3 Truths Mail Service Providers Can’t Afford to Ignore.

By: Shawna Newberry

Sustainable Mail Group (SMG) recently brought together a knockout panel of sustainability experts to speak on how we can make better paper choices for our first virtual Paper Event symposium. This piece is the first of a three-part series designed to deliver the top takeaways and insights we gathered in a concise, highly actionable way for our community of members.

The last two years have delivered exceptionally difficult business conditions to navigate, the trickiest of which has been supply chain challenges. COVID definitely added a hefty layer of complexity, but we all know availability issues pre-date the pandemic.

Here are three truths our experts think Mail Service Providers (MSPs) need to consider when building their business operations strategy for the future.

Reliable supply chains require a stable climate. Fire and floods do more than decimate the land, they also decimate the trees that are critical to the health of our climate and the print business. They are inextricably linked. Decreased availability of raw materials means that costs of production go up for everyone, making sustainable papers less affordable for marketers, resulting in a self-perpetuating chain of unsustainable outcomes that are bad for business and the planet. What’s the fix? Mail service providers can help protect their supply lines by having certification options built into their procurement process.

“FSC is great” said Dr. Laura Thompson, sustainability consultant at 4 Minutes “…but there are other certification programs out there. Having options in your procurement policies gives you a little bit more leverage with your supply chain. Typically, when I advise clients, I suggest they be open to more than just one standard.”

Partnering and planning with your trusted paper suppliers makes your business more resilient. Spot buying has been difficult to avoid and forces a series of short-term decisions that add up to a greater long-term environmental impact than anyone wants. Creating a stable, consistent, value exchange makes investment in the innovation, sustainability, and growth objectives of both organizations possible. What’s the way forward when things stabilize? Commit to long-term agreements that align your roadmaps and combine your efforts for an even greater good.

“As we continue to do business, I think looking at your supply chains and making sure you partner with a reputable supplier you trust is a key component.” – Paige Goff, Vice President, Sustainability, Domtar

Sustainable choices sell themselves. When you know better you do better. Mail service providers who invest in educating their staff and customers on sustainable options and weave them into their sales process are best positioned for sustainability and sales revenue success. How do I achieve that? Educate your staff and your customers on sustainable options so they feel confident advocating for them, or requesting them, propose sustainable options first and include carbon emission savings in your quote.

“Once customers are aware of their options, if the price difference isn’t too significant, they’ll often choose the more sustainable one.” – Chelsea Gieschen, Director Business Operations, Royal Printers

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Want to dive deeper into our Paper Event insights? Watch the event recording here.

Sustainable Mail Group’s (SMG) 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.