Thank you to everyone who responded to my article “Streamlining, Savings and Sustainability: How to Reduce Co-op News Impacts?” from the March issue. I have enjoyed hearing your concerns and learning from you! You all are very conscientious of your impact on the environment and are willing to make changes, even though you have your preferences. Let’s take a look at what member-owners said.
One member-owner pointed out that North Coast Co-op should be using recycled paper. Indeed, we are! According to our printer, Western Web: “We use newspaper with the highest Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) content available. And, none of our paper mills convert trees into paper. Any content that is not PCW is mill waste, sawdust mostly.”
A couple of member-owners gave detailed feedback on what would make our website more user-friendly. Some things we were able to fix right away and others we are still working on. For example, we are working with our website developer to turn our blog into the Co-op News. Once we have this done, you will no longer need to open the entire document. You will be able to read one article at a time in a format that is easy to view on any device.
Still other member-owners pointed out the toxic and potentially harmful social environment we are creating with computers and modern technology. I too wondered about that. For now, cash outlay takes priority over costs that would be difficult to extract from our now normal daily technological dependency. I think it will be a topic of conversation further down the road, but does not currently affect our bottom line goals of reducing mailing and printing costs.
For some of you, you simply just don’t like spending more time on computers in order to read the Co-op News. I can totally relate. I spend the majority of my days staring at a screen and look forward to picking up a paper newsletter or something I can read away from my desk. At times, parting with paper feels like giving up an important historical and cultural tradition.
For others, limited access to computers and internet technology prohibits reading the Co-op News online. In addition, those living in remote and rural locations have minimal opportunities to shop at North Coast Co-op and the Co-op News is what keeps them connected. One member-owner even said, “I like that you mention the social aspects because for us as elders, it’s our social media.”
If we look strictly at the Member Survey responses, the choice is fairly clear. The question was: Given the information presented, how do you think you would you prefer to receive the Co-op News? a) Paper, mailed to your home; b) Paper, picked up in the store; c) Electronic, emailed to your inbox; d) Electronic, visit website; e) Other. Out of 57 respondents (that’s high for our monthly survey), 66% said you would still prefer the paper Co-op News—either picked up in store or mailed to your home—and 34% would prefer an email to your inbox or to visit our website.
It looks like we are not ready to give up the paper Co-op News yet, but enough of you are willing to pick it up in stores or receive an email notification that we can begin to see savings in both print, mailing, and environmental costs.
We will continue to mail the Co-op News to those who want it. You will see ads in this and next month’s Co-op News to “Opt In”. Please let us know that you would like to continue receiving the paper Co-op News to your home by contacting Bella Waters at (707) 502-3555 ext. 135 or send an email with subject line “Opt In” to email@example.com.
For those of you willing to pick up the Co-op News at one of our stores, you don’t need to do anything, but we would love it if you could provide your email address for reminders when the Co-op News is ready. You can sign up on our website and set your preferences, or you can send an email with subject line “Go Paperless” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Quite a few of you have already gone paperless, thank you!
Beginning with the July issue, we will mail the Co-op News only to those who have “opted in” by June 17. Changing the way we do things with something as long-standing as the Co-op News is nerve-wracking, but with your support, we believe we will have a positive impact on both the environment and the bottom line.
One final note, I was deeply moved by the outpouring of support for the value that the Co-op News brings to your lives. A couple of you indicated that the Co-op News makes you feel a part of the North Coast Co-op family. Thank you for your kind words and thank you for being a part of our Co-op family!