General Information

Lipstick On A Pig!

The Green Marketing Coalition was recently formed in the US. Marketing professionals are at least acknowledging the need to revisit best practices in conjunction with their green strategy. But in checking out their guidelines it is obvious why Forest Ethics compares it to Lipstick on a Pig. Blogger Olga Orda covers the story and lists Red Dot in her references. Starting the discussion is useful, but its time to make meaningful reductions to print quantities and reduce our carbon footprint (while of course increasing recycled content and using only FSC paper). Measure. Reduce. Offset. Canadians use 263 kg of paper per year while the average global citizen uses 54 kg per year. What’s wrong with this picture?

Canada Day E-Thank You To Canada Post

Check out the heartfelt comments and add your own to our e-thank you to Canada Post. Over the past few months I have marveled at our unique and generous Canadian qualities. As I worked with Forest Ethics Do Not Mail Team I understood more about the complexities they face in rolling out a US Do Not Mail registry. The thought of simply posting a “No Junk Mail” Sign is a foreign concept. At Granville Island last weekend several Americans expressed great interest in our campaign. As one relayed, “You live in a great country”. Read about America’s powerful Direct Marketing groups and the Environmental Leader’s coverage of Canada Post’s green initiatives. As we face the realities of “Peak Everything”, we will undoubtedly return to our pioneering spirit of collaboration and generousity. When it comes to climate change we will be forced to open our hearts and open our wallets — and work with compassion and expediance to face the challenges upon us. And hey, this life is pretty convenient, eh? Lets support corporations who are making a stand.

Mobile Marketing Is So Much Fun!

Just to prove we dont always need paper to get our message across, check out the great information from Toronto’s mobile conference – Canada has a way to go in this area. Interactive mobile marketing gets targeted relevant messages to the right audience. Strict regulations are limiting mobi-spam. Lets fight to keep it that way so this “cool” (ie carbon reduced) marketing can play a larger role in permission-based one-to-one marketing. And lets get creative about who we reach and the kinds of messages we send.


Three Cheers For Canada Post’s Green Policy!

Montreal Gazette reviews Canada Post’s new green strategy that addresses the environmental impact of direct mail. Red Dot is interviewed and challenges newspapers and phone book companies to follow Canada Post’s leadership. 63% of Canadians surveyed say they often consider the environmental impact of paper-based mail. Check out Canada Post’s new website announcing their “Green Strategy”. Lets keep spreading the word to reduce the environmental footprint of print advertising. Have a great May 24 weekend!

Kudos To Canadian Tire

Three cheers to Canadian Tire who just saved 30,000 trees with their decision to move their catalogue online. Their last print run was 6 million copies. Maybe we can encourage them to re-evaluate their flyer distribution too! Go green!!

And in keeping with our values at Red Dot — a quotation from their article…

A retail observer said the move is a natural progression for Canadian Tire as the company evolves to remain relevant and competitive. “It’s the wave of the future,” Rob Warren, director of the Asper Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Manitoba, said of the disappearance of the Canadian Tire catalogue. Warren said the move presents Canadian Tire as an environmentally responsible company, adding the company will see a huge savings in its production costs. Print catalogues require four to six months of production time before they reach customers, he said, adding an online version can be updated within six hours.


Forests Not Phone Books!

My friend Monika Sheardown, GreenDreams Productions (and a few other Red Dot bloggers) reminded me to get going on urging companies to provide a “Consumers Choice” option for Phone Books. Does anyone still use them? We figure only seniors are reading them but unfortunately the phone books have become so heavy that seniors cant lift them!

So we are getting on the bandwagon. I wrote a message to CanPages and to Yellow Pages asking them how consumers can officially opt out. Again a Win:Win. They can save money by reducing their print quanities, we can save forests, they can gain valuable PR by letting us know how we can opt out. SO, if anyone has any thoughts or opinions on how this campaign can come to life….. Let us know!!

Stay tuned!! We should soon get a response — since I took the liberty of reminding them that we have a community of 100,000 Canadians concerned about the environmental impacts of wasteful print practices. I would suggest that 25% of us never use a phone book — and another 50% of us are so befuddled when we try to find a phone number we end up back online.

Gratitude As We Welcome Spring

On this holiday weekend I am reflecting on our many blessings — family, food and friends. Last night, my friends’ daughters sang grace at our Easter celebration. It dawned on me, why do we reserve “grace” only for food? Why don’t we say a blessing each time we hop in our cars, shop in our stores, or read our newspapers? Why dont we live in a state of constant grace surrounded by the blessings of this life of convenience?

Through the past weeks I have been pondering why we don’t treat paper with the same reverence we treat food. We would never cook a meal for 100 people knowing only 3 would turn up. Would we throw food on people’s doorsteps? Why aren’t our forest products treated with the same respect and reverence as food? It takes 80 years of growth to replace a tree in the Boreal forest and 150 years to replace a tree in BC’s rainforest ( yet paper is considered a renewable resource. Its time to reframe the value of paper.

While jogging at Jericho Beach this morning, my friend Erin and I were sharing our love for newspapers and all things printed. She asked me to relay our philsophy at Red Dot. My two points of the day:

  • Start valuing paper through mindfulness and gratitide
  • We aren’t against print advertising per se, we are only against printing anything that doesn’t get read!

Having just returned from Ottawa & Montreal, our hearts go out to our friends in Eastern Canada who are dealing with record snowfall and an upcoming spring thaw.

Red Dot — Bigger Picture

In response to Ernie who states that his letter carrier says that using Consumers Choice will have no impact on print quantities –Your postal worker must not know that the “Householder Counts” and “Consumer Choice” counts are posted on the Canada Post website. I’m not sure how often CP updates these numbers but every time one of us opts out, the database is decremented. Advertisers use the Consumer Choice numbers when they print – at least any company I have worked for uses the Consumer Choice numbers when we order print quantities. Let’s say informed, responsible, advertisers use the Consumer Choice numbers. This is another positive impact of this campaign — to get the word out to advertisers to use Consumer Choice counts. I have already had to correct a number of “professional” direct marketers about the availability of Consumers Choice.Yes, it will take time to get the database updated. Yes, there are still some wrinkles in CP’s execution and implementation.Yes, some people are threatened by change.But with climate change at our doorstep we must start speaking out that we cannot tolerate wasteful business practices…!! Every one of us must look at our personal footprint and the footprint of our businesses and start changing.Today the Red Dot Story is being presented at a National Flyer Symposium, by Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Markets Initiative The Retail Council of Canada and many ofCanada’s flyer dependent retailers, distributors and suppliers will be in attendance. It is our hope that our story:

  • sends a signal to advertisers that there is a segment of the population that are actively discussing the environmental footprint of print advertising
  •  will also influence community newspapers to be more responsible with their overages
  • remind them all to be mindful of the carbon footprint of their advertising·
  • remind them to use forest-friendly paper sources
  • request that they transition to subscription-based models and e-flyers.

Over time a bigger picture will unfold if we keep requesting change.It will NOT happen over night. But we can’t wait until the roofs start blowing off our houses to demand change. Keep the faith that our collective voices can make small changes over time –!

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