AURORA, ON–-A recent study of the greenhouse gas emission sources in the direct mail industry, commissioned by Steve Falk and Prime Data Inc, uncovers the sources of emissions – from a tree in the forest to your mailbox. Understanding the emissions at different stages of the process can lead to informed decisions toward their reduction.
President and CEO of Prime Data, Steve Falk says “I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’m having trouble taking action on climate change, because I don’t understand how my life and work really affect it. I commissioned this study and had it focus on the core work we do, which is a simple letter with a reply envelope, inside an envelope, often used by charitable organizations to fundraise. We produce millions of these each year and I thought that many of these organizations would also be curious about the outcomes of the study.”
The Sustainability Study, commissioned by Prime Data, found that a typical direct mail piece weighing 20 grams generates an average greenhouse gas footprint of 205 grams. To put this in perspective, a half-cent would pay for offset credits to make this mail piece carbon neutral.
The journey of a direct mail piece, produced and mailed in Canada by Prime Data, can be divided into three sections: Paper Production, Prime Data production activities, and Canada Post delivery. In Prime Data’s Sustainability study, paper accounted for 85.5 percent of the greenhouse gas footprint per mail piece sent by Prime Data, followed by Canada Post delivery at 10.5 percent and Prime Data production activities at 4 percent. For this reason, the greatest impact can be had by making informed decisions around the paper type used for direct mail.
The Prime Data operations footprint mainly consists of electricity (4.3 percent), delivery (20.2 percent), the employee commute (24.3 percent), and natural gas heat of the facility (51.2 percent). Some immediate actions that Prime Data is looking at to further reduce their carbon footprint in the direct mail industry are:
Paper Selection – encourage their customers to review paper options
Energy Efficiency in the warehouse – LED lighting installation, implementing dock door seals and air curtains
Commute times for employees – working online has significantly reduced emissions from employee commutes, and using a hybrid work model moving forward
Offset credits – exploring options to offset emissions
Falk is an active member of the Sustainable Mail Group, a community of mail industry participants with similar interests. Their mission is to be stewards of the environment, working within the direct mail industry to offer continuous thought leadership and sustainable solutions that meet consumer demand for responsible mail.
“Our research is not the final word but an opening of the conversation, offering perspective into the various sources of greenhouse gases in the direct mail business. We hope to inspire dialogue on this subject and enhance our collective understanding of these issues,” says Falk.
About Prime Data Inc
Prime Data Inc. is an award-winning direct mail company unlike any other. Through constant growth and innovation (along with 20+ years of experience!), Prime Data offers its clients end-to-end solutions including strategy, tactics, mailing, printing, and production that are designed to work together with today’s business strategies. As a trusted Canada Post Expert Partner, Prime Data applies advanced variable data printing (VDP) techniques and enters mail into major markets around the world. As one of the fastest-growing mailing companies in Canada, Prime Data has consistently demonstrated that direct mail helps clients achieve their revenue and ROI goals when mixed creatively as part of an overall marketing strategy.