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ICT – Killing off paper with a greener image Part IV

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ICT – Killing off paper with a greener image Part IV

July 12, 2010 - 03:35
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LONDON, July 12, 2010 (RISI) -Continuing on our theme of highlighting the threat that Information Communication Technology (ICT) is posing to the long term health of pulp and paper, in Part IV we thought we would spotlight something of an industry fight back. Yes, and not only that, a world famous music star (the one that is famous for being formerly known as Prince) has recently denounced possibly the most important ICT channel, the web, saying that the "Internet's over", and is going back to old fashioned CDs promoted through the conventional newspaper!

Going into battle

But first, an industry fight back that is getting a lot of attention in Europe. We have all seen those messages, the ones on the bottom of emails saying "Save the environment - don't print this email" and most of us at some time have been contacted by our utility companies to say that we would save a lot of forests if we received our bills on paper rather than online.

Martyn Eustace of Two Sides

Well, instead of fuming about it, one industry player and head of theTwo Sidesorganization has been taking the fight right to the door of these often huge companies telling them their messages are illegal - and by all accounts this action is having some success. Martyn Eustace, head of Two Sides told PPI recently: "Addressing anti print and paper marketing is one of our most important activities. Of great importance is the engagement of Two Sides with major corporations who are delivering anti print and paper marketing messages, for example that e-billing is better for the environment than paper bills.

"This sort of greenwash is easily exposed and when Two Sides contacts these companies their marketing is quickly changed," says Eustace. "Two large utility and telecoms organisations have already agreed to change their marketing and avoid references to the environment when encouraging people to switch to e-billing. Without proof - and this is just not possible to obtain - such environmental claims are against Code of Advertising practice guidelines and can be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. Similar ‘rules' exist in most countries now.

Eustace says that Two Sides will take whatever steps it can to engage with these 'peddlers of misinformation' and point out that any environmental claim must be backed up with hard data to support such a claim, but explains: "It is clear that no carbon footprint calculator can truly assess all the hardware and software impacts of e-communication and thus any claim that such communication is 'better for the environment' is unproven. Added to this is the mounting evidence of the negative impact of electronic waste is a real eye-opener."

Eustace tells PPI that as well as proactively confronting corporations, the Two Sides initiative is also hitting the mainstream media, including newspapers and magazines, as well as direct mail pieces to major influencers including politicians and journalists.

"The Internet's over"

Meanwhile, pop star Prince has been in the news claiming that "the Internet's completely over....and that all these computers and digital gadgets are no good".Speaking in an interview in the Mirror newspaper, which is exclusively promoting the star's new album, Prince also said "I don't see why I should give my music to iTunes or anybody else. They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it." He also said "All these computers and digital gadgets are no good and just fill your head with numbers that can't be good for you."

Clearly the ICT industry will have its own interesting dilemmas in the future, particularly as the pay walls for newspapers are introduced and publishers begin seriously marketing online books and magazines. Steve Jobs of Apple and Rupert Murdoch of News International were both recently considered by many in the industry as having a major influence on pulp and paper globally, and made ourRISI Top 50 Power List.

"ICT - Killing off the paper industry with a greener image" is a series of articles.Part 1,Part IIandPart IIIcan all be found on the RISI website.

Look out for PPI's Environmental Matters email newsletter, a new service starting from next week that will bring to you all the environmental features and news from the global pulp and paper industry.