Everything is turning green, not from envy but for the environment—and, make no mistake, for business. The environmental movement has gathered steam in recent years not just because of genuine concern for what’s growing or deteriorating on and around the earth—global warming, water and air pollution, peak oil—but also because savvy businesses have very recently created a “win-win” scenario, helping the environment and their businesses with new policies, manufacturing processes and materials, to name a few.
The direct mail industry has similarly warmed to the big idea and has begun the big conversion. The Direct Marketing Association leads the way, encouraging its members to clean their lists, reduce carbon output with their design and printing, encourage recycling and reduce pollution among themselves and their customers, and step up their usage of alternative, environmental materials when producing the millions of direct mail pieces.
After all, in direct mail, it begins and ends with the mail piece. “There is always something you can do—in the piece, in that package, in that campaign—to lessen the impact and consume fewer resources,” asserts Meta Brophy, director of publishing operations at Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports in Yonkers, N.Y.
Here are three ways to begin the green mail piece transformation.
#1 Join the Resolution
In such a burgeoning movement, it’s easy for direct mailers to get confused. Fortunately, the DMA helps wipe away that confusion, and indecision, with two significant resource materials. First is “The DMA Environmental Resource for Direct Marketers,” updated in 2004 and available for download from its Web site (www.the-dma.org/environmentguide/ ). “If you want to educate yourself on what’s happening and what’s being discussed and what the issues are, the appendix in that book will give you endless armchair resources,” says Brophy, who was part of an action committee that helped produce the book.