As the Christmas holiday looms, and consumer spending on gifts for family and friends peaks; many of us wrestle with the environmental and sustainability aspects of our holiday card list, the numerous visits to the shops and the countless packages being delivered to our offices or left with neighbours.
The packages are delivered, we unbox them – to then re-wrap to give as gifts. Can this really be good for the environment?
So, when we are encouraged to ‘think green, go paperless’ it is perhaps not too surprising that many of us jump to sign up or tick the box in agreement; without much scrutiny of the proposition.
This week, we’ve decided to take a look at the topic of Greenwashing in relation to those products closest to our hearts here at PG Paper – packaging, tissue and cardboard. Is using less paper the best option for the environment?
What is Greenwashing?
The Oxford Dictionary explains it as “disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.”
Greenwashing in Action
How many of you have a version of “think green and do not print this email if you don’t need to” as part of your auto-signature?
How many of us have signed up for paperless billing from our banks and utility companies, and more recently when at the mall, provided our email address for our receipt, to ‘do our bit’ for the planet?
Is it time to re-assess the value of these choices and to consider the environmental impact of not printing on paper?
Print Grows Trees
A recent campaign from the Printing & Graphics Association MidAtlantic entitled ‘Print Grows Trees’ presents a compelling argument that using paper, creates a demand for trees, that encourages landowners to grow trees. It seems a simple hypothesis, but one that the Association has assiduously researched to prove. Simply put, they argue very convincingly that if growing trees was a made a profitable business for landowners, more trees would be planted. And with more than half of America’s forests in the hands of private landowners, it is imperative that they are given a commercial reason to plant trees. The ripple effect of planting more trees means existing or primary forests and their biodiversity would be protected – and bolstered by new managed forests, that would meet our demand for timber along similar lines as Christmas tree farms operate.
Time to Challenge the Myth?
Do we need to take another look at the print v digital debate – and not simply assume that print is bad and digital is good? Two Sides which represents the paper and print industry is already on the case and has launched an Anti-Greenwashing campaign to take to task those companies, like the retailer, electricity company or bank mentioned above, who reinforce misconceptions around unproven, or simply inaccurate environmental claims about paperless billing or other communications.
Two Sides has been steadfast and resolute in their checking of the marketing statements used by many global businesses. The organisation has reported that of the 770 companies it has researched, 532 were found to have made inaccurate environmental claims in their customer marketing materials.
Print Week recently reported (9 December 2019) an example of greenwashing by Adobe in its promotional message for their Christmas e-card creation campaign. The statement ‘Save the trees and send an e-card instead’ was removed from the campaign message after it was pointed out to the software giant that it was factually incorrect. And fair play to Adobe, as well as removing the comment, they accepted an offer from Two Sides to provide training to staff on the topic of paper v digital in terms of the environment.
Which brings us nicely to the topic of the PG Paper Christmas card 😊 You will not be surprised to hear that PG Paper is in favour of supporting the replanting of forests – and supporting our mill partners around the world who manufacture an extensive range of paper and packaging products for our customers. So this year, as in previous years, we’ve designed, printed and posted our holiday card to our customers and contacts in over 55 countries.
If you haven’t made the PG Paper Christmas card list yet, why not get in touch with the team in 2020, for a chat on how partnering with us is a commercially and environmentally-sound option!