Business Ethics

Where do phonebooks go to die?

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

I have a friend who berates anyone who so much as discards a usable piece of paper. Indeed, many of us try to be green. Yet, despite my personal efforts, I feel guilty when I am lumbered with the White and Yellow Pages because I feel responsible in some way. I do not want them, yet they come into my possession. Of course I recycle them, but that is a silly thing to say. No amount of recycling can undo the damage in terms of the wasted resources that were consumed in the production and distribution process.

The main photo above shows the left side of the foyer of a city apartment block. The photo below shows the right side. Hundreds of books that will remain orphaned. Is there no smarter way to handle this? Indeed there is, but in whose interest will it be? The publishers want to assure the advertisers that a certain amount of books are printed and distributed. It’s all about money. Yet, the official website of the publishers says that the company is carbon neutral. This is another distracting statement. Here is what I think of when people tell me that their organisation is carbon-neutral: I think of someone killing the neighbourhood children, and absolving themselves of the crime by saying that they had paid 200 couples in china to have another child each. 200 kids slaughtered, and 200 kids born, that makes it Murder-Neutral!

The better way would be for everyone with a phone number to be called by an electronic system, with the following announcement: ‘Hello, this is an automated call from. We are about to print next year’s phone books. Would you like us to send a copy to your home address? Press one for yes, and 2 for no.’

Additionally, phone bills, along with a general awareness campaign, can provide a website where people can log-in and opt-in to receive a copy.

If this method were adopted, we might learn that half the number of books need to be printed. Oh and by the way, those who pressed ‘one’ to request a copy to be sent to their home, they should also be asked if they would prefer the books to be on CD-ROM versus in paper format. Think of the savings!

Comments are closed.