What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is an environmental claim which is unsubstantiated or irrelevant.

It is often used by organisations to mislead consumers or distract them from the truth.


Consumers have become ever more environmentally concerned and they rely on corporate messages and advertising to make informed purchasing choices. If organisations jump on the environmental bandwagon and go about claiming that everything they engage in is ‘green’, ‘better for the environment’ or ‘eco-friendly’ consumers don’t know who to trust? Greenwash has the power to undermine confidence in advertising to the point that consumers don’t trust any of the messages.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code, enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, have produced clear marketing guidelines to ensure that ‘green’ claims are tangible and measurable. It is therefore important to highlight where organisations are ignoring these guidelines and where greenwash is being used. If organisations continue to confuse consumers by making them uncertain about buying green products, they will eventually give up and Greenwash will destroy the market for virtuous organisations.

Bringing this closer to home, Two Sides have implemented their own Greenwash Campaign focusing on organisations claiming digital communication is ‘greener’ than paper based communication. Needless to say, this claim is incredibly damaging to everyone working within the paper and print industry and must be addressed. We have been extremely successful over the past number of years, however, there are still instances where this is evidenced, and we continue to engage with organisations to retract these spurious claims.

On the whole, most greenwash is due to ignorance rather than untoward intent and therefore, once we have communicated with offending organisations and offered a simple solution, most are agreeable to making the change. We are also keen to work with all organisations to help them with positive, factual statements about the paper they use.