Suppression – the keystone of ‘greener’ marcoms

Mark Roy, founder member, Suppression Providers Association

With every marcoms channel having some degree of environmental impact (even email has a carbon footprint, I’m afraid), underlying all of your eco-friendly direct marketing practices should be quality data – the more accurate, up-to-date and secure the better.

Accurate data and being eco-friendly go hand-in-hand and suppression remains a keystone best practice in both regards. For if we can all keep our data as free as possible of obsolete and badly formatted addresses, gone-aways (ie, people who have moved house or job) as well as people who have died, then perhaps we’ll go some way towards decreasing the estimated 4 million trees and £50 million pounds in misaddressed and discarded DM items which are making their way into UK landfills each year. This obviously represents a huge cost to both the environment and businesses – and an unsustainable one, at that.

The companies and brands which will not only survive, but even prosper during the rest of 2009 and beyond will be those whose marcoms reassure consumers and whose products/services are perceived to add value – to their hip pockets, sense of wellbeing and the environment. Now is definitely not the time for clever eco-tricks or marketing gimmicks, in my opinion.

So if you’re serious about “greener” direct marketing – and if the DM industry is to meet its Defra targets, we all should be – the DMA’s PAS 2020 is a solid place to start. Comprised of helpful checklists to run through when making important marketing decisions concerning targeting, suppression and the use of recycled materials in your campaigns, the PAS 2020 website even features an online calculator that ranks your PAS 2020 environmental performance on a project-by-project basis.

Taken together, these are handy KPIs to promote to anyone who may be suspicious of “greenwash” (ie, the tendency for some businesses to talk green while actually doing little or nothing). With industry of all kinds contributing an estimated 55 per cent of the 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide the UK produces annually, I believe it’s incumbent upon us all to use suppression technologies to optimum effect in order to ensure that DM is seen as being environmentally responsible as we transition towards an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here