Jacqui Vear

Posted on 21st July 2021
by Jacqui Vear

How to avoid ‘green-washing’ in your communications

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.

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;


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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