Toshiba cuts paper-waste campaign

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After a campaign to create an unofficial holiday to reduce paper waste was met with ire from the printing industry, Toshiba has stopped the presses on its plan for a National No-Print Day.

Earlier this month, Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc., the Irvine, Calif.-based document management branch of Toshiba Corp., announced it planned to encourage consumers not to print for one day in October.

But the Printing Industries of America, a Sewickley-based trade association, mobilized members to protest. The group argued the campaign was offensive to printing industry workers and unfairly implicated print as environmentally hazardous. The industry has shrunk in recent years due to economic shifts and the increased use of digital communication.

"The intent was to raise awareness of wasteful office printing practices and to provide simple tips and tools to reduce it," Bill Melo -- vice president of marketing, services and solutions at Toshiba America Business Solutions -- said in a written statement issued this week.

"The provocative name and message unfortunately led to a misconception of the campaign goals by the paper and print industries, and for that we apologize."

Toshiba reached out to the association earlier this week, and soon after it decided to suspend No-Print Day. The company has removed the campaign's online presence.

For now, Michael Makin, president and CEO of the Printing Industries of America, seems satisfied.

"Mr. Melo did commit to going back to the drawing board, and assured me the promotion on its website will be removed and that any re-launch of a campaign directed at office waste will explicitly explain that this in no way references the legitimate commercial printing industry and its importance to the American economy," Mr. Makin wrote in a letter to the association's members on Wednesday.

The ink is not yet dry on the story, as Toshiba has not announced the nature of its new campaign or if such a campaign will exist. For now at least, it hopes the two sides can get along.

"Toshiba America Business Solutions recognizes that printing and paper are necessities at the workplace and in our daily lives, and that the companies and employees of those industries make valuable contributions to society," Mr. Melo said in the statement.

businessnews

Elizabeth Bloom: ebloom@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1969. First Published June 23, 2012 12:00 AM


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