Submitted: The Two Sides Team August 31, 2012
Many business owners who have made initiatives to go green over the years have frowned upon direct mail because of the materials involved with this advertising medium.
Many business owners who have made initiatives to go green over the years have frowned upon direct mail because of the materials involved with this advertising medium. What many do not know is that mailing services and paper companies have long since taken action to keep our ozone from depleting. Here we discuss current green practices related to direct mail that is actually helping our planet improve.
The recent years have brought much debate as weather fluctuations and climate changes stir concerns of global warming. Whether or not global warming is in fact a truth, there has been a recognizable need to conserve our planets resources and reduce energy expenditure. Many corporations set goals of being paperless striving to follow green values but those companies are also unaware of the processes taking place behind the scenes. Printing and paper companies are just aware as everyone else of green initiatives, and rather than being reactive, they long ago put strategies in place to make the EPA smile.
Every day in the US there are 4 million trees planted and of those 4 million the paper/wood industries are responsible for 1.7 million according to the USDA forest service. That number does not include the millions of trees stimulating from natural regeneration of seedlings. The FAO of the United Nations has found that the forest cover for US and Canada has remained virtually unchanged from 1990 to 2005. Simply put the more paper needed the more trees are planted. Many people may say trees cannot grow as quickly as we cut them down but the Forest Products Association of Canada found that less than one half of one percent of Canadas forest land is harvested annually. It is blatantly apparent that there is more than enough time for trees to grow back before they are harvested again.
Paper is truly a sustainable product. The Society of America Foresters found that in the United States, the total carbon sequestered by forests and the creation of wood products during the 1990s reached almost 200 megatons per year around 10 percent of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. They also found that for every ton of wood a forest produces, it removes 1.47 tons of CO2 from the airand replaces it with 1.07 ton of oxygen. This means that some respects of paper production actually has a highly positive impact on environment and are improving the planet.
Companies are also finding ways to optimize their direct mail so that it leaves as small a carbon footprint as possible. Sprint is now using two way eco-Envelopes in which bills can be sent in the same envelope they were received. At 65 million customers they estimated that this would save just under a half million dollars in operational costs. Other companies are packaging deals with other offers like bills that cut material use. Paper is also one of the most highly recycled materials out there. According to the American Forest & Paper Association more than 64% of all paper used was recovered for recycling.
While it does not have the same carbon footprint email does, direct mail is a much a greener medium than many previously believed due to current paper development processes and intelligent sending. In some respects physical will always have more of an impact than other marketing channels but there are no digital agencies planting millions of trees daily either.
What green initiatives is your company taking?