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Greenwashing: Are you using a misleading statement on your email footer?

Sustainable print messaging

Greenwashing and Positive Email Footers

It is common to see email footers with negative and sometimes misleading statements on the environmental impacts of print and paper. Messages such as, ‘Think before you print’, or ’Do you really need to print this email it will harm the environment’, ignore the unique, sustainable properties of paper.


Statements like these are hugely damaging to the print and paper industry.

The Facts.

Despite common belief, forests in Europe, are growing in size, the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches every day.*  Young, growing and expanding forests help the environment by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and many other benefits like Biodiversity. We have an enviable recycling rate of 72% (84% for paper packaging)** which is higher than all other materials, glass, metal and plastic.

Research also shows that consumers prefer to receive complicated documents and bills in printed format, and they absorb information better.*** 

So, if you need a convenient and permanent copy of emails don’t feel guilty about printing but, please, ensure you recycle.

Examples of Greenwashing
Common misleading messages found on email footers.

Here are some alternative, more positive email footers you may want to consider using.


1. Print and paper is renewable, sustainable and powerful. If you print, please recycle.

2. Printed emails create a permanent and sustainable record, but please ensure all wastepaper is recycled.

3. Responsibly Produced Print and Paper is Renewable, Recyclable, and Powerful.

4. Yes, it’s ok to print your emails – but please recycle wastepaper.

5. Responsibly produced paper has unique environmental features. It is highly recyclable and comes from a renewable resource. If you print, please recycle. 



* FAO data, 2005-2020

** European Paper Recycling Council, Monitoring Report, 2018

*** Two Sides, Print and Paper in a Digital World, 2017

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