When I first read about Google’s “Go Paperless in 2013” campaign I have to admit it didn’t bother me. It isn’t an anti-print industry stance or a direct attack on the paper industry. It’s a marketing campaign to promote the use of the cloud, and purchase cloud and other e-services from their partners – and by doing so you will “save time, money and trees.” They cite printing receipts and expense reports and other such office type desktop printing as the paper in the “paperless” part. 

just-say-noOn the surface it seems harmless. It’s marketing… there is a problem: excessive desktop printing, they have a solution: cloud and e-services. But after an intense conversation with my blog hero Mr. Tree from Dead Tree Edition, he pointed out something very important… “Not wasting paper is different from going paperless, especially if you’re going paperless because you think that’s green. The Go Paperless campaign feeds the masses’ ignorance about print and also takes advantage of it. The key thing we need to do now is to send a message: If you make false environmental claims about electronic media always being greener than print, expect backlash.” I totally agree.

Two Sides were first to jump in to set the record straight and sent GOOGLE’s Chairman an open letter with hard facts and figures on the environmental impact that GOOGLE has on the world. In all honesty I’m not on-board with any sort of attack on the digital world. It’s hypocritical not only personally but professionally since I am a champion of cross-media marketing. I do however have a huge problem with companies using greenwashing in their marketing, and the ongoing public misperception that PAPER is not sustainable.

The sole mission of Two-Sides is to change that perception. Others have followed Two-Sides in public outcry, and I respect and support those efforts, but I am going to put my full attention towards helping Two-Sides get their message out because they speak for all of us, with a clear and singular agenda.

As a member of the guerrilla faction of the Anti-Greenwashing Army, it’s time to put some thought into fighting back, and doing it where it will have the most impact. Shaking a fist at GOOGLE is certainly a David and Goliath situation, but giving their partner companies some public heat for participating in this program is a great first step – thanks Mr. Tree!

If you are on Twitter, the hashtag GOOGLE and their partners are using is #paperless2013. Let them hear from us there. Make sure you include the hashtag in all replies and RT’s as well.

I’ve never heard of most of the partners, but Constant Contact is another story. I am going to reply to every correspondence I receive through Constant Contact and advise the sender that they helping to pay for greenwashing by using their service, and refer them to my awesome email service ReachMail. I will also unsubscribe from those communications until I am advised the service has been discontinued. For added pressure, I will take to the hashtag and let @ConstantContact know I have done that, in each instance. 

More to follow… I opened a Facebook Page: Say No To Paperless 2013 that I will get to setting up properly in a little bit, but please go over and like it and RANT AWAY!!!

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