DM industry launches first environmental standard to secure green future


21 January 2009

A new environmental standard, launched today [21 January 2009], will place responsibility for the sustainable development of direct marketing into the hands of the industry’s practitioners.

PAS 2020: Direct Marketing – Environmental performance - Specification has been commissioned by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in partnership with Acxiom, ISBA (The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers), Royal Mail and the Telephone Preference Service. Developed by BSI British Standards, it will provide the direct marketing industry with a standard against which the environmental performance of a direct marketing campaign can be independently certified. PAS 2020 establishes a set of environmental objectives, performance levels and indicators which set out how to create and manage an environmentally-responsible direct marketing campaign.

PAS 2020 is applicable to all organisations involved in direct marketing regardless of their size or complexity, for example, client companies, advertising agencies, printers and mailing houses.

The first edition of the standard, now withdrawn, covers all marketing channels, but contains more detail on channels whose environmental impacts are better understood at present, such as direct mail. The detailed specifications for environmental performance include:

• The use of suppression and cleaning files to maximise data efficiency
• Clarification on specifying the most environmentally-friendly paper stocks and production techniques
• The use of ‘call to recycle’ action on all appropriate marketing materials

The launch of PAS 2020 will enable effective self-regulation for the direct marketing industry at a time when the impact of impending Government legislation looms large. The year 2010 will see the implementation of major initiatives, such as the EU Landfill Directive, devised by policymakers to improve the environmental behaviour of businesses and consumers.

Robert Keitch, Director of Media Channel Development at the DMA, said:
“PAS 2020 will serve as a vital resource for the DM industry to decisively meet its environmental obligations, demonstrate its environmental credentials and to brace the industry for the introduction of strict new environmental legislation that could prove financially draining for unprepared businesses.

“Adopting environmental best practice is commercial best practice; as well as increasing production and delivery efficiencies, businesses modifying their operations today will fare better than businesses that don’t as legislation starts to come into effect.”

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said:
“PAS 2020 responds directly to the need of the marketing industry for an environmental standard. The standard will prove invaluable for organisations wishing to benchmark their environmental activity. BSI’s impartial and thorough standardization process, coupled with the market experience of the DMA and Steering Committee members, has resulted in a robust and practicable business tool.”

The standard has been independently facilitated by BSI British Standards and has been developed over 18 months. BSI carried out an extensive consultation process, engaging with key stakeholders from government, industry, trade associations and consumer groups. A one month public consultation with several hundred organisations resulted in 1000 comments, all of which were reviewed by the PAS 2020 Steering Group, which was made up of 30 industry representatives.

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organisation/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.

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