Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

How mail delivers on sustainability

A white paper by By Sander Sondaal, Director Commercial Print Sales, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe says that mail can be a sustainable choice. And by taking every opportunity to reduce the impact it makes throughout its lifecycle; it can contribute to a circular economy while playing an effective role in the marketing mix. 

That is according to the Royal Mail’s Marketreach which commissioned new research by environmental experts WSP to create a full carbon Life Cycle Assessment of Mail. 

It details the environmental impact and carbon emissions for each stage of mail from the forest to end of life including processing, design, production, delivery, and recycling. It quantifies the carbon emissions of some of the most commonly used mail formats. 

Delivery of mail is also considered. This is something the Royal Mail is hoping to address with the use of micro electric vehicles and drones for more remote locations. 

Other European postal service providers are also making strong progress in meeting their 2030 targets. By then Swiss Post is planning to be completely carbon neutral and Austria Post, which has the the largest fleet of electric vehicles in Austria, hopes to achieve 100% CO2-free delivery. 

The assessment by WSP also suggested the following ways to further manage carbon emissions:

  • Ensure paper is sourced from certified forests – Certified paper from a well-managed forest, where trees are felled and replanted, absorbs more carbon dioxide (CO2) than a mature forest. Forests represent a proven carbon capture and storage system.

  • Explore format size options – Weight, size, pagination, and type of paper matters. Smaller, simpler formats involve less processing, packaging and reduce carbon footprint when it comes to delivery. Impact can be made with short runs and personalised print featuring bold and creative designs. This is something Ricoh’s sheetfed colour digital printing presses can deliver with cost effective customised and individualised print as well as vibrant colour and metallic finishes using fifth toner technology.

  • Create accurate and engaging personalisation – Careful management of mailing lists reduces waste and gets results. Royal Mail figures show that 95% of mail is engaged with and 87% of recipients describe mail as believable. Maintaining accurate data is crucial to this and can be achieved with software such as /data.mill Data Cleansing Solution. It automatically interrogates and corrects data inaccuracies quickly and simply, aiding a smooth and effective process.

  • Careful design choice – Maximise circularity by caonsidering recycling and reuse. Use good imposition software that helps maximise substrate use to avoid excess waste while also reducing costs. Options include the easy-to-use FusionPro VDP Solutions suite of tools for simple design and production of personalised communications. 

Encourage end users to change their approaches too by helping your clients to become aware of the advantages of circularity. 

Also important is working with partners on the journey towards circularity. Together operations can make small steps towards big changes. This is where Ricoh can partner with you to identify what steps are possible and how best to take them.