Do Not Mail campaign timeline
We target the office supply industry, which at the time had virtually no environmental paper standards, in a new campaign. Over the next four years, we leverage groundbreaking commitments from several companies, including Staples, Office Depot, and FedEx Office. This lays the foundation for the ForestEthics Market Solutions work, which continues to this day.
| This video summarizes our Victoria's Dirty Secret campaign, which led to the launch of the Do Not Mail campaign.
The Victoria’s Dirty Secret campaign launches, targeting Victoria’s Secret and parent company Limited Brands, Inc. One of the ads we ran in the New York Times gets the attention of the catalog company.
An independent report confirms that the office supply companies that just a few years earlier lacked basic environmental standards were now causing recycled paper mills to operate at record capacity. Let’s just say they didn’t figure it out on their own.
Hundreds of storefront demonstrations and mainstream press hits later, Limited Brands announces landmark paper policy.
Fresh from our Victoria’s Dirty Secret victory, we rattle the cages of the entire catalog industry, securing environmental paper commitments from Fortune 500 companies including Williams-Sonoma, Dell, Crate & Barrel, Hewlett-Packard, and Macy’s/Bloomingdales.
A Zogby International poll indicates that 89% of Americans support the creation of a Do Not Mail Registry to opt out of unsolicited ad mail. Meanwhile, ForestEthics plots its next move to transform the paper industry: the Do Not Mail campaign.
Five years after the national Do Not Call Registry is enacted, ForestEthics launches Do Not Mail, including a petition on donotmail.org calling for a Do Not Mail Registry in the US. Petition signatures include Leonardo DiCaprio, Adrian Grenier, Darryl Hannah, and Alicia Silverstone. The Washington Post, Daily Kos, New York Post’s Page Six, Globe and Mail, and Philadelphia Enquirer take notice.
Under economic strain, the USPS increases the postage rate to 42 cents, while giving large junk mailers huge discounts to send crap that most of us don’t want.
| The Junk Mail Monster PSA
Our Junk Mail Monster PSA is released on Myspace and Youtube and is viewed more than 30,000 times.
As our petition swells to over 50,000 signatures, we release our free action toolkit on Independence Day – providing our supporters and activists with the tools they need to take action on the Do Not Mail campaign. Thousands sign up to take action.
Meanwhile, ForestEthics celebrates a huge victory: the Ontario government commits to protect more than 55 million acres – an area half the size of California – in Ontario’s Boreal Forest. Logging for end uses such as junk mail had threatened this Endangered Forest, and some of the biggest brands in the US helped advocate for the protection, including former campaign target Limited Brands.
ForestEthics releases Climate Change Enclosed: Junk Mail’s Impact on Global Warming, a report exposing junk mail’s senseless contribution to climate change. USA Today, New York Sun, and San Francisco Chronicle provide media coverage.
Junk mail industry group the Direct Marketing Association launches a rather underwhelming “mail preference” website, Dmachoice.com. While we’re glad to see them acknowledging the power of the movement to stop them, the new site is mostly just for show: it’s still a case of the fox guarding the henhouse.
We release our Do Not Mail Bag of Tricks. CBS WBZ-TV Boston airs another in a long line of local TV pieces that interview us, and then talk to local residents pissed off about junk mail.
Our 3rd annual Naughty/Nice scorecard on the paper practices of the direct mail industry is released. Naughty junk mail companies like Sears, Capital One, and American Express received lumps of coal. Industry media outlets such as Advertising Age take notice and so do some major direct mailers: Crate & Barrel announces a new policy that calls for recycled content, sustainable paper sourcing, Endangered Forest protection, and overall paper reduction.
Also in December, Time Magazine asks “Remember when going through the mail was a thrill?’, and quotes ForestEthics on the problem of “runaway supply of junk in the face of shrinking and even resentful demand.”
Audobon Magazine publishes a feature on our work and how the catalog and junk mail industry is destroying the Boreal Forest.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors becomes the first government body in the nation to take legislative action in support of a Do Not Mail Registry, passing a resolution calling on California to adopt a registry as a common sense tool for its citizens.
We also published an ad in USA Today, while Yahoo.com and other outlets, including San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, Foxnews.com all chronicled the state of the junk mail debate, in the process bumping our petition signatures up to near 90,000.
With the release of our new toolkit, our team starts training activists to start pushing municipal resolutions in their own city.
Meanwhile, NBC New York does a story on the campaign, and Annabelle Gurwitch, host of Planet Green’s show “Wa$ted”, talks it up on the CBS Early Show.
As the first class postage rate goes up for the third consecutive year to 44 cents, the USPS plans a massive summer sale for junk mailers who mail more than they did last yer. Our Executive Director, Todd Paglia, calls out this absurdity on the Huffington Post.
In other news, Reuters TV profiles the Do Not Mail campaign.
ForestEthics helps expose a US tax loophole in the US that allows destructive paper companies to turn tax dollars into environmental devastation. Nearly 2000 supporters take action to stop major corporations from receiving tax credits for “black liquor.”
One of our activists shines in an otherwise bland NBC Chicago report.
| 100,000 signatures reached in Seattle!
ForestEthics hosts the 2nd annual “1 Million Trees: A Party to Stop Junk Mail.”
A number of bloggers point out that the Direct Marketing Association’s junk mail opt-out website, dmachoice.com, falls short short in several important respects, with particularly biting points made by Jonathan Kamens. The conversation continues on our blog and Consumerist.com.
We also poll our supporters: Who are the worst junk mail offenders? The winners losers? Capital One, Bank of America, and American Express.
The Wall Street Journal assesses the overflow of junk mail from American businesses despite substantial environmental impacts and public resentment.
| Return to Offender Day of Action
Due to pressure from our “Return to Offender” actions and the release of our 4th annual Naughty/Nice List, several companies step up their game with new commitments to better their paper practices. The scorecard receives attention from Fast Company, MNN, Los Angeles ABC 7,
Environmental Leader, and others.
For the first time since the inception of the campaign, ForestEthics delivers the Do Not Mail petition to petition addressee Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Atlanta’s Fox 5 News runs another in a long line of local news stories featuring a ForestEthics spokesperson laying out the problem of junk mail’s waste and environmental impacts, followed by a junk mail industry flack claiming that there is no problem.
With effective grassroots political organizing, Seattle becomes the second city in the country to call for a Do Not Mail Registry. The news courses throughout local Seattle media, including the Seattle King 5 News, The Stranger, and a not very well reported post from the Seattle Times.
Our Executive Director whips up a wonderful piece for the Huffington Post about the Seattle victory and how junk mail is, in fact, subsidized during the current recession.
Leading up to the announcement of a corporate target, ForestEthics launches the Do Not Mail Video project on Citizen Global, calling on activists and supporters to submit video footage or images related to junk mail.
Citing the growing public controversy about the 'Sustainable' Forestry Initiative's (SFI) deceptive 'green'
marketing practices, we send letters to Fortune 500 companies that use the phony 'eco' label on their junk mail.