Is paperless really the way to save the environment?
That question has been raging in our industry for years now, and it’s a debate we’ve covered before. We are pleased to note that several more companies are now removing their “go paperless, save trees” claims from their marketing materials.
Two Sides North America recently announced that “over 30 leading North American companies have committed to remove ‘anti-paper’ based claims being used to promote electronic billing and other e-services as more environmentally-friendly,” according to this article in PIWorld.
One of the big companies that just got on board is Sprint, who has been taking a serious look at how they communicate their environmental claims to their customers, with help from their partnership with Two Sides.
Sprint’s Alan Anglyn notes, “One of the benefits of our relationship with Two Sides has been the opportunity to reflect on how we communicate our efforts. This caused us to review Sprint’s messaging about electronic media across multiple touch points.”
A few facts to consider, according to PIWorld:
- The income landowners receive for trees grown on their land is an important incentive to maintain, sustainably manage and renew this valuable resource. If the market for their wood products is lost, there is little incentive for owners to maintain their forest land (which is then sold to developers and converted to non-forest use).
- In North America, we grow more trees than we harvest. Over the last six decades, total net U.S. forest area has increased by over 3 percent and the net volume of trees on timberland has increased by 58 percent (U.S. Forest Service, 2012). In Canada, the forest cover has remained stable over the last two decades and harvest has been 44 percent of annual growth (Conference Board of Canada, 2014).
- The environmental and social impacts of switching from paper to e-media are not properly or adequately considered – and they are far from negligible. The trade‐off between the two platforms depends on conditions such as use frequency, source of energy, and end‐of‐life management of the products (P. Arnfalk, 2010).
Two Sides has been working with companies to help them more fully understand the issues and how they impact the banking, utilities, telecommunications and digital services sectors in particular, and set the record straight about common misperceptions about the sustainability of print and paper.