How many times have you received an e-mail which warns about the danger to the environment of printing that mail. Those mails would have you believe that by using paper you are actually contributing to such things as deforestation, global warming and general climate change.
This could not be further from the truth. The trees from which paper is made is actually grown specifically for that purpose. Such has the impact of the conservationists been that there is almost no clearing of tropical forests for the making of paper anywhere in the world anymore. Most of the major paper manufacturers around the world, and all of those in South Africa, meet and comply with internationally recognised and enforced policies of sustainability and responsible forestry.
The matter of using electronic communication to advise people against the printing of e-mails has more to do with economics than it does with the environment. It stems from organisations not wanting to bear the cost of printing and posting items such as invoices and statements. The term coined for these quasi-environmental statements is ‘Green-washing’ and refers to the aim of trying to convince the general populace that it is harmful to the environment to print items.
South Africa recently became the latest country to become home to the growing list of countries worldwide where Two Sides has set up offices. Two Sides is an organisation which is trying to draw a distinction between environmental and economic concerns surrounding the use of paper as a communications medium. Two Sides South Africa forms part of the international Two Sides organisation which uses accepted international research to prove the environmental friendliness of paper or disprove the Green-washing statements which are being made by primarily large organisations.
Two Sides will be addressing Green-washing campaigns by challenging organisations which use these slogans to rethink their approach. It will also be undertaking a process of education and enlightenment to explain the difference between environmental friendliness and economic concerns. It will endeavour to explain, in simple terms, the benefits to the environment of the use of paper and printed material.
For more information on Two Sides and the work it is doing visit the website: www.za.twosides.info