Saturday, August 27, 2016

"When the government planned to make it easier for mutual funds to quit mailing investors billions of pages of reports each year, the paper industry got involved"


American mutual funds estimate they spend more than $300 million every year chewing up 2 million trees to print and send investors 440 million densely written reports—which many recipients promptly toss out unread.


So last year, regulators proposed what to them was an obvious adaptation to the age of Venmo, bitcoin and mobile banking: make it easier for funds to provide certain records electronically.

But what was logical progress to some loomed as a menace to others—notably the American Forest & Paper Association and the Envelope Manufacturers Association. The two industries’ jointly funded group Consumers for Paper Options rallied retiree and consumer groups to join their campaign, decrying what they call the government’s “rush to digitize.” They persuaded a bipartisan coalition of politicians—especially from the paper-heavy state of Maine—to threaten legislation blocking the rule.