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PIA Targets Costco’s Damaging Paper Claims

April 2, 2013  By

Michael Makin, CEO of the Printing Industries of America association, yesterday issued an open letter Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco Wholesale Corp., about an article to be published in The Costco Connection newsletter. The article, according to the PIA, includes several misconceptions about the impact of paper on the environment.

Makin’s open letter to Costco’s CEO comes just a few weeks after the PIA helped to end what it felt to be misleading claims leveled in Toshiba (No Print Day) and Google (Go Paperless 2013) marketing campaigns about poor environmental chains of responsibility in the printing and paper industries.

The following message from Michael Makin was sent on April 1 to the Printing Industries of America membership.

Dear Members:

This is not an April Fool’s joke. It has been brought to our attention today that the printing industry is under attack by yet another industry giant. Costco Wholesale Corp. is planning to distribute the April 2013 issue of The Costco Connection with an article titled “Good for the earth and business” by Carrie Madren. This article claims to be dedicated to green and sustainability but contains several serious misconceptions about the negative environmental impact of paper and the superior performance of electronic communication.

In an open letter to Costco Wholesale Corp. CEO Craig Jelinek today, I encouraged the organization to consider the facts about print. Printing is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprint with all other media requiring energy every time they are viewed and, additionally, most of the energy is from non-renewable fuels, whereas paper made in North America is made with at least 60 percent renewable energy.

I told Mr. Jelinek that the printing industry in this country employs almost one million people, many of whom are Costco customers. Presenting distortions of fact as Costco has done in their newsletter is a disservice to them.

Facts about our industry, with information for even more resources to dispel the common misconceptions about print, can be found in The Value of Print Flip-Book, available in the Printing Industries Press Online Store; or in a  digital version; and most recently as a mobile app for Apple, Android, and Blackberry users.

The Flip-Book is an invaluable tool that can be used to give responses to the common misconceptions about print, promote its effectiveness with statistics, discuss the importance of the printing industry and its large economic footprint, and refer to additional websites for more information.

Let’s all rally behind our industry and encourage Mr. Jelinek to correct the false claims in his April newsletter.

Michael Makin
CEO, Printing Industries of America

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