Which media channel is the greenest, and are we supporting the wrong channel with our ‘green’ choices? These are the questions being explored in a new campaign from Two Sides, a global initiative from the Graphic Communications Industry promoting sustainable business practices.
A distinctive feature of the modern consumer is that they want to purchase products and services that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
Many providers of goods and services recognise the impact of this trend for path-to-purchase decisions and their marketing strategies now include a variety of green claims, such as ‘pure, natural or eco-friendly’, to entice the socially and environmentally conscious consumer.
“Our experience to date is that many companies don’t realise the environmental credentials of paper. We challenge the ‘go paperless’ position and help educate corporations,” said Kellie Northwood, executive director, Two Sides Australia.
“Once informed, companies are really supportive.”
However, the potential to confuse and mislead consumers with green claims is likely as environmental issues are highly complex and fast moving. This is especially pertinent as we become an increasingly digital society where the environmental and social impacts of technology are invisible.
Two Sides explores the impact of the messages that companies use to market their products and services to capture the attention of modern day consumers.
The issue was highlights in the ‘Black Balloon’ awareness campaign by Sustainability Victoria, that helped consumers visualise – through the use of representative black balloons – the amount of greenhouse gas that were emitting when performing simple tasks like laundry or watching TV.
As businesses move towards 100 per cent digital transactions, claims such as ‘save trees, go green and go digital’ are normal parts of marketing strategies, but these claims don’t consider the negative environmental impact of technology, the Two Sides campaign stresses.
According to a June 2016 Toluna survey, 83 per cent of respondents believe companies making negative green claims about paper are seeking to save costs.
Furthermore, 88 per cent agreed that, when responsibly produced, used and recycled, print paper can be a sustainable way to communicate.
The Two Sides campaign aims to help people gain better understandings of why paper and print remain both versatile and sustainable communication mediums, while working with Aussie companies to increase education.
Through this, Two Sides has confirmed that 70 per cent of companies contracted globally for misleading green claims have been receptive and removed inaccurate anti-paper claims. The list includes several major players in the service, retail, financial, telco and utilities sectors.