In honor of International Day of Climate Action (October 24), a group of law professors have announced the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste, which seeks to address the routine and indiscriminate use of paper-based flyers, newsletters, offprints and postcards by law professors and law schools. Most of this material is discarded without ever being read. However, law schools continue to produce and distribute these materials in an effort to increase or maintain their national and international rankings.
Continuing this practice is unconscionable in the current era, given the availability of electronic marketing options. Limiting or eliminating reliance on paper-based materials will not only reduce the destruction of forests, it will also reduce carbon emissions generated as part of the printing and transportation processes.
Given the competitive nature of higher education, it is unlikely that individual law schools will act on their own initiative to stop or significantly curtail paper-based marketing for fear of risking their rankings. However, positive results may be obtained by coordinating actions across numerous law schools.
Individual faculty members as well as law schools both inside and outside the United States are therefore invited to join the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste by emailing Prof. S.I. Strong (email@example.com) to indicate their support. The names of individual law professors and institutions who have adopted the Pledge will be published on a webpage housed at Pace University. That webpage is regularly updated to show increased support for this initiative.
The language of the Pledge is as follows:
We, the undersigned, hereby pledge to reduce academic marketing waste, individually and institutionally, by limiting or eliminating the production and transmission of paper-based marketing materials and/or by encouraging the relevant decision makers at our institutions to adopt actions and polices consistent with that goal. Reducing academic marketing waste can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to: (1) reducing the size of paper-based marketing materials (eg, replacing newsletters with postcards); (2) reducing the frequency of paper-based marketing initiatives; (3) adopting an opt-in rather than opt-out approach to paper-based mailing initiatives; (4) replacing some or all paper-based marketing with electronic or other forms of marketing.
Please feel free to forward this message to anyone at your institution or in your network who you think might be interested in joining the Pledge. The current signatories can be seen here -