07/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Junk Mail Marketers Try To Go Green

MOST marketers readily concede it: getting rid of direct mail -- or junk mail, as environmentalists and most recipients call it -- would save a lot of trees. But they are not about to render bulk mailings obsolete.

"The return on investment is just too high," said Jeffrey Horton, marketing supervisor for Kawasaki Motors Corporation U.S.A.

So a group of direct-marketing companies, along with a handful of their corporate clients, are banding together to make an inherently unsustainable practice at least a little bit greener.

The group calls itself the Green Marketing Coalition, and it includes Microsoft, Washington Mutual and OptimaHealth. Not all the companies involved are big mailers, but they share the sentiment that there should be best-practices guidelines for the direct mail business, which has been vilified even before global warming became a hot topic.

"This industry just didn't have any real green standards," said Spyro Kourtis, president of the Hacker Group, the Seattle direct-marketing company that headed the Green Marketing Coalition. "So we figured we could set some that vendors and clients and others could all live with."

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