The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018. It ensures the privacy of personal data of European consumers in order to meet the requirements of globalization trends and the rapidly changing communication technologies. It is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years and all businesses need to be prepared for it.
The regulation, which covers both online and "traditional" Direct Mail communication, extends the scope of data protection and limits flexibility to use data for legitimate business purposes. Data use and storage requirements are now much stricter. FEPE supports the view that personal privacy is of paramount importance and a basic right for all European citizens.
At the same time however, it is also important to enable the consumer to have a choice and getting the best out of the internal market. Direct Marketing plays an important role in this respect as it ensures that companies are able to inform customers of opportunities that are or will become available to them.
We therefore advocate for a balanced approach to be taken, which allows businesses to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with consumers, while ensuring the protection of their personal data.
The European Union is promoting the digital economy for economic modernisation and for generating sustainable growth and jobs.
Digital communication offers clear advantages in terms of speed, cost, and flexibility. Member companies of the paper value chain fully adopt and benefit from digital technologies.
But there is legitimate concern that the freedom of senders and recipients of paper based communication is being affected by policies that try to push digital communication (eg e-invoicing and e-procurement) not only on its own merits, but by actively suppressing paper communication.
FEPE is in contact with the European Commission and other institutions to ensure that the advantages and benefits of paper based communication are equally understood and promoted and that fair competition is maintained.
Keep Me Posted EU
As part of its efforts to protect the rights of consumers to receive paper based communication, FEPE was one of the founders of Keep Me Posted EU. This campaign promotes the citizen’s right to choose how they receive important information such as tax forms, election documents and bills and statements from service providers without disadvantage. The campaign is inspired by the UK campaign, Keep Me Posted UK and is directed towards the European Institutions. It gathers the support of consumer groups and charities which represent citizens who may be disadvantaged by a lack of choice or simply do not agree with it.
FEPE is a member of the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) and a signatory of the European Declaration on Paper Recycling.
FEPE and its members are continuously involved in improving the recyclability of paper. Today, almost 70% of the paper across Europe is collected and recycled. In fact it’s one of the most recycled materials of all.
Together with the other members of the European Paper Recycling Council, a Recycling Monitoring Report is published on an annual basis. The latest Recycling Monitoring Report is available at the FEPE Secretariat.
Further information on paper recycling can be found on the EPRC website.
EU Ecolabel for Envelopes
An EU Ecolabel with specific criteria for “converted paper products”, including envelopes, has been in the market since 2014. The validity of the current criteria has been prolonged until 31 December 2020, after which the criteria will be reviewed.
For further information on EU Ecolabels please visit the EU Ecolabel website or contact the FEPE Secretariat.
Promoting Paper and Mail
FEPE seeks opportunities to promote paper based communication. In April 2018 we were an official partner of Media Production Days at Messe Düsseldorf, an event dedicated to print related marketing. FEPE organised a workshop on Dialogue Marketing and was present with a booth to promote the envelope industry. The congress and exhibition were attended by 1,000 visitors and more than 80 exhibitors.
In around 35 lectures and workshops, the event provided a wealth of information on the topics of digital printing, integrated print communication, cross-media applications and the latest developments in mailing envelopes.
FEPE promotes printed direct mail, especially as targeted digital marketing comes under ever greater scrutiny in terms of its effectiveness. The benefits of direct mail are:
- Highly effective and visible in a cluttered digital world
- New technologies have increased the appeal of direct mail (online media are 60% more effective when combined with physical mail)
- 44% purchased an item online after having received a direct mail from their e-retailer
- Including a direct mail element in a multi-media compaign increases ROI by 12%.
FEPE is also an active member of the Two Sides organisation. Its aim is to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper and to dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why Print Media is an attractive, practical and sustainable method of communication (www.twosides.info).
Furthermore, FEPE is an active member of the Print Media Group (PMG). It comprises a cluster of industries forming the print media value chain – papermaking, paper converting, printing, publishing and marketing. It is a platform for print value chain members to meet and discuss relevant issues and agree common communications activities. For more information and statistics about the use of paper, you can download our Paper...What would we do without it? leaflet.
The group published a joint brochure titled “Print Media in Times of Change” (available from the FEPE Secretariat), which was officially launched and promoted at a workshop event organized on 14th November in Brussels, where communalities of print and digital media were discussed.
Postal & Mail issues
FEPE and its members are monitoring and contributing to changes affecting postal affairs, both at European (EU, CEN) and international (ISO, UPU) levels.
We are part of the European “Postal User Group”, which brings together various users of postal services to discuss issues and developments at stake and to communicate its concerns to the European Institutions.
Furthermore, FEPE is a member of EMIP, the European Mail Industry Platform. EMIP is a joint initiative of key stakeholders in the communications value chain from the production of the paper via transport, printing sorting and delivery to the “openability” of mail and the mail moment until the handling of waste. It provides expertise from all stakeholders in the written communications and mail value chain.
Its aim is to:
- stimulate growth in mail channel revenue
- make mail more effective
- remove cross border differences and barriers
- ensure the right perception of the contribution of mail
For further information please check out the EMIP report (2009) 'The Facts of our Value Chain. And visit http://www.emip.eu
As growth in e-commerce increases, FEPE sees this as an opportunity for the envelope industry. Below are some of the reasons why:
- More than 80% of all cross-border e-commerce items weigh less than 2 kg, and more than 50% weigh less than 500 grams. Given that postal services regard anything weighing less than 2 kg as "letter mail" this represents a great opportunity for the envelope industry.
- Light-weight, flat items sent via e-commerice can be sent in envelopes. This equates to a potential 9 billion items.
- 46% of online purchases fit in a standard letter box. A great opportunity considering that two thirds of online shoppers prefer their purchases to be delivered to their homes.
- Using envelopes can reduce weight and volume, and consequently cost.
- Envelopes fulfil sustainability requirements.
Studies and reports
Periodically FEPE commissions studies into envelope industry related topics.
In 2016 it published the European Direct Mail Market Report in collaboration with INTERGRAF (the European Federation for Print and Digital Communication). The report provided a strategic and economic approach for European direct mail printers, and formed the basis of a Direct Mail workshop. For a copy of the report, please contact the FEPE secretariat.
In 2017 FEPE commissioned the research consultants Copenhagen Economics to produce a report entitled The Future of the European Mail Market. The purpose was to provide FEPE members with a clear view on mail volume drivers and future scenarios. For further information on the findings of this report, please contact the FEPE secretariat.
In addition to its own studies, FEPE also shares research and reports from its members and related organisations.