Jun 212006

Environmentally Unsound

I received in the mail yesterday (by overnight priority mail, no less), a 400+ page prospectus from Mittal, a Dutch company in which I apparently own a few shares of stock through a managed mutual fund I’m part of. This book was BIG – well over 2 inches thick and big enough to have a binding strip instead of staples. And it had enough legalese in it to put anyone to sleep.

What did I do with it? After ranting about how silly it was to ever print such a thing for mass push distribution to an audience that largely doesn’t care about it — straight into the trash. With a big thud, of course.

What a ridiculous waste. Why print it on paper at all? Make it available online via pdf. Email shareholders or send them a postcard or leave an automated voicemail and ask them if they want a hard copy. Figure out which shareholders are in a managed fund, and send a single copy to the fund manager, since the individuals don’t even know they’re shareholders or don’t make decisions about individual stocks in the fund. Do something that costs less and doesn’t destroy trees that 99% of people will never read.

Shame on Mittal and their bankers, proudly displayed on the cover of the book — Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Credit Suisse, HSBC and Societe General.