Customer Wants to Ditch Print for Email? Consider the Cheeseburger

By | February 13, 2011

Want a gold mine of factoids to dissuade your print customers from defecting to email? Check out Two Sides, a European initiative much like Print Grows Trees, Know the Facts?, or other U. S. –based initiatives created to defend the environmental integrity of print.

Currently, Two Sides is making news for going after European banks, telecoms, and utilities for greenwashing in their statements about e-billing. If these U.K. heavy hitters don’t change their ways — at least providing substantiation for their claims — Two Sides intends to go after them in court. Lots of lessons there for U. S. marketers, too!

But the site is also a wealth of great data for counteracting the value of email as an environmental alternative to print. As I poked around, I found three factoids I couldn’t help but pass along. If this doesn’t get your clients questioning conventional wisdom about print versus e-media, I’m not sure what will!

  • 2% of the UK’s current energy requirement is demanded by data centers today. Roughly the same as the airline industry. [1]
  • One email with a 400k attachment, sent to 20 people, is equivalent to burning a 100w light bulb for 30 minutes. [2]
  • 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 five cheeseburgers. [3]

These data are from the United Kingdom, but the point transcends geographic location. Not only are these terrific data to put in front of your customers, but I sure hope U. S. marketers are paying attention to the issue Two Sides is raising about greenwashing. After all, the U.S. has greenwashing laws, too!

[1] BBC, “Costing the Earth: Global Warming,” April 2009

[2] BBC, “Costing the Earth: Global Warming,” April 2009

[3] CEPI Sustainability Report (2009)

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