Environmental Sustainability

We Can Do Better
May 1, 2004

Lately, I’ve been sensing a trend developing that may soon envelope the catalog industry. It’s not a new issue, but one that has, for various reasons, been put on the back burner by the public in recent years. I’m seeing a renewed consciousness among Americans about ecological issues. Here are some of the signs: In March, the City of Boston began a promotional program to compel city residents to recycle more magazines and catalogs. And ForestEthics, a San Francisco-based environmental group, has started advocating that the catalog industry use more recycled paper. Good environmental advocacy, however, looks beyond just paper usage. A study

Under the Canopy: Organix Style with Soul
September 1, 2003

Under the Canopy’s corporate mission is to offer stylish consumers a way to help eliminate pesticides from their homes, their bodies and the planet. Its corporate history, however, demonstrates that even merchants with timely and unique ideas such as this can get temporarily blindsided by business variables beyond their control. This Boca Raton, FL-based catalog sells high-quality, fashion-forward apparel, bed and bath ware, gifts, footwear and accessories made of organic fiber grown without the use of toxic chemicals. But the company almost didn’t make it out of the start-up phase. A fulfillment fiasco threatened to sideline the business early in its development.

The Debate: Using Recycled Paper in Catalogs
January 1, 2003

Enough wood to make a 6-foot fence stretching across the United States seven times, or to make copy paper for 18.2 million people. That’s how much the entire catalog industry could save if it used paper composed of just 10-percent postconsumer recycled content, according to experts. A study by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation (the Alliance), a project of Environmental Defense, a nonprofit organization, revealed that despite such potential environmental savings, most catalogers instead print their pages on virgin (non-recycled) paper. Several industry experts largely attribute catalogers’ resistance to using recycled paper to concern about cost and possible decrease in sales. “It’s

The New Focus: Corporate Citizenship
October 1, 2002

Perhaps it’s the image of CEOs and CFOs being led away in handcuffs, or the new corporate fraud bill hastily signed into law during the summer, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about corporate responsibility. And apparently I’m not alone. Two reports on the topic recently crossed my desk. A study from The Conference Board found that more and more company executives are accepting corporate responsibility as a new strategic and managerial function—complete with bottom-line repercussions—that requires their attention. The other report, this one a Jericho Communications survey of 264 Fortune 1000 CEOs, found that 36 percent of respondents said

What a Difference a Year Makes
September 1, 2002

As I sit down in mid-August to write this edition of Editor’s Notes, I’m thinking back to last August, specifically to a time before terrorists forever altered our sense of tranquility. Now I’m not one to wax poetic, but I am remembering fondly the days when TV show “survivors” were top of mind instead of all-too-real Middle Eastern terrorist cells and ominous-sounding security measures here at home. I was in New York City recently, and I paid my respects at Ground Zero. The swift clean-up operation going on there is a true testament to our nation’s “can do” attitude. As I stood there

Norm Thompson: Commerce With a Conscience
January 1, 2002

There was a time when corporate executives who wanted to establish sound environmental practices also had to resign themselves to reduced profitability. The thinking was: You could institute terrific environmental initiatives or you could make healthy profits. But you couldn’t have both. Not anymore. In an age when every CEO is looking to boost profits and position his or her company for future growth, environmental sustainability programs deserve greater study—now more than ever. “It’s only a matter of time before we Americans truly begin to understand that one of the reasons other nations dislike us is because we take more than our share of