Two Sides Accuses Toshiba of Greenwash with ‘No Print Day’ Campaign

HELLIDON, U.K.—June 13, 2012—Greenwash is an unfortunate and growing phenomenon as marketing departments jump on the sustainability bandwagon. In what is one of the most blatant examples, a division of Toshiba—Toshiba America Business Solutions—has announced that Oct. 23, 2012, will be “National No-Print Day.” On that day, Toshiba propose to “raise awareness of the impact printing has on our planet” and of “the role of paper in the workplace.”

The company is asking people and businesses not to print or copy anything that day. This campaign is backed up by a number of contentious and unsourced claims designed to support this ill-conceived initiative.

There are many flaws surrounding Toshiba’s campaign including:

  • Toshiba seems to have ignored the environmental impact of electronic communications. Just saying you are eliminating print and paper really does not mean you are necessarily helping the planet. It’s a lot more complex than that. If the alternative is, for example, electronic communication, then what is the environmental impact of this? Greenpeace has identified electronic waste as the fastest growing component of the municipal waste steam.
  • Toshiba has linked paper use to deforestation (or killing trees and destroying forests) when, in fact, responsibly made paper can be a sustainable way to communicate. Paper is a highly recycled commodity in Europe, with a recycling rate approaching 70 percent. Does Toshiba recycle their products so effectively? We think not.
  • Paper is based on wood, a natural and renewable material. Electronic equipment, ink and toner cartridges, including those with the Toshiba brand, are made mostly from non-renewable resources and are not so easily recycled. Have Toshiba considered the life cycle of all their own products before professing expertise on others?

What do the thousands of men and women employed by Toshiba to manufacture, sell and distribute copiers, printers and toner cartridges world-wide think about this campaign?

  • Bill K

    I have a much better idea…All Printers should boycott buying anything from Toshiba.

  • Sandman

    Last time I ever by ANY Toshiba product – How about a National Boycott Toshiba DECADE

  • Print Shop Owner, Tampa, FL

    I won’t be planning on purchasing any type of Toshiba product ever!!

  • Brian B

    Have we heard from Toshiba?

  • Tommy

    Toshiba, the once upon a time manufacturer of web presses?

  • Mark Ruhnke

    They as well as most younger designers, and print purchasers need to learn the facts before jumping the "green" bandwagon. Batteries, plastics, lead and mercury based materials are way worse for the environment then paper ever was, and those are the primary materials used in thier equipment. Soy inks, paper and metal plates are all 100% recyclable-can ANY electronic manuifacturor claim that-TOBISHA is out of touch and needs to re-evaluate the way they think, and most of all, stop destytoying our environment with YOUR poisonous materials!

  • Print Shop Owner, Denton TX

    Another giant with ill conceived ideas!! Who are they trying to BS?

  • nealgraham

    I used to buy Toshiba Laptops when they had the best product for the best price, but now I’ll pay a couple bucks more for another brand to AVOID buying Toshiba’s products. I REFUSE to have "Green" crap shoved down my throat as if we are too immature to make intelligent decisions. As has been said already, paper (trees) are a RENEWABLE resource {AKA GREEN} and thus the print & paper industries are GREENER than Toshiba can ever become. Toshiba by its very nature produces products with TOXINS and CARCINOGENS within them via the numerous metals in a computer/etc as well as the chemicals contained in toner, fuser, laptop batteries, and so many more things. They produce products that are neither GREEN nor RENEWABLE, however the print / publishing / paper industries are in fact those things all the time AND HAVE BEEN for CENTURIES. As long as paper is made from trees, it is a 100% renewable product and the paper can be recycled near 100% as well. Toshiba is going out on a limb to make themselves look ‘green’, but in reality the branch BROKE and they are laying in the raw sewage in the pit under the branch…

  • Niels M Winther

    Toshiba Reps – pls do not call on us. We are no longer interested in your equipment.
    Niels M WInther
    Think Patented
    Dayton, OH

  • Leo Klebanow

    Toshiba made a bad decision to promote this concept. Especially when so many Toshiba users, especially print providers, are negatively impacted by what they thought was a great idea. They will now bear the full brunt of this promotion.

    I for one, having made my living in the print industry both directly and indirectly, will never buy a Toshiba product again. They have made a fortune from print providers, and to take this position at this time is very ill-advised.

  • Thaddeus Kubis

    Clearly a bad move by this firm. Seems like they wanted to start a discussion and instead have started a tempest. Opinions are one thing but providing incorrect and WRONG information is just stupid. Toshiba needs to pull this stupid program and issue a very sincere apology to the professionals within this and related verticals.

  • NoelWard

    Oh, the righteous indignation!

    All the pundits, Twitter addicts, and commentators have their knickers in a twist about Toshiba’s proclamation that October 23rd will be “No Print Day.” They’re blogging, tweeting, and bleating about how terrible it is that Toshiba—as a vendor of printing systems—would actually encourage people not to print for—gasp— an entire day.

    Talk about a tempest in a teapot… or maybe a teaspoon! The discussion around this is like arguing how many toner particles can dance on the edge of a business card.

    A No Print Day is an amusing, interesting—and largely meaningless—gesture on Toshiba’s part, and all the whining and self-righteous indignation does is draw more attention to it. Which may have been part of the strategy anyway.

    Print is still a vital part of communications and not printing for one day does zip, zero, zilch to prove anything either way. Has anyone figured out that jobs due to run on October 23rd will just run anyway, on the 22nd or 24th? Does anyone notice the blurbs at the bottom of emails from several companies in this industry that encourage people to think before they print out an email?

    If our industry is so insecure that it feels that the “message” a No Print Day sends out is a bad thing we all ought to start looking for new ways to make a living.