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How To Be an Environmentally Conscious Marketer

Globally, the generational shift in consumers is driving massive changes in buying decisions. As Millennials and Gen Z represent a larger percentage of the world's population, their values are increasingly obvious in their purchases. Sustainability is taking more and more of a lead when "value drivers"—the traits of a product that influence purchases—are considered. In fact, 85% of consumers make purchases with environmental impact in mind.

This is true not only for end-use products, but also shows in customers' expectations for companies that do not sell products directly. They expect all companies, even service providers, to follow environmentally friendly practices and make purchases with sustainability in mind.

Believe it or not, the printing industry has become a relatively environmentally friendly one. Our favorite topic—planning your print jobs in advance—is a key tool to reduce waste. When we have as much information as possible at the beginning of a project, we can prepare space-efficient layouts that reduce paper waste. We can also schedule print runs to reduce color changes and cleanup between jobs.

Besides planning job specifications, there are bigger choices you can make that impact the environment. Read on for ways your marketing department can bolster your company's sustainability efforts!

 

Practice Good List Hygiene

The rise of marketing automation has made personalization as simple as a click of a button. But as automated systems replace manual labor, there are also fewer checkpoints to catch errors. If there is an incorrect piece of data, say a zip code, it could render a piece of mail undeliverable.

The best course of action is twofold. First, make sure your data entry practices are defined and redundant so that someone is checking each new entry for errors. Second, ask your account representative to run your mailing list through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database BEFORE you send your job to press. This way, if you have incorrect addresses, you can remove them and avoid printing additional copies that will go to waste. (You'll also save yourself postage on undeliverable mail!)

 

Choose Paper Over Plastic

Marketers can also be Earth-friendly simply by choosing paper and cardboard packaging over plastic. Plastic recycling is down in the United States, falling between 5-6% in 2021. This is down from 8.7% in 2018, and likely due to increased plastic waste being generated.

Yes, paper products require deforestation and processing, accounting for 14% of deforestation globally. But companies like Vomela take part in programs designed to ensure materials come from sustainable sources.

The first program we participate in is the SFI Forest Management Standard. This program requires sustainable harvesting practices, the protection of animal habitats, and maintaining safe water quality. More than 285 million acres of land are currently certified within the United States and Canada by SFI.

The other certification program we support is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is a nonprofit with high standards ensuring Earth-friendly forestry practices. Our paper is labeled as "FSC Certified," meaning the wood used in the products as well as the manufacturing process met FSC standards. This program is the “gold standard” designation for sustainably harvested wood, and we are proud to purchase FSC products.

 

Choose Earth-friendly Inks

Traditional printing inks use petroleum, which is made from nonrenewable resources. These inks also contain a high percentage of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are harmful to the environment, and some are even known carcinogens.

So what's the solution? For litho printing, soy- and vegetable-based inks can reduce VOC content by as much as 80 percent. Made from soybean oil and linseed oil respectively, we use these inks whenever possible to reduce environmental impact and increase sustainability. Ask your account representative about using alternative inks!

What other practices are you following to make sure your marketing is sustainable? Tell us in the comments!

 

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