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Direct mail companies go green(er)? Say it isn’t so, Green Marketing Coalition!

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Courtesy of Green Printer

This week, greenwash fatigued bloggers (Gawker describes it as improbable a real news item as 'the hot dog industry going vegetarian') and non-profit spokespersons turned a skeptical eye on a group of direct marketing companies called the Green Marketing Coalition (GMC). Corporate clients, including Microsoft, Washington Mutual and OptimaHealth, are also in on the initiative.

GMC's goal? Altruistic enough. According to the New York Times article 'Direct marketing goes green. No, really', these marketers are joining hands and taking small, albeit very conservative, steps to make an inherently unsustainable practice (i.e. sending wads of personal junk mail) at least a little bit greener. We have already written about junk mail solutions and naughty, catalogue-sending companies before and so we were curious about what best practices the industry funded group came up with.

So far, the coalitions's guidelines include:

* use chlorine-free recycled paper
* proofread marketing materials using Adobe PDF files rather than hard copies
* take advantages of tax benefits that come from certain green initiative
* sticking to higher waste disposal standards
* choosing vendors that are committed to recycling
* support for “list hygiene” — that is , cleaning out direct-mail lists of dead consumers (thank you Wall Street Journal for hitting this issue on the head) and people unlikely to respond to 'you've been pre-approved for a gold card' postcard (hats off to Jossip)

It's a decent start, but can't they sink a little more teeth, concrete timelines or real specificity for progress into their guidelines? That's what Michael J. Brune, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, faults the initiative for: a lack of boldness.

On the flip side, says Daniel Lenhart, facilities supervisor for Kawasaki Motorsothers and a founding member of the coalition, 'you don't want to scare companies away from joining because they fear some stringent regulation.'

Some alternatives to the Green Marketing Coalition:

1. Do It Green has the numbers and addresses to call to stop junk mail.

2. Green Living Ideas has an even more centralised method of cutting out those 'you've been pre-authorized for a gold card' offers.

3. Heck, some organizations, like Green Dimes will even pay you to get rid of your junk mail.

4. And, last but not least, the Red Dot Campaign takes action -- and educates --- on the issue.

Green Printer’s eco-calculator, with sources from the Environmental Defense Fund, helps customers like Best-Western, ReMax, Lush and Aveda go - and stay - green. Green Printer carries attractive, eco-friendly and affordable recycled paper.

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