How to avoid 'green-washing' in your communications

Author: Jacqui Vear
21st July 2021

Get to know paper more before you go paperless


The pressure is on to clearly and accurately communicate what your business is doing to protect our environment because, if you fall in line with the average, 61% of your customers expect your organisation to have clear sustainability practices¹.


When it comes to your offline communications, we’re here to arm you with facts about the sustainability of paper products, to avoid the loss of credibility that comes with claims of ‘green-washing’, a trap that even large, established organisations have fallen into, including a reported 40% of local councils as at 2019²!


Green-washing is defined as attempting to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.


DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say that environmental claims should be clear, accurate and objective. Your customers are starting to understand the environment impacts of different communication channels, the online / offline dynamic, and you can support their understanding.

Start sharing the sustainable story of print and paper - 5 things you need to know


1. Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products, as wood is a natural and renewable material.


2. The paper that we use for 98.78% of your paper-based projects is FSC® certifiedᵌ. Endorsement by the Forest Stewardship Council® ensures that the raw material of wood fibre is sourced from sustainable forests, where land is responsibly managed, natural habitats of plants and animals are conserved, and the rights of forestry workers and local communities are respected.


3. European Forests are growing at a rate equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every day⁴. As these forests grow, they create clean air, wildlife habitat and carbon storage.


4. 60% of fuel consumption from the European pulp and paper industry is biomass-based⁵. The industry also recognises its potential to increase this percentage in the future.


5. Europe is the world leader when it comes to recycling paper, 72% is now recycled⁶.

Reinforcing the sustainability of your printed communications


When you’ve proactively thought about your paper stock, print finishes and how your printed item can be disposed of when it’s no longer required, share the information with your audience.


  • The simplest way to do this is through a statement, which can be creatively added to your artwork for maximum impact.
  • There will be certain projects where the FSC® chain of custody requirements are met and beyond the use of sustainable paper, the FSC® logo can be incorporated into the artwork for your printed item.
  • When your project meets certain sustainability criteria, we can help you use the Love Paper® logo. It’s a simple, eye-catching endorsement that has already been embraced by businesses like The Guardian, who launched the new paper wraps for the Saturday supplements alongside the campaign. Here is a link to the associated criteria for using Love Paper®.

If you want a sustainability themed message in your email footer...


It could be useful to remind people not to waste resources, whether paper, ink or data storage. Yet to avoid green-washing consider these options, shared by the helpful paper ambassadors at Two Sides;

  • Print and paper is renewable, sustainable and powerful. If you print, please recycle.
  • Printed emails create a permanent and sustainable record but please ensure all waste paper is recycled.
  • Responsibly Produced Print and Paper is Renewable, Recyclable, and Powerful. For more information visit
  • Yes, it’s ok to print your emails – but please recycle waste paper.
  • Responsibly produced paper has unique environmental features. It is highly recyclable and comes from a renewable resource. If you print, please recycle.

So remember that paper is a powerful tool in your communications, don’t overlook it’s potential or sustainability. For more tips on this theme, check our our blog, Making sustainable printing choices.


1. Smurfit Kappa and Financial Times Sustainability Survey 2020

2. Two Sides Report February 2019

3. Systematic environmental analysis February 2021

4. Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations data, 2005-2020

5. Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005-2015

6. European Paper Recycling Council, monitoring report 2017.

Enquire about sustainably printed products

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