Commercial Headlines
News 12 March 2015
Two Sides launches gobal anti-greenwash initiative
CHICAGO, IL AND LONDON,UK—A new study commissioned by Two Sides states that major global corporations are still ignoring regulations put in place to protect consumers from misleading marketing claims. Specifically encouraging consumers to go paperless in order to save the environment—even though legislation is being introduced by advertising standards authorities to stop these claims.

The study, which took place in February 2015, revealed that in the UK, banks, utilities and telecoms are still making these environmental claims. In the US half of the leading fortune 500 companies are doing the same.

“This is extremely frustrating and unacceptable,” Martyn Eustace, founder of the Two Sides initiative said.  “The fact that marketers in some of the most high profile corporations in the world are still using unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims to persuade consumers to switch from paper-based to cheaper electronic communication is outrageous.  Many consumers want a paper option but they are being manipulated by a lack of clear and accurate information.  Paper is based on a natural, highly renewable and recyclable resource and can be a sustainable way to communicate, especially when compared to electronic media."

He continued, “This behaviour must be tackled and we are therefore going on the offensive once again to educate and inform those responsible of their misconduct and to ensure that such organizations don’t continue to ignore the law and mislead their most important asset…their customers.”

Two Sides will now engage with companies in Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, South Africa and Australia who have went back on their promise to refute the claims, or are claiming switching to online billing is better for the environment, without providing proof.

UK research completed in 2012 stated 70% of telecoms businesses, 43% of major banks and 30% of utility companies made false claims on the environmental benefits of going paperless. When challenged by Two Sides 82% of the companies changed their message.

In North America, Two Sides converted 30 of the Fortune 500 companies in the same sectors and is in discussion with 25 others, who have yet to comply.

Two Sides maintains that anti-paper statements conflict with the latest UK CAP code, (Committee for Advertising Practice), guidelines by the US Federal Trade Commission and CSR Europe (the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility), and the UK Government department DEFRA. 

“The true picture of the excellent environmental benefits of paper is being overlooked by these false messages,” Eustace said. “In Europe, 44% of the land area is covered by forests and 93% of our paper comes from Europe where the area of forest has grown by 30% since 1950 and has been increasing at a rate of 1.5 million football pitches every year.”
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