Electronic vs. Paper Statements: Which is Greener?

Electronic statements and sales materials are not carbon-free, of course, but the concept that they are actually worse for the environment than a hand-delivered piece of mail, seems like a stretch to me.

Doc's heard the argument that electronic statements may actually be less environmentally friendly than print versions, but he's never quite bought into the theory. But I'm prepared to be wrong.

According to the non-profit, paper-industry sponsored group Two Sides, which is active in both Europe and the United States, there is evidence to show that printing may not be so bad after all.

One of the successes of Two Sides in Europe has been its campaign to challenge misleading messaging related to the environmental benefits of electronic billing. Research carried out prior to the UK campaign launch revealed that 43% of the major banks, 70% of telecoms and 30% of utilities were using misleading environmental statements to support their marketing messages, thereby conflicting with current advertising regulations which are in place in most countries. Martyn Eustace, Founder of Two Sides and UK Director explains: "In 2010, Two Sides launched a campaign to target companies who claim that switching to on-line communication is better for the environment without verifiable supporting evidence. As a result, Two Sides has so far convinced 27 out of 33 major corporations to change their environmental claims or use wording that doesn't include misleading or incorrect statements related to e-billing. Every day we see misinformation but there is now a growing confidence that our industry has a good case to argue and a great record on sustainability."

Two Sides has a pretty decent track record and makes you wonder, at least, who's telling the truth in this debate.  Electronic statements and sales materials are not carbon-free, of course, but the concept that they are actually worse for the environment than a hand-delivered piece of mail, seems like a stretch to me. Doc couldn't find the actual "evidence" that Two Sides has, but I give them the benefit of the doubt. Makes you think.

What do you think? Could electronic statements be harder on the environment than printed ones?

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