Yet there are many negative images of environmental destruction that some prospects associate with direct mail campaigns, including trees being used, landfills and mailboxes being overstuffed with them, and a massive carbon footprint. But it no longer has to be like that, both in the public image and in reality. It's up to companies and nonprofits that populate the mailstream to get it right—including responsible envelope manufacturing.
"Let's start with a few assumptions: Direct mail still works. The primary goal of direct mail marketing is ROI (increased sales), and we want to be good stewards of our natural resources," states Coho, whose company uses biodegradable polypropylene for many of its innovative outers. He personally has witnessed "environmental consumers" skyrocket in numbers in the past few years and predicts that moms, the gatekeepers of the household, will become greener as they understand how the environment affects their families.
The founder and CEO of ecoEnvelopes—a manufacturer of reusable envelopes—Ann DeLaVergne, similarly has witnessed this green transformation while her company correspondingly grew in size and success. "With the kind of raised consciousness of the world about the state of the environment, it's logical that new products are going to be sought and replace old methods of doing things. As the world becomes more aware, with people realizing that the air is getting worse, the water is getting worse, we can't keep this up. When that awakening happens, and it's happening with climate change, people are going to seek products that do good things and reduce our impact," she describes.
2. Change the Envelope Image
Because it's renewable, sustainable and a natural fiber, DeLaVergne doesn't think paper is a major environmental problem. And she thinks prospects will begin to see it that way as well. "For example, I can take envelopes in my office and put them into my organic garden, and they will decompose. I can't do that with my cell phone. You start to analyze: Where are the real impacts to our environment? I don't think paper will be on top of that list," she asserts.