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Chet Dalzell

Marketing Sustainably

By Chet Dalzell

About Chet

Marketing Sustainably: What's Going on Beyond and Beneath the Green? A blog posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing.

Chet Dalzell has 25 years of public relations management and expertise in service to leading brands in consumer, donor, patient and business-to-business markets, and in the field of direct marketing. He serves on the Direct Marketing Association Committee on the Environment and Social Responsibility, where he is currently chairman of the Committee's Marketing & Communications Public Outreach Strategy Working Group (2005-present).

Chet co-developed the first professional certificate program in environmentally responsible marketing within the United States. He also served on the United States Postal Service Greening the Mail Task Force (2007-2010), and led its Life Cycle of Mail Subcommittee.

Email Chet below, or reach him at Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
McKinsey Thinks Bland, Generic Loyalty Programs Are Killing Business – And They May Be Right!
Apr 23, 2014

A recent Forbes article by McKinsey, "Making Loyalty Pay: Six Lessons From the Innovators," showed loyalty program participation has steadily...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
Chicken or the Egg? Data or Analytics?
Apr 23, 2014

I just saw an online discussion about the role of a chief data officer, whether it should be more about...



The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
I Am the Judge of You
Apr 11, 2014

Pointing the finger has never been so easy ... and so anonymous. I suppose it's human nature to feel (and...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
The Terms of Your Terms of Service
Apr 21, 2014

Most of us have a terms of service document on our websites, even if they're mostly contained within our privacy...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
Are Autoresponders Killing Email Marketing?
Apr 16, 2014

Two events in the same week have triggered an email unsubscribe flurry on my behalf. First, a change in my...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
LinkedIn Profile Makeover for Sellers
Apr 18, 2014

Are you appealing to emotional and tangible desires of buyers on your LinkedIn profile—in ways they cannot resist acting on?...



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
What Are You Measuring and Why?
Apr 9, 2014

An account manager working on a pharmaceutical brand once asked me, "How should we code the various opt-in vehicles to...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
Verbify! Verbify! Verbify!
Apr 9, 2014

What's your brand verb? Yes, you read that right ... verb. Each and every day great brands are energized by...



Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

Ruth P.  Stevens
How Many Leads Do You Need?
Apr 4, 2014

One key to successful B-to-B lead generation programs is to calculate exactly the right number of qualified leads to provide...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
7 Magic Ways to Maximize Otherwise Boring Fulfillment and Collateral Pieces for Profit
Aug 7, 2013

Sure, fulfillment and inserts aren't as sexy as other forms of marketing, but they can be viable ways to bring...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



Who's Your Data?

Rio Longacre
Instagram: Does It Matter That It Will Make Money on Your Pics?
Dec 19, 2012

Instagram announced the company will soon begin using your content to sell targeted advertising products to the highest bidder. Does...



The Whole Magilla

Ken Magill
What Marketers Can Learn From Maine's Political Email Idiocy
Feb 24, 2012

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted...



Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch
The Internet Can Make You a Chump—Forever!
Sep 25, 2010

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



'Go Green, Go Paperless?' FTC Issues Green Guides—and Lack of Substantiation Gets Targeted

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Marketers who have been counting the days, months, even years, for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to finalize its latest version of the "Green Guides" (formally, Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims) for making environmental marketing claims must wait no more. (The Guides were established in 1992, and they most recently were updated in 1998.)

The revised guides are 36 pages slim: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/10/greenguides.pdf

Perhaps it was the 5,000 public comments—340 of them unique—that the FTC received. Perhaps it was the upcoming Election and the pressure building to put the claims guidance in the public domain, particularly since the public comment period closed nearly two years ago. Needless to say, the Guides are useful in that they provide both timely counsel and marketplace examples on many terms and claims, such as "recycled content," "recyclable" and "degradable."

The newest version of the Guides breaks new ground in six areas: 1) certifications and seals of approval, 2) carbon offsets, 3) "free-of" claims, 4) "non-toxic" claims, 5) "made with renewable energy" claims, and 6) "made with renewable materials" claims. The Guides also clarify previous guidance on terms such as "compostable," "ozone," "recyclable," "recycled content," and source reduction claims, as well as general environmental friendliness claims.

Two noteworthy items are:

  • Any unqualified claims of degradation must have it that the labeled product or packaging would degrade were it to be placed in a landfill in one year's time—no more.
  • Any unqualified claims of environmentally friendliness or eco-friendliness are not encouraged—since very few products can meet consumer expectations in all aspects of their environmental impact. However, a qualified comment that focuses consumers on the specific advertised benefit is welcomed.
One can hope that the latter might serve to halt banks, utilities and others that make "go green, go paperless" claims that adorn so many monthly mailed statements, without any type of substantiation offered behind such questionable messaging. It would have been nice to see a clear example in the Guides regarding this specific area, given this claim's wide use, and given the energy consumed by data centers, the growing problem of electronic waste, the rise of sustainable forestry and the predominance of responsible forest management practices in North America and Europe. Still, the FTC was clear in its direction regarding such general claims:

"Unqualified general environmental benefit claims are difficult to interpret and likely convey a wide range of meanings. In many cases, such claims likely convey that the product, package, or service has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits and may convey that the item or service has no negative environmental impact. Because it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims, marketers should not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims."

In the same light, I'm not making the claim that paper is preferable to digital. Let's be honest: most marketers are multichannel today. Most direct mail is data-driven, and is also dependent on data centers. And a life cycle analysis of a direct mail piece and a comparable digital message has not yet been achieved, head to head, as far as I know. Not that that matters. What does matter is that marketers who make any environmental claims need to have substantiation of such claims available to consumers to inspect.

Marketers who want to read up on the new Green Guides in brief may do so here, in this handy summary the FTC has created: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/10/greenguidessummary.pdf

Previous commentary on "Go Green, Go Digital" from the Marketing Sustainability blog is offered here: http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/blog/making-green-claim-not-waiting-ftc-green-guides

Additionally, here's reporting on of the revised Guides as they apply to the use of carbon offset claims: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/10/02/ftcs-revised-green-guides-target-carbon-offset-claims/

I welcome hearing about your observations from the newly revised Guides.

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