Production Ways to Go Green
What follows is by no means a comprehensive list of what you can do to improve your environmental footprint, but like any other journey, it all begins with those first few steps.
Assess the Situation
To develop an effective environmental policy, you must first assess where your biggest impacts on the environment are, asserts Carolyn Beem, manager of environmental and government affairs for L.L. Bean, a catalog company based in Freeport, Maine. "You can't improve what you can't measure," she stresses.
This appraisal should involve an in-depth look at not only your own business practices, but those of your vendors as well. It would be wise, advises Goldsmith, to appoint someone within your organization to head up this assessment and all subsequent initiatives, and communicate your policies, goals and progress to the rest of the company on a regular basis to ensure its full support.
Then, set realistic and actionable goals so you can assess your programs and communicate your progress to consumers, vendors, shareholders and other outside sources. For example, the AF&PA has set a goal of improving U.S. paper recovery rates to 55 percent by 2012. UPS has joined the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Program, which hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 72 million tons by 2012. And by 2006, Time Inc. plans to have 80 percent of its paper purchases come from third-party certified sustainable forests.
The single most important thing you can do to improve your environmental impact, asserts Goldsmith, is reduce the amount of material you use for your direct mail campaigns. "If you can reduce, there's less that you have to worry about reusing or recycling." And the most efficient way to reduce is to mind your lists.
Start by developing a solid list hygiene plan. Run all lists through such cleansers as NCOALink, LACS, DSF2, and against any suppression lists available to you, such as the DMA's do-not-mail file. And, make sure you perform a good merge/purge on rented lists. This may seem basic, but so many people really are not doing it, contends Goldsmith.