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Back in the GDPR

All that GDPR stuff was a bit of a pain, wasn't it?

I didn’t give it much thought until, earlier this month, I began to receive a trickle of emails (that became a flood) and realised I ought to review Forest's communications policy.

In practise our mailing list fell into three groups: those who had subscribed voluntarily via our existing website, those who had subscribed voluntarily via our old website and had had their data transferred to the 'new' website, and those who had been been added to our mailing list by virtue of attending one of our events.

We had subscribers in 33 countries. The UK led the way, obviously, but we also had a significant number in the USA. Curiously the overwhelming majority of our US subscribers were in California. I'm not sure why.

Anyway I took advice and the received wisdom was that we should err on the side of caution and invite all our subscribers (some of whom went back at least ten years) to re-consent to being on our mailing list. (Consent is key, apparently, and if you transfer or add data there's no proof of consent.)

So that's what we did. The numbers took a bit of a hit but I'm not unhappy with the result. The mailing list was long overdue a good spring clean and if the outcome is a smaller but more engaged group of subscribers I can't see we're any worse off.

My favourite GDPR email (by far) was sent by Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club. Josie wrote:

Dear all,

This is just a note to let you know about privacy and our mailing list.

Our 'privacy policy' is pretty simple:

1. Our mailing list consists of people who have asked to be on our mailing list, in order to be informed of our work.

2. We only use this mailing list to inform people of our work. We do not share it with any third parties or use it for any other purposes.

3. If anyone no longer wants to be on our mailing list, they can click on the 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the email, and they will no longer be on our mailing list.

That's it!

All the best,

Josie Appleton


In light of Josie’s email, and subsequent reports that I've read online, I’ve come to the conclusion that there was no need to invite every subscriber to re-consent because, by virtue of the fact that many had subscribed voluntarily, we already had their consent.

Nevertheless we are where we are and our new sign up form now gives subscribers the option to receive newsletters from one or more of the following - Forest UK, Forest Ireland and Forest EU. All you have to do is click here and declare your preference.

If you haven't done so already you may wish to pop across and visit our website now.

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