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DMA signs Defra agreement to cut DM waste

03 Nov 2011 1:50 GMT Back
DMA signs Defra agreement to cut DM waste
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The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today (1 November 2011) has signed a historic agreement with Defra committing the DM industry to a series of tough green targets to cut physical waste and carbon emissions over the next three years. 

The commitment to cutting waste has been set out in a new Voluntary Producer Responsibility (VPR) deal. By 2014 the direct marketing industry will have to achieve a 25 per cent increase on the industry’s current use of suppression files, launch an ‘all-in-one’ consumer preference service for unaddressed mail, maintain public awareness of the consumer preference services and retain established direct mail recycling rates. Forty per cent of all direct mail produced will have to conform to the requirements of a new industry environmental standard that will replace PAS 2020.   

The VPR deal is a part of the Coalition Government’s long-term strategy for moving towards a zero-waste and low-carbon economy. Key to the VPR deal is the aim of preventing waste being produced by the DM industry. This differs to the aim of the last voluntary producer agreement that the DMA signed with Defra in 2004, which committed the industry to hitting a staggered series of recycling targets for direct mail over the course of 10 years. The industry hit its 2013 target of 75% of all advertising mail being recycled four years ahead of schedule in 2009. 

Defra’s objectives for cutting waste in the production of printed direct marketing communications focus on waste prevention, sustainable production, and distribution and recycling. 

Among other actions, the DMA will lead the way in setting up a simple, single contact point preference service for consumers to opt out of receiving all kinds of direct mail. The DMA will provide guidance to consumers and local authorities on what householders can do to opt out of receiving unwanted advertising mail. The DMA will also produce an annual audited report on the volume of DM cut from production by the use of suppression files. 

Commenting on the agreement, Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, said:

“As the representative of the direct marketing industry, the DMA has negotiated a new VPR deal with Government that’s mutually beneficial. The deal will not only help in delivering the Government’s objectives of moving towards a zero-waste society and reducing carbon emissions, but also lead to higher standards in direct marketing. The key theme is ‘doing it better’ – by reducing unnecessary direct marketing and making sure that what’s produced meets a specification that minimises the impact on the environment.

“The deal provides the perfect answer to criticism of direct marketing by demonstrating that we’re a responsible industry that’s taking positive action to minimise our environmental impact. But there are other benefits too. Cutting out unnecessary direct marketing will help to not only change consumer perceptions but also improve advertisers’ return on investment.”

Tristan Garrick, DMA PR manager
Tel 020 7291 3315

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