As annoying as direct mail can be, it actually works pretty well. According to the United States Postal Service Web site, for every dollar invested in DM, $12 are earned. So making any changes to the platform in the name of the environment will be slow to come.
But a group of like-minded businesses have formed the Green Marketing Coalition. The group aims to reduce waste created by DM through simple guidelines, like employing chlorine-free recycled paper, checking proofs via PDF rather than comps and tax breaks.
From The New York Times: “The guidelines suggest adhering to higher waste disposal standards and choosing vendors that are committed to recycling. There is also support for ‘list hygiene’ — that is, cleaning out direct-mail lists to remove the names of dead people and others unlikely to respond.”
More after the jump.
The coalition was formed by direct marketer Hacker Group, a Seattle based company. They, along with Microsoft, Washington Mutual, OptimaHealth, Kawasaki and others seem determined to appear green at a time when eco-friendliness is the new black.
Real environmentalists say the coalition is a bit soft when it comes to setting goals, but concede that it’s better than nothing.
Again, from NYT: “‘It’s hard to argue against any well-intentioned effort to use more recycled paper, but the idea of greening junk mail is still a bit like putting lipstick on a pig,’ said Todd J. Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting forests.”
According to the USPS, only 2.4 percent of landfill waste is caused by direct marketing. Not kidding, they actually said “only.”