By Colin Crummy
A tax on covermounts is inevitable if magazine publishers ignore greater Government and consumer pressure to recycle, according to Hello! publishing director Sally Cartwright.
Speaking at the PPA Magazines 2006 conference on Tuesday, Cartwright said that although efforts were being made to minimise waste, polybags and plastic packaging on magazines were still going to landfill, leaving the industry in danger of being labelled environmentally unfriendly.
Cartwright said: "It comes down to one thing. In an increasingly electronic age we have to ensure magazines are seen as an environmental product, and make sure this is a reality and readers are aware that this is a reality.
"Otherwise, there’s a danger that printed media will be seen as damaging to the environment. We can’t afford to even be seen as this; so act now and have a great deal less to worry about later."
Cartwright said publishers should consider sourcing their paper from environmentally sustainable forests, recycling printed materials in the office and all unsolds, as well as encourage readers to do the same with their copies.
She added: "I believe we publishers will have to pay an additional tax or levy every time we covermount a magazine to cover the additional cost and that will not be good for the bottom line."
Peter Phippen, BBC Worldwide managing director, added that business leaders had a duty to act responsibly and recognised it was "just good practice" to address ethical issues.
He said that consumers were increasingly concerned about both company products and ethos, and that any longterm business should involve an environmental approach.
"Hubris in business has always been one of the most destructive forces," he said. "Disdain for environmental impact equals one form of hubris."
The PPA has entered into a commitment with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to increase the proportion of sold magazines that are recycled from its current estimated 40 per cent to 50 per cent by 2007, 60 per cent by 2010 and 70 per cent by 2013, a target Cartwright believed was "achievable".