New Environmental Standard on Direct Marketing


21 September 2007

Taking a leading role in shaping the industry, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has developed an alliance of like-minded member companies to partner with BSI British Standards to create the first standard for environmental performance in the field of direct marketing.

The Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is expected to form a benchmark for the UK and potentially across other industries and will enable users to make a verifiable environmental claim. It will provide a vital business and future-proofing tool to add substantial value and credibility to businesses. The alliance, comprising Royal Mail; Acxiom, one of the UK’s largest data companies; ISBA, the representative body for client companies on all aspects of marketing communications; and the TPS, the consumer telephone suppression file, has proved fundamental in gaining the necessary support and funding for the scheme.

Robert Keitch, Director of Media Channel Development at the DMA, says: “For the first time, businesses will be able to effectively and collectively demonstrate their environmental credentials and cut through the ‘greenwash.’ We believe that a standard will act as a credible means of differentiation in a competitive marketplace.

“We needed a robust scheme that would carry real clout – if our actions were considered insufficient, endorsement from key stakeholders wouldn’t happen. That is why we have embarked on such a significant scheme to enable businesses to tackle the enormous environmental challenge.”

The standard will be independently facilitated by BSI and is expected to take nine to 12 months to develop. The development process will build consensus around a way forward that is pragmatic and achievable, underpinned by good practice. BSI will carry out research and consult with key stakeholders from industry, government (such as Defra, WRAP and the Environment Agency), as well as other relevant trade associations and key consumer groups.

All areas of direct marketing will be covered by the standard from email marketing to direct mail to field marketing. The consultation process will provide insight into how the environment relates to each business sector where initially the connection may not be obvious.

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said, “BSI British Standards is delighted to be working with the Direct Marketing Association on this important standard for the marketing industry.  There is currently no environmental standard specifically for the sector so the PAS will provide a really useful benchmark for businesses.  BSI’s developing capability regarding the environment and sustainability needs for business, combined with the market experience of the DMA, will produce a credible and pioneering standard.”

This standard will complement the DMA’s drive to raise standards in the direct marketing industry through its promotion of best practice guidelines and self-regulation. It is also hoped that by creating a single national standard, the organisation will be able to rapidly promote understanding and recognition of the values behind the scheme. It forms the main thrust of the DMA Environmental Strategy which was announced as the focus of activity for the DMA at the end of 2006. Other environmental activities include partnerships with Envirowise and Friends of the Earth to develop a series of sector-specific ‘Enviro-guides’ which will enable members to work to environmental best practice guidelines, the development of a direct marketing carbon calculator and specific environment training and events. Details of these initiatives will be announced later in the year.

“We hope that these initiatives will stimulate a quantum shift in member, industry and wider business understanding of the importance of environmental issues. Not acting is not an option - it is imperative we future proof our industry,” adds Keitch.

To register interest in this PAS please email:

- ENDS -

For media information:
Lucy Fulton
Public Relations Officer
BSI British Standards
Tel: 020 8996 7248

Notes to Editors
About BSI British Standards

BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards organization, recognized globally for its independence, integrity and innovation in the production of standards and information products that promote and share best practice. BSI works with businesses, consumers and government to represent UK interests and to make sure that British, European and international standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.

For further information please visit

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organization/s and developed according to guidelines set out by BSI. Key stakeholders are brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS that has all the functionality of a British Standard for the purposes of creating management systems, product benchmarks and codes of practice. After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.

About BSI Group

BSI British Standards is part of BSI Group, a global independent business services organization that inspires confidence and delivers assurance to customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world’s first national standards body, the Group has over 2,250 staff operating in over 100 countries through more than 50 global offices. The Group’s key offerings are:

• The development and sale of private, national and international standards and supporting information
• Second and third-party management systems assessment and certification
• Product testing and certification of services and products
• Performance management software solutions
• Training services in support of standards implementation and business best practice.

For further information please visit

The DMA:
The DMA UK is the largest trade association in the marketing communications sector, with over 900 corporate members. The DMA’s mission is to maximise value for members, whilst maintaining and enhancing consumer trust and confidence in the direct marketing industry. 

To assist, the DMA administers a portfolio of Preference Services that allow consumers to register their contact details, free of charge, should they choose to reduce the amount of direct marketing approaches they receive via mail, telephone, fax and email. 

Sales attributed to direct marketing activity total £107 billion each year, £67 billion of this from consumer sales and £40 billion resulting from business to business direct marketing.  As an industry, direct marketing generates around 9% of consumer sales on a yearly basis as well as employing roughly 814,000 people (both directly and indirectly) and supporting 3% of all employment in the UK.  In 2004 organisations spent a total of £37 billion on direct marketing, of which over £14 billion can be attributed to media spend. 

DMA members benefit from added protection, intelligence and growth, which together we call the Power of Association.  Within these three areas, DMA member services include government lobbying, free legal advice, training & development, representation on DMA Councils, networking opportunities, regular updates of current dm issues/legislation, research, use of the DMA logo, promotion of member companies and discounts on a range of dm products/services.

For further information please visit For details on the benefits of becoming a DMA member please call 020 7291 3388 to speak to the membership team, email, or visit