Find Ways to Promote Your Inconvenient, Truthful Actions
Aside from the humdrum of what a tough time this is for so many multichannel marketers, the issue of environmentalism and sustainability has easily become the topic of the year. So we made an on-the-fly change in our editorial schedule and intend to devote the cover section of our June print issue to a special report on sustainability. (You heard it here first!) Having begun editing some of the articles for that edition, I’ve been trying to put this whole movement into some sort of perspective.
In the catalog business, the emergence of recycled paper dates back all the way to the beginning of the 1990s. Nearly 20 years later, and this is still a “trend” in the makings. Remarkable, isn’t it? Certainly there are plenty of catalogers who use recycled paper, recycled packaging materials and have had significant internal recycling programs for years. But all these years later, these practices are hardly widespread, though they’re getting there.
Environmentalism and the sustainability movement in this country and around the world have only recently sunk in among the masses. Major world events, Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and stiffer fines posed by trash and recycled materials collectors have all helped get the message in the face of the general public.
Catalogers/multichannel marketers have an erratic history of adapting to emerging trends. Your adaptation to the sustainability movement has probably been the slowest. Why? There’s no business benefit. Recycled paper has always cost more, and at the same time, catalogers have worried about the grainy paper’s negative effect on response.
Wait and See
But aside from the obvious — doing the right thing — a lot of catalogers are having trouble doing their part in this movement. It’s a tough year, money’s tight, many are struggling and it’s hardly the time to incur extra costs — even in the interest of saving the planet.