Solopress & Two Sides: busting the myths

When it comes to the environment, digital is good and paper is bad, right? Not necessarily!

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths around the world of print, paper and paper packaging. Sometimes it’s thought that printing means deforestation. Or that digital alternatives produce no harmful effects whatsoever. In reality, the picture is nowhere near so simple. In fact there’s compelling evidence demonstrating that the opposite is true…

Redressing the balance

In 2008, a group of professionals from the graphic communications supply chain got together create a forum that would not only promote environmental practices, but also provide a voice to tell the true story of how far the industry has come in reducing its impact on the environment.

The result was Two Sides, a not-for-profit group that’s able to investigate, educate and communicate when it comes to the ecological issues surrounding paper and print.

Through its research and public relations work, Two Sides has been able to tell a very different story about environmental responsibility in the graphic communications industry, from forestry right through to delivery.

Two Sides to the story…

One worrying myth about paper production is that it’s a major cause of deforestation and that European woodland is being destroyed as a result. In fact, according to Two Sides, European forests grew by an area equivalent to 1,500 football pitches every day between 2005 and 2020!

Another misconception is that paper production produces a large carbon footprint. In truth, the industry is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, and managed to reduce emissions by a quarter in the twelve years leading up to 2017.

Conversely, there’s the popular idea that digital communication and data storage are the ultimate green alternatives to print. This turns out not to be so clear cut either. The ICT industry currently produces 2.5-3% of worldwide CO2 emissions, with that figure predicted to rise to 14% by 2040.

These are just a couple of the eye-opening, myth-busting facts and figures that are available to explore at

Giving “green wash” the red card 

Yet more troubling is the trend for alternative modes of communication or packaging to be marketed as “eco-friendly” when the reality is quite different.

Genuine claims around corporate efforts regarding environmental measures are a great way to reassure customers and differentiate a business from their competition. When those claims are false, however, they can deprive custom from honest businesses, and ultimately cause more damage to the environment.

Two Sides work hard to identify and expose instances of “green washing”. Since 2010, they’ve managed to get misleading environmental claims either amended or removed by more than 700 organisations, including many of the world’s leading financial, telecoms and utilities companies.

A history of responsible printing

In contrast Solopress has always been conscientious about the environment, and the work done by Two Sides is very much aligned with our own ethos.

Throughout our 22-year history, Solopress has been committed to sustainable print, with a commendable record of responsible procurement and production. Our efforts have included participating in various environmental projects, aligning with carbon-neutral partners for utilities and delivery and using sustainably-sourced paper stocks and plant-based inks.

Given our shared interest in a responsible future for our industry it makes perfect sense for Solopress and Two Sides to work together.

Partnership with Solopress

On sealing our membership with Two Sides, Solopress Managing Director Simon Cooper said,

“Now is the right time for Solopress to become members of Two Sides. Having recently introduced the Solopress Green range of carbon-offset products, we look forward to enhancing our position on sustainability yet further and promoting the wider sustainable attributes of print media,”

Simon continued, “At Solopress, it’s our policy to manage the business in the most environmentally responsible manner. We minimise our impact on the planet and help our customers to do the same.”

An eco-code to live by

In partnering with Two Sides, Solopress commits to upholding the principles Two Sides requires of its members. These principles are:

  • We will conduct our businesses in an environmentally and socially responsible manner
  • We support and will encourage forest certification schemes as well as the practical use of recycled fibre in suitable products
  • We will employ procedures that are aimed at ensuring the purchase of raw materials from sustainably managed sources
  • We will measure and manage our environmental footprint by eliminating or minimising negative environmental impacts
  • We support the implementation of effective recycling schemes and the minimisation, and eventual elimination of Print and Paper waste in landfill
  • We will improve the sustainability of our business operations by measuring and minimising our waste and our use of water and energy

Say it loud

These are important guidelines, and ones that require very little change to Solopress’ already eco-conscious business practices. Perhaps more significantly, partnership with Two Sides will allow Solopress to communicate our message on sustainability more broadly and effectively thanks to the data, tools and resources produced by the group.

In a busy market, it’s hard for us to invest the time into flying the flag for the industry’s eco-credentials. Thankfully the Two Sides is able to help us give these issues the exposure they deserve.