Greenwash is all around us, conflicting stories on climate change and the effect on our lives from melting icecaps to flooding plains is never far from the headlines.
But what of our marketing and its impact on the environment. Should we all rush to ditch our old ways and turn totally electronic and green?
I’m going to argue not!
Stop and think for a moment about what constitutes the environmental impact of various media. They will all use electricity at some point and natural resources at some point. When you consume a newspaper or outdoor advertisement you’ve paid for the resource and electricity. Let us say you pass that paper to a friend or the next person views the ad, they are then reading it in a totally green way i.e. zero environmental impact from sharing that initial carbon cost.
Now, think about sharing an internet ad on your social site, you’ve viewed it and paid your “green penalty” for viewing the content via electricity and natural resources. You share it to a friend and what happens? They pay again, and again and so forth!
Ok, so what about lifecycle of the product, your direct mail shot can be recycled, can your direct email? The “hardware” of your direct mail shot is paper, which if from sustainable forestation and responsible mills is very carbon effective (a tree spends its life absorbing c02 therefore making its primary manufacture neutral). The same cannot be said of your laptop or smartphone!!
I expect at this point I’m challenging a lot of assumptions for most of you and your thinking “show me the stats!” – there are plenty! Here is some information and statsfrom the respected website of Two Sides, (click here for more info).
“Industry research indicates that mail comprises 0.1% of total household CO2 emissions in Europe. The 14 kg of CO2 emitted is the equivalent of:
One 70 km car journey
Nine litres of milk
6.6 minutes of transatlantic flight”,
“2% of the UK’s current energy requirement is demanded by data centers today. Roughly the same as the airline industry”,
“Print and Paper comprises 1% or less of World Greenhouse Gas Emissions”,
“Half the UK’s household energy requirements could be needed to drive laptops and PCs in the next 10 years”,
“During 2009, 76.5% of mailed Direct Marketing material in the United Kingdom was disposed of into the recycling stream rather than landfill.”
“One e mail, with a 400kb attachment, sent to 20 people, is equivalent to burning a 100w lightbulb for 30 minutes.”
So, as marketing professionals where does this leave us?
Well quite simply we mustn’t be bowed by greenwash, as the above facts demonstrate, there is evidence to support whatever the side of the argument you are on.
In true futurON fashion and fitting neatly with my previous blogs, ( here ) it’s all in the mix and combining all the relevant technologies and methods to produce a coherent strategy. This will ensure the best return and very possibly the lowest carbon footprint
If you want to offset your carbon then plant a tree – just like a paper mill does!
For something a bit less dry but on a similar theme there are some fun Youtube videos for your delight!
My favourite is the Ninja executive!