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Environmental Stewardship

EMSA and the Environment

Our industry takes very seriously our environmental stewardship and fully supports the Mail Preference Service and Royal Mail’s Door-to-Door Opt Out service also the Direct Marketing Association’s Your Choice’ scheme.  EMSA took an active role in the development of PAS2020:2009 Direct Marketing –Environmental Performance Standard which was published in January 2009. 

Even in today’s digital age we still enjoy the mail experience the ability to read and digest information anywhere in your home or business which simply can’t be achieved by using electronic alternatives. Both paper-based & electronic communication have a role to play and can compliment each other.

In recent years, however, paper has been the target of environmental criticism. The benefits of paper based communication are lost by the mass of misleading information given by some people. Shrinking forests, excessive energy consumption, and overflowing landfill sites are but a few of the charges laid at mails door. All leading the listener to the conclusion paper is bad. It isn’t and paper doesn’t have to cost the earth. Paper is one of the few truly renewable and recyclable raw materials we have.

Paper Facts

In managed forests, for every tree cut down, three to four are replanted in its place. It’s estimated that there are 25% more trees in the developed world today than there were in 1901.

In Europe alone, forests are increasing annually by an area equivalent to more than 1.5 million football pitches.

Deforestation is generally occurring in the tropics but for a variety of reasons. The main cause of deforestation is either for agriculture or for domestic fuel requirements.

For every tree that is logged in managed forests, three to four trees are replanted. And as young trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a wood product, paper also continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime. Growing forests absorb carbon dioxide helping to counter the Greenhouse Effect.

On average it takes 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity to produce 200kg of paper, the average amount of paper that each of us consume each year.

Does 500 Kilowatt-hours sound a lot? It's the equivalent to:

• Burning a 60w light bulb continuously for one year

• The energy consumed by a typical household leaving its electronic equipment on stand-by for a year. Paper & the Environment, ATS Consulting August 2007

Myth: Reducing Paper will save trees. Trees are harvested for the high-value clear wood used in other industries such as construction and furniture making. The raw fibrous materials used for paper-making in Europe, on average include:

• 50% of fibre from recovered paper.

• 50% new or virgin fibre, most of which is a by product which may be potentially wasted: 13% comes from wood chips, saw dust and the tops of the harvested trees which are generally unmarketable.

• 20-25% comes from thinnings which is a management practice required during the lifecycle of a forest to ensure that the forest remains healthy and is safe from risk of fire.

Mail Facts

UK consumers generate over £25 billion worth of postal sales per year, it's fair to say the majority welcome the information and special offers they receive by post.

The European postal sector employs more than two million people directly.

• In volume terms, research in 2005 showed that direct mail material accounted for approximately 2% by weight of household waste - less than 320g or the equivalent of half a bag of sugar on a weekly basis per household (source: CACI).

• The paper Industry estimates that direct mail (addressed and unaddressed mail, and loose inserts in newspapers and magazines) accounts for approximately 500,000 tonnes of paper per year or just 4.4% of paper usage - we use 12.5million tonnes of paper and cardboard every year in the UK (source: Confederation of Paper Industries)

• CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) estimates that 95%+ of paper used in direct mail comes from recycled or managed resources.

In UK Envelopes with windows can be recycled in household recycling schemes. Research with local councils have shown majority of local councils can recycle windowed envelopes. BSI PAS2020-2009

UK Postcomm study of mail vs. e-mail (in 2008) revealed that consumers considered mail as a more personal form of communication compared to email, and which left them feeling a more valued customer. They also viewed the company as more professional. Finally, they were more likely to react to the mail received.

Mail represents 0.1% of total household CO 2 emissions in Europe

Electronic communications are not more environmentally friendly than paper based communications. PC’s account for more than two percent of annual household CO2 emissions. This cost is always underestimated by commentators. A Swedish study confirmed that reading a newspaper released 20% less carbon than reading a newspaper online for 30 minutes.

There is no such thing as ‘junk mail’. Studies continue to reinforce the value of Direct Mail as a means of informing Europeans. After consumers have used the information, the material then becomes a recyclable product that can be used again and again if treated properly. This is no different from an empty can of coke which is discarded correctly so that it can be reused.

The Postal network is guaranteed to reach 100% of registered European citizens. The postal industry remains the only effective communication network that is guaranteed to reach 100% of Europe’s citizens. This fact is enshrined in European law. The postal industry provides a strategically essential service that simply cannot be replaced.

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