Conscious consumerism will continue to influence retail but how does that effect your direct mail campaigns?

McKinsey data from July 2020 says more than 60% of shoppers go out of their way to buy sustainable products — many customers only know or like a few sustainable brands and then default to big box retailers for other needs.

How will consumer views influence purchasing and where does that leave your Direct Mail strategies?

Many marketers have the misconception that print is ‘less green’ than other media. Email and social media are perceived to be more environmentally-friendly than all those door drops, inserts and catalogues.

The good news is that direct mail can be just as green as digital marketing.

In fact, this personal, tangible and measurable medium can even be climate neutral in the hands of the right printer. With the print industry making serious improvements to reduce environmental impact, print is staying a best-in-use marketing channel for even the most passionate eco-business.

So, if you’re looking to increase your DM activities, but want to stay at your greenest, what do you need from a printer?

 We have asked one of our print partners to comment on how you can deliver a ‘green campaign’.

 PSE Offline Marketing:

“When managing customer campaigns, we always consider the environment and ensure some key steps are taken so the print is managed in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. We’d always advise using veg based inks and recycled and recyclable material whilst avoiding non-recyclable finishes such as certain UV’s, laminates and foils wherever possible."

Over and above that, there are additional accreditations that presses are committed to for sustainable printing that they would be able to provide you with for your campaign. For example the FSC accreditation is globally recognised for the work they do in not just the material used but also how the presses are run. We also strongly recommend offsetting the carbon used for each campaign through our partnership with the World Land Trust which enables you to attribute an exact amount of Carbon you have balanced, along with the land you have protected.

 In 2020 alone we offset 99,356 kgs of Carbon and 69,549 m2 of forest was saved. It’s a fantastic initiative with a very low cost involved and can be applied to any print project produced so we’d strongly recommend using it.

 “Although looking after the planet is incentive enough, through using eco-friendly materials and clean data processes, it also allows you to tap into additional postage savings, so not only is it good for the environment, but it’s also good for your marketing budget!


A Global Corporate Sustainability Report published by Nielsen shows that, “globally, 66 percent of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Millennials gave an even more impressive showing, with 73 percent indicating a similar preference.”

This data indicates that customers want the companies they buy from to practice sustainability, have strong ethical behaviour and provide transparency. As part of the trade off, consumers are willing to pay more for products that use sustainable processes.

Consumers are already operating from a sustainability mindset, even if they struggle to make it a lifestyle. They are increasing the pressure on brands to make it easier for them to do so, calling for greater transparency and pushing for more sustainable options.

Look at the Nielson graph below to get an idea of those purchasing drivers

 nielsenHow brands like Patagonia is Leading the Way

Patagonia does not encourage it’s customers to buy new clothing if their existing garments work. Rather, they communicate to them not to do so, provide a service to repair their product if need be for the customer to continue using it, and they now provide a service where used merchandise can be returned for new merchandise credits. The used clothing is then cleaned and repaired and sold on their “Worn Wear” website.

This is part of Patagonia’s commitment to and standing for sustainability in it’s business ethos.

 We’ve asked Baukjen where their individual brand stand on sustainability?

All of our catalogues are PEFC certified and we print this on the back cover each time. In the catalogue we also include a sustainable and ethical guide. This talks about everything from upcycling, to low CO2 emissions to digital printing.“Our Mission is to put people and the planet at the heart of everything that we do. Driving lasting positive change in the fashion industry with sustainable practises and an ethical supply chain. We create timeless, carefully crafted clothes that empower woman. Last week we got the news that we have achieved full B Corp status and have been scored top in the UK for fashion.” -  Anna Wilson, Marketing Consultant, Baukjen

We're proud to...

  • have plastic free and 100% biodegradable packaging
  • be carbon net-neutral, and on a journey to be carbon-positive
  • use at least 90% responsibly sourced fabrics and fibres, and to increase this all the time
  • source ethically produced animal products and be actively researching vegan alternatives
  • be a zero-waste company, we never send clothes to landfill or incineration


House of Baukjen proudly works with the key global organisations to deliver a better world. Amongst others The Fashion Pact, the UN Fashion Charter, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Science-Based Targets for Nature.

For their impact report they have adopted the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework which consist of 17 goals which form a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.  

As part of Abacus commitment to upholding green practices, here are three things you can implement when planning your next campaign.
    Clean data is important in saving your resources. It has a direct result on the response rates and success of your campaign.  Sending direct mail to customers who neither need your products nor take any interest will waste your time, energy, and resources, which you could have directed to other customers who couldve purchased.
    This principle stands in sustainability. By cleaning up your database, you reduce the physical volume of mail. This means fewer people will throw out your marketing materials, and less waste is headed for the landfills.
    How you design your mail pieces not only affects the response rates; but it also influences how you maximise your materials.
    Content is king as they say, but make sure you utilise the space on the pages to get the message across and get rid of unnecessary and redundant information.
    As mentioned above, you can also opt for recyclable materials and make sure to indicate that its recyclable. This way, you influence your clients to dispose of your mail properly.

    There is so many ways in which you can deliver green campaigns and all it comes down to is turning your good intentions into good habits. Start today and direct your efforts into being 1% better every day.
 We’ve also outlined a few strategies that could earn you trust in greenery conservation.

    This entails being radical and exposing any bad news. Brands need to find a competitive edge by exposing as much information as possible about their sourcing and production processes. For instance, sustainability pathfinders like Patagonia have reported with transparency through its “Footprint Chronicles.” Access to the corporate practices and details of products and services should be provided to the consumers as part of a green marketing strategy.

    Companies are well graced by consumers when they gain a perception of sustainability and commitment. Companies holding advocacy for greening the environment should employ a clear vision of pro-green product and service solutions.
    Since buyers want information about the personal benefits of products provided, brands ought to focus on incorporating more pro-environmental benefits of products. For instance, organisations should question whether their products save the consumers’ money or if the products are appealing to the style-conscious of the consumers.
    For example, Baukjen is one brand that has profited from marketing itself as an enterprise that ensures good working conditions for its employees ie advocate being a living wage employer, only work with factories that meet the highest ethical standards and they are also proud to be champions of slow fashion.
    Brands that have taken the responsibility of minimising the life cycle impacts of their products have attained noticeable benefits as green consumers always want a product that not only provides value for their money but also lasts longer in their lifetime use.
    Promotional efforts or cause marketing in which a brand channels part of the product’s profits into an essential non-profit, cause-related marketing can bring about differentiation of brands within a marketplace.



 Advameg, Inc. (2019). Green marketing. Retrieved from https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Eq-Inc/Green-Marketing.html.  The Global Development Research Center. (2019). Some examples of green consumerism. Retrieved from https://www.gdrc.org/sustbiz/green/doc-cons_examples.html.  “The benefits and values of green lifestyle consumers.” International Journal of Marketing Studies; 7, no. 1 (2015).

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