Companies should not claim that particular good or service has certain
environmental benefits if these claims cannot be substantiated.
– Green Marketing and the Australian Consumer Law Legislation
Environmentally-conscious consumers rely on corporate messages to inform their purchasing choices. Yet it is not uncommon for organisations to make environmental claims that reducing the use of paper and using electronic services (eg. e-billing or e-statements) is ‘green’, ‘better for the environment’ or ‘saves trees’. Not only are these claims unsubstantiated and misleading, they also not inline with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Green Marketing and the Australian Consumer Law legislation. Most of the companies using these claims have paid little or no attention to the growing environmental footprint of their digital infrastructure which is far from negligible (Arnfalk, P. 2010).
Two Sides has contacted these companies with the real facts including:
Most print on paper originates from a renewable resource, trees grown in responsibly managed Australian forests. Paper is the most recycled commodity with a recovery rate of 87% in Australia.
Australian forest volume has increased by 308,000 hectares over the past 5 years (2010-2015), which is the second highest gain of any country in the world.
Unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims like “go paperless, go green” are damaging to the Australian economy and threaten thousands of jobs.
As a result of Two Sides ongoing educational campaign, 73% of Australian companies contacted have removed or corrected environmental claims being used to promote electronic billing and other e-services as a more environmentally-friendly solution than paper. Many of these companies are in the banking, utilities, telecommunications and insurance sectors.