Carbon Footprints (Across your Inbox)

April 27, 2009
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It’s easy to see how junk mail could impact the environment – those printed direct mail pieces that you find as inserts, mailers and flyers may never make it to the recycle bin so they end up in the regular trash… millions of trees, used to convey expensive, unread marketing messages.

We all know that SPAM is the junk mail equivalent in the eMarketing world, and while it’s easy to think that the toll on Mother Nature isn’t there – it truly does have an impact. Maybe as a nod to Earth Day (April 22, 2009) eMarketer ran an article entitled, Spam Harms Environment. The article cites a McAfee study, The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam Report, some of the findings include:

= 33 billion kilowatt-hours of energy are used to transmit, process and filter SPAM messages – equal to the electricity used in 2.4 million US homes or the greenhouse gas emissions of 3.1 million cars using 2 billion gallons of gas

= Nearly 80% of energy waste created is from end-users deleting spam from their inboxes

= The average greenhouse gas emission associated with a single spam message is only 0.3 grams of CO2 – a low number, but extrapolated out on an annual basis is equal to driving around the planet 1.6 million


It’s easy to see how junk mail could impact the environment – those printed direct mail pieces that you find as inserts, mailers and flyers may never make it to the recycle bin so they end up in the regular trash… millions of trees, used to convey expensive, unread marketing messages.

We all know that SPAM is the junk mail equivalent in the eMarketing world, and while it’s easy to think that the toll on Mother Nature isn’t there – it truly does have an impact. Maybe as a nod to Earth Day (April 22, 2009) eMarketer ran an article entitled, Spam Harms Environment. The article cites a McAfee study, The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam Report, some of the findings include:

= 33 billion kilowatt-hours of energy are used to transmit, process and filter SPAM messages – equal to the electricity used in 2.4 million US homes or the greenhouse gas emissions of 3.1 million cars using 2 billion gallons of gas

= Nearly 80% of energy waste created is from end-users deleting spam from their inboxes

= The average greenhouse gas emission associated with a single spam message is only 0.3 grams of CO2 – a low number, but extrapolated out on an annual basis is equal to driving around the planet 1.6 million times

I’m a sometimes tree-hugger (if it’s a friendly tree) but even I was astonished by the impact a couple deletes make. As a marketer, you have to appreciate the sheer volume of spam and how it impacts your open rates and deters attention your message deserves. So plant a tree for eMarketing – send a valuable message!

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