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Progress in the Competitive Agenda in the Postal and Delivery Sector

Progress in the Competitive Agenda in the Postal and Delivery Sector

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer

Regulation continues to be an important issue in the postal and delivery sector of the global economy. This latest volume of the series covers progress made in the competitive agenda in the industry. It is global in scope and addresses topics of great importance to scholars and practitioners of postal regulation and public sector economics.

Chapter 20: Bank of America, Mail, and the Environment

Lawrence G. Buc and Peter A. Soyka

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


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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