www.twosides.us, continued to be a 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.  We added a new section on Environmental Marketing Best Practices for Print and Paperin late 2012 and will be adding a new section on Responsible Production and Use of Print and Paper in the coming months. The site is updated monthly and members receive email notification of new items that have been added.  For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, the website had more than 10,000 visits.  There are about 400 visits per week 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

Myths and Facts Sheets – Two Sides updated our 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.

brochureMyths and Facts Brochure – We updated our popular brochure designed to make it easier for members to share the Myths and Facts about print and paper. A customizable version of the brochure with high-resolution artwork is available to members; a low-resolution version of the generic brochure is available to anyone.

paperlessnotgreener-tnNews 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 included regular posts to our new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/twosidesusa), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com – Two Sides US group), Twitter (twitter.com/twosidesUS) and the Two Sides blog (twosidesus.wordpress.com).  The number of Two Sides followers is growing weekly.  Please join us at the above links!

Conference Participation – Two Sides presented at/participated in a wide variety of industry meetings over the past 12 months, including RISI North America, Maine Pulp and Paper Association, Graph Expo 2012, TAPPI Student Summit, Gravure Publishing Conference, Envelope Manufacturers Association spring meeting, Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers Association, and the 2012 Gravure Association of America Environmental Workshop.

Webinars and Presentations to Member Companies – Two Sides hosted/participated in over a dozen webinars and face-to-face presentations to introduce the organization to prospective members, to review the many features available on the Two Sides website and to educate on the do’s and don’ts of environmental marketing. Two Sides also hosted webinars for members and other stakeholders on topics related to the sustainability of print and paper, including “An Introduction to the Forest Legality Alliance” and “Sustainable Plantations.”

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.  Our second annual member satisfaction survey is planned for July 2013.

ENGO and Academic Partnerships – Two Sides has established partnerships with a number of environmental non-governmental organizations and U.S. colleges to share mutually beneficial resources and further expand our communications network.

  • Forest Legality AllianceWorld 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.
  • DOVETAILDovetail Partners – In September 2012, Dovetail Partners Inc. joined Two Sides and Dovetail Executive Director Kathryn Fernholz was elected a member of the Two Sides U.S. Board of Directors. This collaboration offers opportunities to help clarify complex environmental issues related to the use of print and paper and in doing so, to increase people’s understanding of and their capacity to make good print- and paper-related business decisions.
  • Colleges and Foundations – The following U.S. Colleges and Foundations have joined Two Sides:
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Graphic Communication Department
  • Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida
  • Miami University Paper Science and Engineering Foundation
  • Paper Technology Foundation, Western Michigan University
  • State University of New York, Environmental Science & Forestry
  • University of Houston , Digital Media Program
  • University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point , Paper Science Foundation
Students at SUNY-ESF proudly wearing their new "choose paper" T-shirts

Students at SUNY-ESF proudly wearing their new “choose paper” T-shirts

Join us!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/twosidesusa

Linked In:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=3948123&trk=anet_ug_hm

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/twosidesUS

Blog:             http://www.twosidesus.wordpress.com

 

 

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ecologoCHICAGO, June 26, 2013 – Two Sides today announced its Ecographic Challenge, a contest to develop an engaging infographic that clearly presents facts about the sustainability of print and paper.  The contest is open to amateur and professional graphic designers who are U.S. residents and are at least 18 years old at the time of entry.  Individual and team entries will be accepted.

“Two Sides is reaching out to the country’s most creative talent to help us promote the sustainability of print and paper in a way that’s fun and easy to understand,” says Two Sides President Phil Riebel. “We’re providing all the facts and asking contestants to create an ‘ecographic’ that will help correct common misperceptions about the sustainability of printed communications, like the ones perpetuated by misleading environmental marketing claims that urge people to switch from paper to electronic communications to protect the environment.”

Two Sides will award one $2,500 cash prize to the winning individual or team.  Entries will be accepted until 9 p.m. EDT on August 16, 2013.  The winner will be announced at the Print13 Conference in Chicago on September 10, and will be acknowledged in all published versions of the ecographic.  Please visit http://www.twosides.us/Two-Sides-Eco-graphic-Challenge for complete rules, ecographic specifications and an entry form.

Support for the Ecographic Challenge is provided by the following Two Sides members:  Ariva, Boise Inc., Domtar Corporation, Lindenmeyr Munroe,  PrintMediaCentr, Unisource Worldwide, UPM and Western States Envelope & Label.

For more information about the Two Sides Ecographic Challenge, please email infographic.twosidesus@gmail.com.

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Infotrends study commissioned by Consumer for Paper Options

Infotrends study commissioned by Consumer for Paper Options

As banks, utilities and other types of companies push paperless bills saying electronic communications are “greener” and “protect the environment,” results of a new nationwide poll  show consumers just don’t buy those claims.  In fact, an overwhelming majority — 87% — believe the main reason companies want to shift customers to electronic delivery formats is to save money, not to be environmentally responsible.

The poll, conducted for Consumers for Paper Options (CPO) to determine American attitudes toward government mandates and private sector programs that require electronic-only communications, also found that 84% of consumers think companies should not be able to force the shift to electronic bills, statements and other documents.   (The Executive Summary of the poll, Access for All: American Attitudes Regarding Paper & Digital Information, is available here.)

It’s clear that just about everybody thinks “go paperless, go green” marketing is ultimately about cost savings – a perfectly legitimate corporate goal – so why not just say that?   Does is make good business sense to continue making unfounded claims about the sustainability of paper (aka greenwashing) if most consumers don’t believe them? 

Companies that continue to use unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims about print and paper not only risk eroding trust in their brands, but also may invite attention from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, better known as the Green Guides,  are very clear that environmental claims should be based on “competent and reliable scientific evidence” which they further define as “tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.”

But even without the full scientific scrutiny of a complete life-cycle assessment, three basic comparisons of print on paper vs. pixels serve up a pretty compelling case for paper’s environmental sustainability and for keeping it as a communications option for consumers. 

  1. Paper is made from a renewable resource, wood fiber from trees. Computers and the data center infrastructure that supports them are made primarily from finite resources – petroleum-based plastics, metals and rare earth minerals.
  2. More than 65% of the energy used to manufacture paper in the United States comes from renewable, carbon-neutral biomass.  With very few exceptions, the growing infrastructure of the U.S. information and communications technology sector is powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change. 
  3. In 2012, 65.1% of paper produced in the United States was recovered for recycling (AF&PA) compared to only 38% of computers in 2009 (the most recent figure available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), and e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the United States.  

Whether or not they always follow through, I think most people want to be environmentally responsible in their choice of products and services.   Companies that play fast and loose with environmental marketing claims like “go paperless, go green” only serve to make it more difficult for people to make valid choices and to erode trust in all green marketing claims – including those that represent real environmental value.

It’s time to wise up corporate America!  Show your customers a little respect and pull back the green veil that covers the real intent of your anti-paper marketing messages.   They’ll appreciate your honesty … and so will the FTC.

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

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What better way to emphasize the value of print and paper?  Advertise in a popular digital magazine!

This also reinforces our Two Sides position that print and digital media can co-exist and have many synergies.

Inc. magazine’s digital edition recently featured this ad – one of several designed for the Two Sides No Wonder You Love Paper ad campaign.  Created to reinforce printed magazines and newspapers as an appealing and sustainable way to read, the ads feature people enjoying magazines for education, business, play and relaxation in their daily lives.

The campaign also features a companion consumer website, http://www.youlovepaper.info/US/ with fun activities like the Environmental Guru Quiz and a video contest.  There’s also a downloadable Paper Myths and Facts brochure and a short, animated video on U.S. forest and paper facts.

Two Sides is seeking free advertising space in U.S. newspapers and magazines to appear over the next year, so be on the lookout for more to come!  Any publication interested in donating ad space should contact Phil Riebel at pnr@twosides.us or (855) 896-7433 (toll free).

IMG_2377 (773x1024) IMG_2376 (833x1024)

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I am ticked off at my bank, utilities and telecom providers for saying “go green – go paperless.”

I’ve had it with my bank and all the other companies that are bashing paper products to promote electronic billing, statements and other e-services.  Yes…I’ve finally lost it.

I have decided to be diplomatic and not name you…but we all know who you are.millions

To my bank and other providers out there who are doing this:

You are damaging my livelihood and you are misleading people with greenwashing so that you can cut costs.  Please be honest.

I am your customer and I have spent the last 25 years of my life working in the forest and paper industry.  This industry has allowed me to lead a good life, raise a great family together with my wife, and provide a good education for my children.

My youngest son standing on a beaver dam on our forestland. This was taken during a weekend exploration trip several years ago. He's 17 now and graduating from high school in a few months.

My youngest son standing on a beaver dam on our forest property. This was taken during a weekend adventure several years ago. He’s 17 now and graduating from high school in a few months.

I buy your products and services: banking services, cell phones, TV services, electric and water services.  I spend my money to make you more profitable – money that comes from the pulp and paper industry.

Not only are the green claims making me upset, it makes many of your other customers upset as well.  In fact, millions of them.

It may come as a surprise to you but 8.4 million Americans make a living in the print, paper and mail value chain that generates 1.3 trillion in revenues (EMA 2012 Job Study).  I bet you’re getting a lot of this money in your coffers.

About 10 million Americans own private forestland (US Forest Service) and many of them rely on the income from their properties to make a living (ex: lumber for construction and pulp used for papermaking – yes PAPER).

I am one of those forest owners.  My family owns 200 acres of woodlands and we manage it responsibly for economic and recreational benefits as well as biodiversity.

How do you think I and the millions of other family forest owners feel about your “save a tree” claims?  I think they are very misleading because I believe we are the ones saving forests for the long-term by managing them responsibly and making sure our society can benefit from forest products (like paper) that are highly renewable, highly recyclable and store carbon for their useful life.  These inherent environmental features make paper quite a sustainable product compared to all the other things that surround us, including electronics.

Most of us are well aware of the massive infrastructure and environmental impacts of electronic media that you forget to mention in your green claims.

All products and services have pros and cons.  To bash one product in favor of another is an easy game to play when you have no verifiable facts or evidence that consider all the economic, social and environmental benefits of our forest resource and products like paper.  I believe your green claims fall short of many rules and guidelines for environmental marketing.

Paper and electronic can happily co-exist and I need both…so do most other people I know.  I use e-billing and on-line banking regularly, but I need a paper copy to remind me to pay the bills.  I also keep the paper copy, or print the e-statements for accounting and record-keeping.  It’s more secure and won’t get lost.

All my paper gets printed on both sides and gets recycled.  I also buy paper that has been made with fiber from forests certified to the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Paper is far from being a “bad” product as your marketing suggests.  I believe that the majority of people see paper as a sustainable way to communicate as long as it is produced and used responsibly, including recycling it.

It’s time to gather your marketing team in a room and tell them to stop greenwashing the millions of people who earn a living from the print, paper, mail and forestry value chain.  Please focus your message on the true benefits of e-media: speed, convenience and maybe a few others.

Remember…we are your customers and most of us care about the environment just as much as you do.

Now it’s time for me to shut down my computer and cell phone for the day and go for a walk in the forest.  Happy Earth Day!

Phil Riebel
Family Forest Owner and Proud Paper Supporter

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Background

Shortly after its beginnings in 2008, Two Sides launched a campaign in the UK to challenge negative environmental claims about print and paper being made by many companies in order to promote electronic statements (ex: e-billing).  You’ve all seen them: Go green – Go paperless.  Go GreenSave trees.

Two Sides made this a focused initiative with a strategic approach to get the claims removed or changed.  The reasoning behind this is:

  • The “go green – go paperless” message is damaging to the print, paper and mail value chain and millions of jobs rely on this value chain.
  • Print on paper has unique environmental features that many other products and materials do not.
  • The “saving trees” and “go- green” messages create a false impression that forests and trees are a finite resource that is being lost instead of a renewable resource being replenished based on sustainable forest management practices.
  • Corporations must follow best practices for environmental marketing.  Claims should be based on sound and peer-reviewed scientific evidence (ex: CSR Europe guidelines, UK CAP, US FTC Green Guides and ISO14021)
  • The full impact of switching to e-media are often not properly considered and sometimes ignored.
  • The life cycle of e-statements is not paperless because many people print e-statements at home or at the office for record-keeping and other uses.

Although the process was time-demanding and required many discussions and exchanges, our success was more than what we had expected.  In total, 80% of the companies (27 out of 34) we engaged changed or removed their anti-paper claims, including several large corporations.

In July 2010, we launched the same campaign in the US with a strategic approach and focus to engage the top banks, utilities and telecoms that are currently using similar environmental claims.  We looked at over 100 companies and discovered that half of them are using misleading claims.  We are now systematically addressing these.  The “list” is growing weekly and our database now includes about 250 companies in many different sectors.

Thanks to all of you who have been sending us claims of concern.  If you see one, just email it to us at inquiries@twosides.us

Our goal is an 80% success rate in getting claims changed or removed.

We are collaborating  with some member companies as well as with the AF&PA in this initiative to avoid duplication of efforts and discuss how we can best address the numerous claims being made.  The PrintMediaCentr has been very supportive in spreading the message.  PIA and PIASC have also greatly supported the cause by sometimes issuing their own letters and press releases to draw attention to this issue.

 Progress to Date

Number of U.S. companies who have received a first letter from Two Sides

46

Number of additional cases that Two Sides has referred to member companies and allies

9

Total cases to date

54

Number of companies who have removed their anti-paper environmental claims

7

Success rate

13%

Number of companies who have responded to Two Sides

16

Number of companies that Two Sides has had (or is having) discussions with

11

Number of companies who have not yet responded

32

Our current success rate is only 13%…but the night is young!

First, we would like to thank to the companies who have taken the time to listen to us, those that are currently working with us, and those that have corrected their claims.

We are now in the process of sending a second letter to companies who have not responded and to those who have decided to keep their existing environmental claims.  The letter lists specific actions that Two Sides will take in the near future to draw attention to these companies.

Our view is that misleading environmental claims about print and paper products require a strong response due to the potential damage to the paper, print, publishing and mail value chain which supports 8.4 million U.S. jobs and generates $1.139 trillion in sales revenue (1).

Phil Riebel
President and COO
Two Sides US, Inc.


1 – Direct Communications Group, 2010.  The EMA Job Study. www.envelope.org

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