Sustainability in Print Marketing: Paper or Pixel?

Many businesses have embraced environmental performance within their business practices, but there’s more to it than printing documents with giant "please recycle” logos. Reducing your carbon footprint can help reduce operational costs as well as improve your reputation with eco-conscious audiences. As a result, bringing environmental stewardship to marketing has become a brand component.

At Newark Trade, we believe each sustainability effort should be founded in authenticity. Like in every other area, audiences are more sophisticated and more skeptical than they have been in years. “Greenwashing”, the practice of metaphorically applying a thick coat of green-seeming brand paint on a program can be spotted on sight. Businesses that take the green claims route need to document their findings and offer evidence.

Debunking the Print Marketing Myth

One such area we have observed is the attack on tangible marketing pieces and direct mail as being unfriendly to the environment and that a certain product or service would solve that by eliminating marketing. That is simply not justified since paper can be recycled and the marketing community is highly aware of the need to ensure they protect environmental resources. As any multi-channel marketer knows, this isn’t an “either/or” scenario. In fact, there is greater coverage to deliver your message when you opt to use both print and digital platforms.

In order to be responsible in multichannel environments, marketers should make responsible sourcing decisions in both their print and digital marketing. For example, are paper products purchased from sustainable forestry certified sources? Or does the energy that runs the heavy equipment come from renewable sources?

What to Expect Next

Predictably, the bottom line will continue to be the most motivating factor as business executives ask, “Are we saving the environment or are we saving money?” After all, the payoff for eliminating waste and being more efficient may vary over time. The driving force for a change in environmental stewardship, understandably, often points back to businesses embracing performance as a bottom-line factor—greater efficiency, less cost, and positioned as a competitive opportunity.


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