The Government wants 30% of direct marketing/sales promotion material recycled or recovered by 2005. To help achieve this the Direct Marketing Association has reached an agreement with the DEFRA and launched a major new initiative.
Topic: Environmental Affairs
Who: The Direct Marketing Association and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
When: Mid-July 2003
As part of its 'Waste Strategy 2000' Initiative, the government, through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has reached a historic agreement with the UK's premier marketing industry body, the Direct Marketing Association ('DMA').
The watchword of the initiative is greater producer responsibility for direct mail and promotions waste. The agreement gives the industry an opportunity, by self-help, to head off the threat of restrictive legislation.
The aim of the agreement is to increase the collection and recycling of direct mail and promotions material, publicise preference services available to those who do not wish to receive direct mail and promotions at all or wish to be selective, and improve the targeting of direct mail and promotions generally.
As explained in DMA communications sent to its members on the topic on 17 July 2003, the DMA has committed to meet targets for recycling of direct mail and promotions material (30% by end of 2005, 55% by end of 2009 and 70% by 2013) and in order to meet these has developed a self regulatory 'Producer responsibility scheme' for members to follow.
As part of this, a voluntary code seeks to reduce the volume of direct mail and promotions material that will end up in landfill. Under the code, DMA members have a duty to implement a waste strategy policy, a duty to communicate the code and their scheme to their clients, responsibility to educate customers and consumers around the recovery of waste and responsibilities about the materials used in producing direct marketing and promotional material.
The DMA will be working closely with local authorities to ensure they are fully aware of the scheme and have sufficient capacity for kerb-side collections.
The scheme also makes it clear that producer responsibility in this area falls on the complete supply chain including the brand owner.
The DMA will also be working to increase awareness of the Mailing Preference Service and convey clearly the options available to consumers. It will also, in conjunction with the Paper Federation, measure the volume of marketing promotional material delivered to households. The Paper Federation will measure the volume recycled by newsprint mills and the DMA will report on the target achievement on the anniversary dates set within the agreement with the DTI. It will also produce an annual environmental report.
DMA members are being encouraged to examine the heads of agreement and scheme in detail and briefing packs setting out members' responsibilities are being sent out to them in the course of August 2003.
Why this matters:
The UK government is well aware of the increasing obligations being imposed upon it by EU directives in the area of environmental waste. It will also be aware that we are woefully behind most other EU member states in this area. Whether they are DMA members or not, all UK direct marketers should familiarise themselves with the DEFRA agreement and Producer responsibility scheme, so that draconian legislation which would add substantially to industry costs can be avoided.