The two sides of print

Author: Jacqui Vear
24th April 2019

Printing Emails

We were on the receiving end of an email with a very refreshing email footer the other day. It concluded with this invitation;
Please feel free to print this email
Printing emails can provide a permanent record. Paper is renewable, sustainable and recyclable. European working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage.
“Yes, yes, yes” we cried!
Whilst we don’t need a legacy of many of the emails we receive every day, there are times when information needs to be retained, in a way that is not password, PC or server dependent! What made this message stand out is that we often see instructions, ‘Go green, go paperless’ or ‘Choose e-billing and save trees’.
Misleading statements like these are so widespread that a not-for-profit organisation exists to redress the balance, Two Sides. It seeks to ensure that the recyclable and renewable qualities of paper and print, along with its versatility in communications, are enjoyed for years to come.

Two Sides

Two Sides remind us that;


  • 85% of the wood used by the European paper industry comes from European forests, and these forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland between 2005 – 2015
  • The industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe
  • Paper is also the most recycled material in Europe.

A recent investigation by Two Sides into the messaging of 100 local councils found that 42 were using unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about printed communication.

Don’t let your organisation fall into the ‘green-washing’ trap!

DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say that environmental claims should be clear, accurate and objective. Most importantly for your business, you don’t want to undermine the trust that your audience has in you. Surveys indicate that consumers are becoming wise to misleading green claims; they understand that the debate, paper or electronic, is more balanced. Many consumers feel that service providers want them to go paper-free just to save money.


Whilst electronic communication enhances the way that most of us live and work, digital technology has an environmental impact, generating what is estimated to be 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, predicted to rise to 14% by 2040. Around 3.9 million tonnes of e-waste are generated every year from redundant phones, laptops and other devices. It’s also important not to overlook the estimated 1 in 5 people who can’t access the internet due to poverty, disability, rurality or a lack of confidence.


So remember that paper is a powerful tool in your communications, don’t overlook it’s potential or sustainability as you win business and do business!


Post includes references to this article.

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