Score one for sanity and consumer awareness.
When Paperless 2013 launched last January, it took just days for the social sphere to stage a hash tag takeover and rebut their attempts to position digital as more environmentally friendly than print.
The initiative was designed to be a consumer education campaign “supposedly about helping the environment but was actually about bringing sponsors more green stuff,” notes Dead Tree Edition.
It quickly became a bit of an embarrassment — their blog, written almost exclusively by corporate sponsors touting their services and products, stopped updating after just a few months of posts– and, by all social measures, not just a flop but a flame-out.
And now one of their major sponsors, online bill organizing tool Manilla, is shutting down its operations this summer.
As a subsidiary of Hearst Corp, partnering with this initiative was a weird thing for Manilla to do in the first place.
“Hearst Corporation has earned a reputation as a truly green company by systematically measuring, revealing, and minimizing its environmental impacts – until now,” wrote Dead Tree Edition in an article last January on Paperless 2013. They didn’t need a gimmicky hash tag movement to prove their environmental awareness.
Even more confusing, their subsidiary Manilla “presents no evidence that its processes help the environment. In fact, its web site reveals nothing about its environmental footprint or programs.”
The blowback probably did more to harm Hearst’s reputation as a green-minded company, with its focus on sustainable forestry and magazine recycling. And the “go-green, go paperless” movement has been taken to task by the FTC and others for their misleading anti-paper claims.
At the end of the day, we agree with Dead Tree Edition’s final bit of advice on the matter:
“There are legitimate reasons to convert some paper-based functions to digital media. But don’t make assertions about ‘going green’ by going paperless without providing evidence, because digital media have a significant environmental footprint.”
If you are going to take a public stand like this, you better have your facts together. You might want to go ahead and print them out and tape them over your desk. Every medium has its own footprint, and the hysterical claims no longer hold water.