RE: The special report “Sustainability & the Environment,” (June 2008 issue, pg. 14). I was very pleased to see your issue devoted to the catalog industry’s response to environmental issues. It’s critical that we educate the public and legislators regarding the green benefits of catalog/direct sales over traditional store retailing.
In June, I attended the American Catalog Mailers Association’s (ACMA) National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum in Washington, D.C., which proved to be one of the most valuable events I’ve ever attended. There was a consensus among those attending that we are locked in a battle, fighting “do-not-mail” legislation that could cripple our industry.
As your feature article pointed out, the DMA has taken the position that Catalog Choice is not needed given the DMA’s own “Do Not Mail” preference services. I no longer believe this position is in the industry’s best interest, and we should support Catalog Choice as a defense against unwanted legislation. While the DMA’s mail preference service is the industry’s own internal answer, Catalog Choice represents a solid answer to those that are distrustful of an industry-managed program.
Catalog Choice is a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. It’s endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and funded by the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund and the Kendeda Fund. It’s a responsible organization and not associated with the more radical ecology groups.
We hadn’t previously recommended that our clients join Catalog Choice for several reasons. First, we wanted to see if it would have staying power and become the dominant provider of this service. At this point, Catalog Choice has almost 1 million registered accounts, and registrations are growing by the thousands each week. Second, we had major concerns about suppressing housefile names that may have registered to not receive a mailing, since mailing buyers is critical to catalog business success.