Green Direct Mail Is No Longer an Oxymoron
As an environmental advocate, DCI has developed a Web-to-print solution based upon XMPie's uStore to provide these services. The system enables the 200-plus U.S. dealers of long-time DCI client Norandex, a division of building material leader Saint-Gobain, to invite contractors to local training seminars on proper installation of its products.
Before uStore, DCI printed generic corporate shells for the seminar invitations. The shells were shipped and stored for eventual laser printing with seminar-specific information and then mailed to each recipient. With uStore, DCI provides an online site for Norandex branch managers to upload customer mailing lists, customize seminar mailers, print exactly the amount needed, and mail to recipients. This solution reduced printing, shipping and storage resources and expenses. The program has been a huge success, eliminating significant waste while increasing branch participation from 15 to 100 percent.
What's Behind the Curtain
True champions of sustainability also pay attention to their vendors' production processes and business practices, selecting the greenest providers as their preferred partners. And in printing, where traditional processes have long relied upon hazardous materials, non-toxic alternatives are available today for many production processes.
For example, many offset presses and most digital presses use volatile organic compound (VOC) solvents that require an eyewash station nearby and management of solvent waste drums. However, some digital presses use toners and containers that generate no hazardous waste.
Another consideration: some print providers optimize sustainability throughout their plants. For example, Parsippany, N.J.-based EarthColor, a full-service print provider, has an especially strong commitment to environmental sustainability. EarthColor participates in the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders Program, runs its facilities on 100 percent renewable wind power, and offers one of the only papers that uses carbon-neutral manufacturing and distribution processes, its own Earth Aware branded paper.
Direct marketing programs need to be performance-driven, but that does not necessarily contradict a commitment to an eco-friendly approach. Many green initiatives fit that requirement, and no doubt that's why more direct marketers are adopting them.