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Along with reducing paper waste associated with paper coupons, Chicago-based Unicous Marketing said yesterday it plans to plant one tree for every 100 EZ-PIC coupons redeemed in stores nationwide. The earth-friendly pledge was made in honor of Earth Day 2008.
The Earth Day charitable program is running in partnership with American Forests -- a world leader in planting trees for environmental restoration and a pioneer in the science and practice of urban forestry.
Many leading national brands have used EZ-PIC paperless coupons, including Borden, Bumble Bee, Land O'Lakes, McCormick, and Ocean Spray. The coupons are found on the shelves of more than 650 stores nationally, at retailers like Bi-Lo, Big Y, Coborn's, Food City, and Kings. (A case study detailing Bi-Lo's work with Unicous appears in the April 1, 2007 issue of Progressive Grocer magazine.)
Since November 2006, EZ-PIC coupons have more than doubled their in-store presence, according to the company.
Some retailers see their partnerships with EZ-PIC as part of their own green initiatives. "Not only is EZ-PIC an effective promotional tool, it's the right thing for our business as Bi-Lo works to minimize our impact on the environment," said Mike Mannion, director of sales planning, in a statement. "Our partnership with Unicous is an important part of Bi-Lo's green initiative." (EZ-PIC is a brand of Unicous Marketing.)
Each year nearly 1 million trees are cut down to print paper coupons, according to Unicous. In that process, millions of gallons of fresh water are contaminated, greenhouse gases are released, and tons of paper is forced into the waste stream, the company claims. One million trees is the equivalent of approximately 2,500 acres of trees -- or clear-cutting urban parks such as New York City's Central Park, it said.