Last week the combined Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) Spring Meeting and Global Envelope Alliance’s (GEA) 6th Global Envelope Conference was held in Orlando, FL.
When my colleague Steve Myrvold and I attended, we came away with new insight on technical innovations, sustainability initiatives and postal affairs. Two recent studies sponsored by the EMA Foundation updated information on the size and scope of the mailing industry and looked at consumer media preferences. Both offered valuable perspectives.
Mail = Jobs
The mailing industry jobs study showed that the U.S. mailing industry supports 8.4 million jobs and generates $1.3 trillion in revenue – that makes us about the same size as both the airline and oil/natural gas industries. The study also found that more than 76% of mailing industry jobs depend on the delivery infrastructure provided by the U.S. Postal Service, and that there are ten jobs in the private sector related to the mailing industry for each USPS employee.
Paper is Preferred
The media preference study surveyed more than 3,000 American adults on their opinions regarding the right to choose paper-based documents. The study showed that the majority of Americans:
- continue to receive paper bills and statements,
- want the right to choose paper without fees or penalties,
- oppose companies and government agencies forcing consumers to shift from paper to electronic delivery and
- favor government action to prevent such forced shifts away from paper.
One of the most interesting findings was that young adults hold views almost identical to their older peers on these issues.
Paper is Sustainable
Among the sustainability initiatives discussed were the continuing efforts of non-profit group Two Sides. The organization combats companies using false environmental claims when trying to convince customers to move to electronic communications, rather than paper. We also learned about efforts to adapt a CO2 calculator, first developed in Europe, to allow North American envelope manufacturers to more precisely measure and reduce the carbon footprint of their products.
The global portion of the meetings included a keynote from Anders Davidsson, president & CEO of Bong AB and president of the European Envelope Manufacturers Association (FEPE), who encouraged the group to look toward innovative changes to cope with declines in the global envelope market such as expansion into the production and printing of packaging. We also got an overview of specific envelope markets around the world from leaders in those markets. While the growth in electronic communications has been a challenge for envelope manufacturers across the globe, market leaders were eager to find ways to invigorate their companies so they remain valuable and relevant well into the 21st century. Davidsson reminded the group that Bong has existed since the early 18th century through continuous innovation – something we all must embrace in the mailing industry.
That’s all for now, but I’m off to the PostalVision 2020 conference in Washington D.C. There’s sure to be more exciting news surrounding the postal industry, so check back Friday for my complete recap.
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