New Year, New Outlook on Flawed “Go Paperless” Campaigns

From using Forest Stewardship® certified products to recycling, it’s no secret that modern cataloger printers like Dingley have been taking advantage of and promoting green practices for years. Yet, how many of you can think of marketing campaigns that regularly connect the two slogans “go green” with “go paperless”?

The idea that paper-based marketing is environmentally harmful is unsubstantiated and untrue, but it’s the emotion-based push that even Fortune 100 companies have embraced in order to sell their electronic financial, telecom, and other Web-based services.

However, the number of businesses relying on this false advertising campaign is thankfully dwindling. A large part of this reduction is thanks to the educational, “anti-greenwashing” push from the independent, nonprofit global organization Two Sides North America, Inc. , which promotes the responsible production, use, and sustainability practices of print and paper. As the organization’s president Phil Riebel points out, the numerous “Go Paperless” campaigns many of these companies rely on are deceptive and false:

“The ‘go green and save trees’ claims are misleading and false for many reasons, and they are a form of greenwashing that needs to be corrected. The claims don’t consider the renewability of paper, or the numerous social, environmental, and economic benefits of well-managed North American forests, which in the U.S. have grown by 58% in wood volume over the past 60 years … Our experience to date is that many companies are so focused on saving money that they have ignored the environmental and social impacts of switching from paper to e-media — and these impacts are far from negligible.”

Clearly catalogers and direct-mail marketers know the true meaning of “going green”, but there’s always an underlying fear that that consumers are buying into these untruths. However, citing a June 2016 survey by Toluna, Two Sides revealed that’s not true, either:

  • 85% or respondents think that companies making negative green claims about paper are only interested in saving costs.
  • 88% believe that as long as resources are responsibly managed, producing wood and paper are environmentally friendly.
  • 91% agreed that responsibly produced, used, and recycled paper products are a sustainable form of communication.

Although these statistics make it clear that savvy consumers are aware of these broad, thinly veiled promotional attempts, it’s still good to know there’s an organization working toward marketing transparency when it comes to true “green” practices. And now, because of Two Sides’ attentiveness, there are 65 fewer North American businesses that will be making these false claims in their future advertising endeavors.

As we kick off a new year, we’re looking forward to continuing our commitments to the environment, our customers, and our local community. When it comes to “going green” in 2017, The Dingley Press is proud to be leading the way in sustainable, environmentally savvy paper usage — and it’s nice to know that other businesses will be joining these ranks, too. Happy New Year, indeed!

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.