I am often asked whether it is environmentally preferable to advertise on line or through direct mail. As posted previously. it is really difficult to make comparisons across different communications platforms. Clearly both means have an environmental impact, but the impacts of electronic devices are very different than those associated with print and paper. So my general response is to encourage people to use print communications responsibly.
To that end, the Direct Marketing Association has created a great list of 15 tenets for environmentally responsible practices.
The Green Fifteen
1. Honor customer choice about receipt of mail by:
- Maintaining in-house do-not-market lists.
- Using the Mail Preference Service (MPS) monthly for prospect mail.
- Providing customers with a point of contact to exercise their choice.
2. Reduce misdirected and undeliverable mail by using USPS or commercially equivalent files.
3. Merge/purge and eliminate duplicate mailings.
4. Target those who are most likely to respond by applying predictive models and segmentation.
5. Review your direct mail pieces and packages, and test downsized pieces when and where appropriate.
6. Ask your suppliers to submit alternate solutions for environmentally friendly mail pieces and packaging.
7. Test and use production methods that reduce print order overruns, waste allowances and in-process waste.
8. Increase your wood purchases from recognized forest certification programs.
9. Require paper suppliers to make a commitment to implementing sustainable forestry practices that protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
10. Ask paper suppliers about the source of the paper to avoid paper made from unsustainable or illegally managed forests.
11. Require paper suppliers to document that they do not produce paper from illegally harvested or stolen wood.
12. Purchase more office papers, packing and packaging materials made from recycled materials with post consumer content.
13. Integrate use of electronic communications for external and internal communications.
14. Avoid “greenwashing” – ensure your environmental labels and messaging are clear, honest and complete.
15. Encourage consumers to recycle your materials by participating in and using the DMA’s Recycle Please logo on all your materials and consumer communications.