Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. PebblePost has a sustainability page, too. But it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This isn’t an approach you see taken very often. Frankly, I love it.

After citing statistics showing that sustainability is an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions, PebblePost presents its “programmatic printing” as part of a holistic approach to diminishing a marketer’s environmental impact by making their business more sustainable.

PebblePost breaks the sustainability of its process down into three categories: data-driven “decisioning,” environmentally friendly printing, and efficient delivery. While the company focuses on its own internal processes (as we would expect), anyone offering highly targeted marketing can frame it in a similar way. Although PebblePost’s process is proprietary, there is nothing proprietary about reducing environmental impact through targeting, and the more targeted, the better. That’s what makes this so relevant, I think, for the industry as a whole.

Here’s how Pebble Post presents it:

  1. Data-Driven Decisioning. While PebblePost basically offers a triggered direct mail workflow (direct mailers being printed and mailed based on recipients’ online behavior), any highly targeted direct mail campaign can be described the same way. By only mailing to people who are likely to buy (whether based on online behavior, as in PebblePost’s case, or on customer profiling or past purchasing behavior), you are eliminating waste. Pebble Post also throws in “eliminates waste caused by...duplicate mailings.” Removal of duplicates is also something most good mailers do. It’s just smart of Pebble Post to frame it as part of sustainability.
  2. Environmentally Friendly Printing. This refers to 100% digital print production workflow. “Our technology ensures that we print only what is needed to fulfill each day’s campaigns. This prevents overruns and reduces the amount of waste product generated throughout the process.” If you have a digital press and are printing on demand, you can make this claim, too.
  3. Efficient Delivery. While referring to its “state of the art systems and technology,” this claim is not unique to PebblePost, but to any high-volume mailer taking advantage of postal-optimized workflows like printing in postal sort order, drop-shipping, and so on. PebblePost has just framed it in terms of the positive impact these efficiencies have on the environment, i.e. “reducing transit times and the amount of resources required to deliver Programmatic Direct Mail.”

PebblePost concludes its sustainability page with a plug for its FSC-certified papers and use of 50% pre- and post-consumer content in its direct mail postcards, which while not unusual, continues to support its environmentally friendly frame-up.

I like this company’s approach to presenting its services as environmentally friendly and part of a brand’s approach to sustainability. Simple, powerful, and reproducible, it makes for a great model for any printer wanting to remind its customers that they can help them be more sustainable too—using print.