Pitney Bowes, the postage meter company, has published its Direct Mail Survey for 2007. One interesting conclusion of the 2007 survey, as reported in the Pitney Bowes "DMNews" is that:
...consumers greatly overestimate the environmental impact of direct mail, a fact that likely colors attitudes toward the medium. Nonetheless, the survey shows that people enjoy their mail and do not want to stop receiving it — even if doing so were to benefit the environment — and that they are open to industry efforts to police itself.
Do we really overestimate? Are we focused on trivial matters and thus overlooking the big factors? Hold that question for a bit.
Based on the survey report, what advocacy strategy might direct mailers take to keep those voluntary actions in play? You guessed it. It's the "Big Actions" thing. Paul Robbertz, VP of environmental health and safety at Pitney Bowes went the 'if only we could make them understand' route.
"There is an opportunity there for further education and to make people understand that if we're going to take the energy to make the largest [environmental] improvements, to get the most bang for our buck, mail is not the first place [they should] look."
One the positive side, the idea of of planting a tree to make up for the one cut for Direct Mail surfaces as a strategy the DM industry wants to emphasize.
Staying out of the old growth timber also gets notice. Which means relying more on FSC certification, right? That would be a powerful driver of change in the forest products supply chain. We hope they go for it.
Chief among the actions taken by environmentally minded marketers is committing to staying out of old-growth or endangered forests, using a minimum percentage of recycled paper in their catalogs and opposing "conversion," by which forests are converted into plantations.
On balance, though, the DM survey looks as if it will lead to positive outcomes for the DM industry and for the trees.
Worth your time to download and read on screen - saving a tree you know.
Via::MediaBuyerPlanner, "Consumers Think DM Waste Hurts Environment Worse than It Does" Image credit::DM Survey, 2007.