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How green is your media?

December 16th, 2008 · No Comments

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You’ve printed your brochure on 100% post-consumer recycled stock. Your factory buys energy from a renewable supplier. Your fleet runs on biodiesel sourced from oil that was only used to fry organic, locally-grown potatoes. Now it’s time to do your media plan. This is no time to hang up your green values, but where do you start?
Talk to Koen Reynaert. Koen is an independent media planner and buyer who has been researching the green factor in media for over 2 years.
“I found myself not alone in this way of thinking, although most of the work seemed to be going on in countries as the United Kingdom, Australia and somewhat the United States.” Says Reynaert. “I have since been working to create tools that could determine if a certain media type or title fits the profile of a green campaign.”
Sounds logical. And Reynaert’s background of media buying in Europe certainly lets him back up his research. Of course, as with all things green, clients will have to weigh the advantages of proven, traditional choices with newer, greener ones. So Koen is working on a system he calls Eco Rating Points.
“Media Planners are obsessed with GRP`s, so why not develop a system of ‘ERP’s’ that determines whether a certain media type or title can be given preference over another. The matrix takes into account factors that affect the carbon footprint (e.g. recycled content, energy type used by the media type, distribution, recycling and disposal, the need of energy at the consumer end), as well as content, environmental policies such as eco paper purchasing policies, Corporate Social Responsibility, even donations to charities and/or environmental organizations.”
How would this affect the average buy? Wouldn’t such a system automatically be biased towards electronic media over print? Not necessarily says Reynaert.
“A mass TV campaign can have a larger carbon footprint than a targeted magazine campaign reaching the potential buyer of your green product. Which leads to the conclusion that ROI will go hand in hand with carbon footprint too.”
If you want to know more about Koen’s ERP project, or even just want to know how to pronounce his name, he can be reached online at Reynaert Media. But don’t wait too long, in case your customers start doing the research for you. Koen mentions one case in point.
“How could it make sense that a hybrid car was advertising in a magazine that was printed on 100% virgin fibre, most likely coming from the very vulnerable Canadian Boreal Forests? Wouldn’t it make more sense to at least do some research and find out if a certain magazine would be printed on recycled content, FSC-certified and Ancient Forest Free?”

Here’s Koen Reynaert’s Green Media Watch for December 2008:

Magazines in Canada that are doing a good job: Explore, Outpost, The Walrus, Outdoor Canada, Canadian Home Workshop and Cottage Life. All these titles are printed on 100% recycled (mostly post-consumer) FSC-certified paper and processed chlorine free paper.
Companies such as Transcontinental and Rogers have committed to environmental paper policies for all their consumer and trade publications.
Most TV stations in Canada have still a long way to go but they could look up to BSkyB (owned by Ruper Murdoch’s NewsCorp) that announced to go carbon neutral in 2006 and came up with initiatives such as set-top boxes that consume less power and purchasing 100% renewable energy.
BC-based TV networks score better than their sister networks in Ontario because the energy used by the source and their viewers is 80% hydro, where as in Ontario most energy comes from coal or nuclear power.
Surprisingly, the retail TV digital network offered by Walmart would score well too: for example Walmart is a client of Bullfrogpower in Ontario and the amount of energy used to reach viewers is much lower than a TV program reaching a million viewers all watching TV at home.
The outdoor industry: Pattison has struck a deal with Epcor to buy renewable energy certificates for billboards.
FSC-certified poster paper is an option
There are also eco-friendly alternatives for vinyl offered by companies like Astral Outdoor.

Tags: Green Points of View · Printing · Production · Research · Strategic Alliances · Sustainable Businesses

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