International petition against advertising magazines (2011)
I, Árpád Fekete have written a petition to many international supermarket
chains, and collected some signers for that petition at thepetitionsite.com.
I didn't know thepetitionsite.com yet, and I thought that it might give more
signers to my petition, but only 74 people signed it until I sent it to its
target (80 people signed when I closed the petition unsuccessfully). The reason
for not being successful was that I had not many environmentalist contacts or
English-speaking contacts either. However, I had still hope because I didn't
know how these things worked. After seeing that much more signers are not going
to appear, on October 31, 2011 (the day of Halloween and also the day when the
world population was estimated to reach 7 billion) I have sent the petition to
the email addresses of the supermarket chains (except Wal-mart), but none had
answered. Although this petition was unsuccessful in its time, I have saved it
here for later reference.
Árpád Fekete - Inside of my petition sent to international supermarket chains
before October 31, 2011 (plain text)
May 20, 2012 (HTML)
This International Supermarket Chain (the name will be substituted).
Dear Representative of this International Supermarket Chain,
Please read this entire letter and forward it to the CEO or to a similar decision-maker!
Dear CEO or other free decision-maker of this International Supermarket Chain,
Please read this entire letter and think about it. Your command could change the world.
We the undersigned, know that in many parts of the world, the supermarkets
regularly send advertising magazines or flyers into the postal mailboxes of
the people, even into ours. These advertising stuff are very often go into the
dustbin without being read, so wastage happens. The scale of this wastage is
big, so big that it can alter the state of our environment. Much wood, water,
chemicals and paint is used in vain for these advertising magazines. This is
probably not sustainable in the long term, because the wood may be needed for
heating if peak oil comes and there will be less energy sources for mankind.
(If you're not convinced about the severity of environmental problems, please
read Lester R Brown's book Plan B 4.0 - Mobilizing to save civilization.)
One question remained: when to start decrease the wastage: even now or when the
crisis comes. We agree that it is worthy to change to a more sparing lifestyle
as soon as possible, with a gradual accustoming to that, because if it has to
be done abruptly, that may be dangerous.
From this introduction, you may already know that we would like your
supermarket chain to decrease the wastage of material used for producing
advertising magazines or flyers, and we would like this for environmentalist
reasons: for your descendants' and our descendants' environment. But it may
immediately come to your mind that what is good for the environment may be bad
for the interests of your supermarket chain. In this letter we would like to
give you clever advice on how to achieve positive changes with no or with
little money loss, or maybe even with some money saved (actually, the writer
of this petition would gladly accept 1% of the money saved this way :-) ).
We would like you to answer to our petition first by a private letter in one
month from the time you received it. In that, you can write that you are still
thinking on the subject. Then if you actually took some of our advice or made
some similar sustainable decision, please let us know, and prove it by an
online statement to the press. From that an article could be written together
with the other supermarkets' answers (a statistics may be made about how much
supermarkets actually did something for this petition).
Now let's continue with the actual advice; you may already observe some of it,
but this is a template petition which will go to many supermarket chains
internationally, so please forgive if some points are irrevelant:
1. Paint: some advertising magazines use too much paint, and paint the blank
areas of their magazines black, for example. Please don't do that, leave it as
the color of the paper instead. If you think it's really necessary, you can
still use pale and cheaper colors. You can still make the magazine peculiar to
you in style, and you can get more attention with strong colors only if you use
them rarely. Saving paint probably saves money.
2. Metal staple: some advertising magazines use metal staples to keep the
magazine in one. Please don't do that, as it would be more difficult to recycle
the paper. As it seems there is no loss in sparing the staples, avoiding them
would probably save money. There is no need for glue either.
3. Paper size: well, you may already optimize the size of your advertising
magazines. We still suggest that you should fine tune them again and again,
because the paper consts money, and who knows if you pay for it more than you
win by it? In this, we suggest the following: you should advertise two kinds of
things only: goods in auction because you want to sell them fast (actually,
this might do good to the environment as well), or goods which are new to that
supermarket (this news might be even interesting to people). Sparing out other
advertisements (like the cost of bread and meat in some magazines!) might spare
money. Or do you think people like to spend their time reading those extra
pages in the advertising magazines which tell how much does the basic food
cost? Whoever really needs to read that probably doesn't make the supermarkets
4. Recycled paper: you could use it for your magazines. Well, the cost of
recycled paper might be higher, so it would not save money, but it would be
modish so it might win the sympathy of your customers. At least, it would be
good if you wouldn't print the magazines on shiny paper.
5. Lessen competition: if you consider that you should publish bigger
advertising magazines because the concurrency also publishes bigger ones, then
we suggest that you should make an arrangement with other supermarkets in the
questioned area for all of you to publish smaller ones. The writer of this
petition, for example, would gladly be a mediator in some of these talks in a
small part of his free time, but it's probable that you could ask the help of
local environmental organizations as well.
6. Target only potential customers: if someone writes onto his mailbox that
he/she doesn't want advertising from supermarkets, then he/she shouldn't get
it. In practice, this is not so in many places, because the spreaders get money
after the number of magazines and flyers they have spreaded, and they want to
get more money in less time. In order to change this, you should change the
system of payments to the spreaders. This should be done not only at your
supermarket chain, but also in the others in a country to be really effective.
If there's enough supermarket chains willing to do this, the writer of this
petition would like to help in that in part of his limited time. This would
probably save money. Additional idea: better plan which parts of a city get an
advertising magazine - people may not want to go far to buy things anyway.
7. Make better estimates: if the number of advertising magazines needed is not
well estimated, it may happen that they will be burnt by the spreaders at the
end of the day (actually, someone who said he was a spreader has told this to
the writer of this petition). Thus we suggest always requesting back the
not-spreaded advertising magazines (they may be recycled anyway, and better
estimates can be made from them).
8. Additional ideas: you might also want to consider how often do you spread
the advertising magazines, whether you put them on the internet, whether you
sign the local goods in them, and others which you may know better.
It is not by chance that we wrote to you, decision-makers of international
supermarket chains, and not to supermarket chains in the UK only. We suggest
that you enforce the mentioned sustainable changes in all of your supermarkets
throughout the world. If you think it more wise not to do these changes all at
once, that is OK. We are happy to be informed about any positive change you
have done, maybe in a statement to the press, maybe in a sustainability report.
The Petition Signers
Árpád Fekete - Background information to the signers of my petition
December 16, 2011 (plain text)
July 8, 2012 (HTML)
Target: Tesco, Carrefour, Walmart,
Lidl, SPAR, Auchan, Metro, Aldi, Plus,
and maybe other international supermarket chains from
[corresponding WikiPedia list]
Sponsored by: Arpad Fekete
In some parts of the world the supermarkets send advertising magazines or
flyers into the mailboxes of people regularly - many times against the will of
the people. These advertising stuff are very often go into the dustbin without
being read, so wastage happens. The scale of this wastage is big, so big that
it can alter the state of our environment. Much wood, water, chemicals and
paint is used in vain for these advertising magazines. This is not
environmentally friendly, and probably not sustainable in the long term,
because the wood may be needed for heating if there will be less energy sources
for mankind. (If you're not convinced about the severity of environmental
problems, please read Lester R Brown's book Plan B 4.0 - Mobilizing to save
civilization.) One question remained: when to start decrease the wastage: even
now or when the crisis comes. I think it is worthy to change to a more sparing
lifestyle as soon as possible, with a gradual accustoming to that, because if
it has to be done abruptly, that may be dangerous in my opinion.
I, Arpad Fekete have already wrote a similar petition to Hungarian supermarket
chains in 2010, but only with the use of my own old homepage and email, and
signed by only me. From the results, I wrote an article which was published
http://humusz.hu //deep link part removed
The supermarket chain SPAR answered too late, so I have not written it into the
mentioned article, but that may have been the only real success of my petition
- maybe they have done it because of me, maybe they have done it because of
other reasons, but they decreased the size of their flyers, and they have
proven it by a statement to the press:
http://www.spar.hu // deep link part removed
Now I'm going to try a similar petition, and I'm expecting similar results: I
would like to hear real environmental decisions from supermarket chains, which
they should prove by statements to the press, and then I would write an article
from it, if some media allows it. The site boss of theenvironmentsite.org was
previously quite fond and allowed me to write some articles there, maybe that
time he would be quite fond again and allow such an article.
This time, however, I am going to write to the email addresses or web contact
forms of international supermarket chains, and I hope my petition would meet
with more decision-makers.
On October 31, 2011 I close this petition and send it to its target. I'm going
to inform you about the results later.
Dear Signers! On October 31, I have sent the petition in email to the public
email addresses of its targets (except Walmart whose contact form required an
U.S. citizen, and Plus which has passed), and to some more international
supermarket chains instead of the former two. They didn't answer anything
meaningful until today, December 16, although I wrote them that they should
answer in one month. Thus it seems that this petition was unsuccessful; and we
should try again later if we will have more power. Until then, you could
probably help the cause by thinking on that and sharing your thoughts, even
with me. Thank you for your interest. This petition is now closed.