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Saving magazines from the pulp

As more and more consumers wake up to the need for sustainability, businesses are looking inwards at what they can do to help.

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Paul Newman, brand director of Future’s home interest portfolio

Over the last few years, Future has been working to address its environmental impact and reduce this as much as possible through initiatives such as switching to paper wrapping for its magazines.

The latest initiative involves collecting unsold copies of newsstand magazines to reduce waste and is one that the business has been experimenting with for the last year.

According to Paul Newman, brand director of Future’s home interest portfolio, only 40-60% of newsstand magazines are sold. This can end up with significant amounts of unsold copies being pulped.

To address this issue, Future has decided to recover the extra copies and reuse them in a variety of ways – including delivering them with new issues as back copies or taking them to shows to promote the title.

We are working through the teething problems and have confidence we can get things running like clockwork before long

The initiative was first launched with Real Homes and Period Living is set to follow in March. These are the two home interest titles with the highest circulations and the widest distribution.

As well as benefitting the environment, Newman describes how this type of initiative can also help to boost sales. He says: “Consumer magazines are always under pressure for space in supermarkets so a knock-on benefit of doing this kind of promotion is giving sales a boost in the designated retail group we partner with, which hopefully helps us to protect our store listings in the long run.”

Newman explains how this process has not been without its challenges: “It’s hideously complicated and doesn’t always go to plan. UK magazine distribution is based around a number of regional depots of each distributing a chunk of the print run. Different companies serve different areas, so we rely on getting all the returns sent to a central point and then figuring out if we have enough.

“Unfortunately, bundles can get stuck in warehouses along the supply chain and never seen again. We had this problem with a recent issue of Period Living where our distributor Marketforce just couldn’t recover enough copies for us to reuse. But it’s still early days. We are working through the teething problems and have confidence we can get things running like clockwork before long.”

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