Problem: Officials at Modern Farm and Cody Mercantile catalogs wanted to incorporate environmental initiatives into their business practices.
Solution: They methodically introduced more ecologically sound products, and carefully selected appropriate vendors and partners.
Results: Environmentally sensitive products are registering increasing sales. And catalog managers rest assured they’re moving further toward sound ecological stewardship.
In the past few years The Direct Marketing Association has been calling upon the direct mail and catalog industries to pay particular attention to their impact on the environment. Officials at Modern Farm and Cody Mercantile catalogs offer a good example of how to turn ecological sensitivity into a business practice — without transforming a company into a poster child for the movement.
John Forgit, manager of the Cody, Wyo.-based Modern Farm catalog (merchant of farming and gardening products) and Cody Mercantile (kitchen, yard and garden products, gifts, toys, and home décor), has no set environmental policy in place.
Rather, Forgit slowly has instituted merchandising, print and production practices that, in the aggregate, make the company more environmentally sensitive. Here’s how he has done it.
When the catalogs’ merchants are faced with two similar products and one is more ecologically sound, they’re asked to select that one. Its bat house offering is a good example: The company that makes the houses fashions them out of remnant wood it purchases from a cedar furniture manufacturing plant.
“The remnants would have otherwise been burned or sent to a landfill,” Forgit notes.
The cataloger also sells many all-natural personal care products and leather creams, as well as non-electric appliances and toys, including a solar-powered toy race car.
Finding such items isn’t as difficult as you’d think, Forgit says. Since word has gotten out that Modern Farm and Cody Mercantile are buying such items, vendors have been approaching them with ecological options.