40% Of Local Councils Found To Be Greenwashing (Europe)

An investigation by Two Sides has found over 40% of local councils to be using unsubstantiated and misleading environmental claims about printed communication.

Following an increasing number of individual “Greenwash” cases involving local councils being reported to Two Sides, an investigation was undertaken to identify the scale of misleading claims made by local government.

An analysis of a random sample of 100 local councils found 42 to be making unsubstantiated claims about printed communication being bad for the environment.
Misleading statements are being used by many of the UK’s largest councils:
•“The paperless billing system… is better for the environment and saves money on postage and paper.” Birmingham City Council (1,137,100 residents)
•“E-Billing is the fast, efficient, environmentally friendly way to receive your bills.” Liverpool City Council (491,500 residents)
•“E-bills are more environmentally friendly as there is no paper or printing. Cardiff Council (362,756 residents)

Paper vs. Electronic Environmental Claims
As is worryingly common with many organisations within the finance, telecommunications and utility industries, local councils, in their never-ending pursuit to cut costs, have opted for the tactic of using fictitious ‘green’ claims, rather than highlighting the genuine benefit of electronic communication: cost-saving.

Ironically, these statements clearly conflict with the government’s own DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) principles for making environmental claims. The guidelines state that environmental claims should not be misleading, be clear and accurate and the data used to make the comparison should be objective and transparent.1

These misleading messages ignore the unique environmental attributes of paper and further reinforce the misconception amongst many consumers that paper is bad for the environment.
The European paper industry is a world-leader on sustainably-sourced raw materials, renewable energy and extremely high recycling rates.

85% of the wood used by the European paper industry comes from European forests, and these forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland between 2005 – 2015. The industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe. Paper is also the most recycled material in Europe.2

Electronic communication has, of course, drastically changed the way we live and work. But digital technology is not environmentally free of charge.

The ICT industry accounts for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040.3 9 million tonnes of e-waste are generated every year from goods such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.4 Annually, the global Cloud network, which powers much of the infrastructure to deliver electronic billing and many other digital services, demands twice as much electricity as the entire United Kingdom.5

Considering these facts, it is difficult to imagine how e-billing can be deemed “environmentally-friendly”.
more detail at: https://www.twosides.info/UK/40-of-local-councils-found-to-be-greenwashing/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TSUK%20greenwashing%20councils&utm_content=TSUK%20greenwashing%20councils+CID_5d722564a6e62ea986e65e50023256ba&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20the%20full%20press%20release%20here

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