The Green Prospects
Package composition, literally, now matters
“How a package is composed, literally, is increasingly important to many consumers,” affirms Patricia Kachura, DMA’s senior vice president for corporate responsibility. She says environmentally conscious consumers are taking into account the entire composition and life cycle of the promotion, product and package, from the procurement of materials (does it support well-managed forests by asking for certified paper?), design and production (does it minimize product needed by using lighter basis weight materials, recycled content, soy-based inks?), printing (mill efficiency, emissions) and packaging and transportation/shipping (carbon footprint).
Kachura bolsters her argument with a global study just released by Edelman, which provides even more staggering statistics — 85 percent of consumers worldwide are willing to switch brands or purchasing habits to make tomorrow a better place; 92 percent labeled “protecting the environment” as their top concern; and 73 percent said they were prepared to pay more for environmentally conscious products.
Avoiding waste, more often than not, is avoiding cost. “There is always something you can do in the piece to lessen the impact and consume fewer resources,” says Brophy, who says one of the strengths of the environmental planning tool is that it creates a new conversation in house and requires different departments to work together.
“Branding and corporate responsibility have taken a long time to get down to the marketing people, including those who are doing direct mail,” remarks Dick Goldsmith, chairman of The Horah Group, a full-service direct marketing agency based in Pleasantville, N.Y. He says some marketers are concerned about the environment, but unless they’re told by a corporate policy to do something about it, they aren’t going to.
Responsible mail for responsible customers
While the greening of a mail package may or may not sway the consumer today, it may in the future. It shows the company’s overt or subtle commitment to the environment, and may nudge that consumer toward the buy, the donation, etc.