Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Lawrence G. Buc and Peter A. Soyka 1 INTRODUCTION Currently, pressure groups are attempting to make mail an important environmental issue in the United States. One such group proclaims on its web site that ‘Catalogs and junk mail are a signiﬁcant contributor to climate change’ (ForestEthics, 2008). Inspired by these groups, legislators in 15 states introduced ‘Do-Not-Mail’ legislation in 2007 that would restrict mailing in the state and in 2008 as of May, legislation has been introduced in 11 states (Mail Moves America, 2008). Although the details diﬀer state by state, all would restrict marketing mail in some way. This is signiﬁcant because marketing mail comprises approximately half of the mail in the United States.1 Over the last several years, society has become increasingly aware of environmental concerns in general and of the problem of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change in particular. In fact, Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate change, and both remaining major candidates for President of the United States in the 2008 election have endorsed some sort of cap-and-trade program for controlling GHG emissions. Not surprisingly, many businesses have become increasingly concerned not only with GHGs but with all dimensions of their impact on the environment. Because mail is a crucial channel for many businesses to communicate with existing customers and to ﬁnd new ones, the environmental eﬀects of mail are extremely important to them. It...
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