Many brands continue to migrate marketing spend from print to digital in the face of environmental arguments against paper. But digital communication is far from being environmentally neutral.
Email marketing has a huge carbon footprint, with an average email generating 0.3g of CO2e (the carbon dioxide equivalent), going up to 50g for an email with big attachments. 1 Considering the vast number of marketing emails that are sent out (because they’re seen as an easy, low-cost way to reach target audiences) and the number of those that go straight into the ‘Junk’ folder or are deleted without reading, it’s clear that many of them are wasted.
This is not to say that print doesn’t have a carbon footprint. In comparison, a printed mailer has an average footprint of 20g of CO2 according to various postal services reports. However, the majority of this isn’t generated during production, it’s through its transportation. And while there have been steps towards reducing CO2 from print’s distribution, by introducing electronic vehicles, for example, there is still more that can be done. Having acknowledged that both print and digital communications have a carbon footprint, it’s now a question of adopting more sustainable practices to reduce that footprint.