Special Report: Sustainability & the Environment
Environmental activists are encouraging the demise of catalogs by promoting the notion that consumers should opt out of receiving them and encouraging lawmakers to put do-not-mail legislation on the books at the state and federal levels. Their justification and, therefore, talking points center on the allegation that catalogs are killing trees, overwhelming landfills and wasting paper.
It’s time to aggressively counter their charges. We’re calling on all catalogers to step up and publicly declare that they’re responsible environmental stewards.
The catalog/multichannel community can’t sit by and let the success of one of the most beloved methods of direct marketing be tarnished by emotional appeals from those who have no stake in the success of responsible commerce and no handle on the facts. What follows are the key facts every cataloger needs to know.
But this article must not be viewed as your industry advocate standing on her high horse. So below those facts are 15 vital actions we must take in the face of this environmental adversity.
Catalogers are preserving American forests. Catalogers are meeting our need for paper by supporting the sustainability of forests. The amount of U.S. forestland today is actually about the same as it was in the early 1900s, despite our population tripling. The forest products industry in North America plants more trees than it harvests each year. And when you think about it, this is logical and should be apparent.
Catalogers are decreasing the amount of direct marketing materials that wind up in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a few years ago direct mail accounted for only 2.4 percent of the total municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. annually. Figures released earlier this year show this figure has decreased to 2.2 percent, and it’s likely to decline more as greater strides are made in paper recycling.