Direct Mail Making Efforts to Meet Environmental Concerns

The Direct Marketing industry is continuing to make efforts to improve its environmental track record through more efficient operations, accurate data targeting and use of recycled materials.

Direct mail in particular still receives occasional negative media coverage of the environmental impact of so called ‘junk mail’. Furthermore a recent survey by the Direct Marketing Association found that over a third of respondents believe that unpersonalised leaflets, coupons and direct mail were more harmful to the environment than newspapers and supplements.

Therefore a number of environmental initiatives have been put in place by the DM industry.

ISBA, Acxiom, the DMA and Royal Mail have worked with BSI British Standards to develop a new environmental standard for direct marketing called PAS 2020, which was launched in January 2009.

The DMA has also updated its DM Code of Practice which is a key component of the direct marketing industry’s self-regulatory framework. DMA members are required to adhere to the DM Code and for the first time the Code sets out guidelines concerning the use of data hygiene, making environmental claims in marketing materials, sourcing of sustainable paper, certification in environmental standards such as PAS 2020, adhering to a corporate environmental policy and using recycling messages on printed materials.

As yet it is unlikely that SME’s will have become motivated enough to adopt such practices as achieving PAS2020, yet they are likely to be receptive to simple and cost effective ways to make their activities more environmentally friendly.