For Direct Marketers, Giving Back To The Planet Can Take Many Forms

To be published: March 2008 Multichannel Merchant Magazine

A growing number of direct marketers have taken notice of the DMA’s 2007 “Resolution Asserting Environment Leadership” and other efforts to raise public awareness about stewardship of our planet’s finite and renewable resources. Regretfully, some environmental groups, particularly those who love to criticize direct mail, are among the greatest offenders when it comes to” walking the green walk.”

For example, one of our nation’s leading environmental groups led the charge last year against direct marketers, decrying our industry’s “anti-environmental” practices. This same group sacrifices innumerable trees annually and spends beaucoup bucks on large scale mailings to its members and prospective donors.

To add insult to injury, they even have the audacity to criticize data sharing when their donor list has been on the market for years. They purportedly share “their names” with commercial mailers, which is akin to breaking bread with the enemy. They are shameless. So, is it OK for them to kill trees and monetize their donor information? They are fortunate to live in the United States of America, where you can still make money from direct mail and list management.

Encouraging mailers to rely more on recycled paper and less on old-growth forests is a good thing for marketers and the environment. Commentators have noted that consumers will pay a premium for goods that are manufactured from recycled products, and will favor visionary companies who embrace environmental stewardship as a good thing for people, critters, and our planet.

Direct marketing helps to reduce greenhouse gases because folks who respond to mail are not getting into their cars, trucks, or SUVs to shop. Paper is a renewable and recyclable resource. If you respond to mail or encourage others to do the same, you are doing your part to reduce carbon-based emissions and gasoline consumption, along with congestion on our streets and byways.

Public policy should foster direct marketing rather that de-legitimize our activities. According to the DMA, direct marketers facilitate billions of dollars in lawful commerce annually and create thousands of jobs, which is good for the economy and the air that we breathe.

At this juncture, the DMA should lobby Congress and our state legislatures for tax incentives and postal discounts so that more direct marketers will be compelled to “go green.”

It would be noteworthy if certain environmentally oriented mailers practiced what they preach. When environmental organizations wrongfully single out direct marketers, many of whom have voluntarily accepted recycled products and environmentally friendly practices, some of us believe they are “barking up the wrong tree.”


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Association of Fundraising Professionals
Direct Marketing Association – (National – List Leaders)
Direct Marketing Association Southern California (Charter member)
International Association Of Exhibitions and Events

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