Easy Wins – Printing Green

Printing GreenWhilst the marketing mix has gone through substantial changes in recent years, with the focus being on the web and social media, direct marketing and direct mail still plays an important role in communicating the values and opinion of brands and businesses. In fact, research by the International Advertising Bureau shows that direct marketing still accounts for 10% of marketing spend.

Even the greenest of businesses still use direct mail, as sometimes there just isn’t a substitute for the tactile and personal experience of a well judged direct mail experience. In a recent survey from paper manufacturer Arjowiggins Graphic, this view was reinforced with 75% of respondents saying paper was an important means of external communication for their organisation.

It may seem contradictory to mention ‘printing’ and ‘green’ in the same sentence, but there are ways for organisations to massively decrease their environmental impact with just a small degree of change. Better yet, environmental consideration can improve the relevance and therefore success of a direct mail campaign. Simply put, going green makes business sense.

Reducing cost by thinking green

Environmental impact can be reduced well before a direct mailing is sent. By investing time into making sure you have up-to-date and non-duplicated mailings lists means you will not need to produce as much direct mail in the first place! It also helps to ‘green’ the supply chain, with the postal service not having to deal with as much undeliverable mail which will only end up being thrown away.

It’s also beneficial to ensure the mailings are as targeted and personal as possible.  Not only does this improve response rates, consequently less mail will be thrown in the bin.

Choosing a supplier

First thoughts should be to choose local. Not only does this benefit the local area as a whole, but the reduced travel costs lower the environmental impact through the supply chain. Better yet, choose a local supplier that has the same ethos! This could form the start of a Procurement section which would sit neatly within an Environmental Policy.

 Examples of what you can include in the section are:

  • Creation of a ‘Green Questionnaire’ to evaluate potential suppliers
  • Commitment to consider printers with green credentials such as FSC and PEFC ‘Chain of Custody’ certification, ISO 14001 environmental management certification or compliant to the PAS 2020 direct mail specification.
  • Commitment to using environmentally friendly printers (recycled paper and eco-friendly inks)
  • Encourage environmentally friendly communication (e.g. use of email and PDFs instead of invoice letters)

Once a policy like this is in place, it’s then important that everyone knows the organisation’s stance when it comes to procurement. After all, the same philosophy could be applied to any supplier.

This article was written by The British Assessment Bureau, an ISO 14001 certification body.

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