Don’t Become a Target for Protesters
- your paper suppliers,
- environmental groups,
- trade associations,
- companies experienced in environmental issues, and
- other members of your supply chain, including printers.
Suppliers in general appreciate clearly worded policies and get frustrated by vague or unreasonable plans. In the past, paper suppliers sometimes faced a barrage of differing pressures from environmental groups with single-issue interests, and from customers who were well-intentioned but often ill-informed. Many suppliers such as printers and pulp manufacturers also are entrenched in competitive industries saddled with enormous, fixed infrastructures.
When you talk with your paper suppliers, get a clear understanding of the source of the fiber that goes into your paper. Questions to ask:
- How much recycled fiber does the paper contain?
- Does the virgin fiber come from any ecologically sensitive or controversial areas?
- Are the forest practices on the lands from where the paper comes certified to a sustainable forestry standard? If so, which one?
Broaden the purpose of your supplier outreach to incorporate ways to save money while at the same time improving your environmental performance. You’ll find there are many ways to achieve both of these objectives, including using lighter-weight paper, switching grades and trimming more efficiently.
Environmental groups can be excellent resources for paper buyers who genuinely want to do the right thing. They, like direct marketers, are a diverse lot. Some are very sophisticated, while others are perceived as unfriendly to business. Our experience is that, in addition to possessing a wealth of environmental expertise, many environmental groups have a deep understanding of business concerns (e.g., response rate impacts) and a reasonable tolerance for trade-offs that must be part of any cataloger’s decision. So the bottom line is: Don’t be afraid to talk with them. But before you pick up the phone, consider which organizations may resonate best with your brand and customers.