We asked Graham Prichard to give us some insight into why the National Trust required a greener approach and how Advanced Direct Mail had been instrumental in making the changes from traditional poly wrapping on their mailings to a 100% compostable magazine wrapper…

ADM has helped the National Trust for over 9 years now.  Working  closely with  Graham Prichard (print and production manager), we have been able to help them develop a more sustainable and greener approach to their direct mail projects.

A few words on your career

41 years in print & publishing, starting straight out of 6th form, I didn’t make it to university.

Stumbled into print, with some vague notion about wanting to work in journalism but found printing to be fascinating. It was a time just before the great change of desktop publishing and digital workflows, so learning about all the different elements that went into preparing magazines for print and the technical understanding of press technology was really exciting.

My career has taken me to both sides of the Atlantic with printers and into publishing environments, as poacher turned gamekeeper. As much as print is a mature industry, I’ve never stopped learning, there’s always something new to get your head around.

Name your favourite National Trust project?

The National Trust handbook – It’s an enormous logistical challenge.

What’s your biggest compliment?

‘Couldn’t have done that better myself’ – A former boss, who thought he was the best print production director at the time!

What triggered the National Trust to choose a bioplastic, compostable magazine wrapper?

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, brought the subject of single-use plastic into such stark focus, it made everybody sit up and take notice. The Trust has always had the environment as part of its cause and we were well down the road of looking at these things but there was a huge acceleration in that programme as a result of public opinion changing.

Would you consider this a breakthrough in terms of sustainable mailing (or a step on the road)?

It’s a step on the road, as opposed to a breakthrough I think.

Does the National Trust have an end goal?

Considering its options. The biodegradable magazine wrapper does offer a solution to single-use plastic for mailing but we are using a food product here, albeit the waste part of the industry but as we have seen with the likes of palm oil, once everybody jumps on the bandwagon does this mean that we start using a product that was intended for food stuff?

National Trust – are they leaders or followers in terms of sustainable mailing?

I think we are leading the way here, as the mailing is so large and we’re one of the first adopters of this wrapper. The feedback from members has been very positive and we’ve had lots of enquiries about who supplied the material and how could members influence other magazines to make a similar change.

Was there a major cost implication?

Yes, it’s almost double the price of traditional poly wrap but that shouldn’t be a reason not to make a change if it benefits the environment.

What advice would you have for other organisations considering this change?

Not sure I can answer this, other than asking the question, ‘how much do you care for the environment?’. To say you don’t, or to put profit before the environment, isn’t acceptable. Consider what the other options are, such as paper wrapping or even naked, there are choices out there.

What sort of feedback have you received from National Trust members?

Very positive, they were pleased to see us make such a quick change this year.

Finally, what is your favourite National Trust site?

Very hard to pick just one, I have good memories of all the Trust places I’ve visited, there’s so much variety. Most of the time it’s the last one visited that sticks in the mind. On that basis, the last place visited was Corfe Castle and what a truly magnificent ruin that is!

This interview/acticle was written in association with: