Many businesses are turning their attention to reducing their carbon footprint and positively impacting the planet, but one area of the business that tends to get overlooked is marketing. How you can start to reduce your ‘digital’ carbon footprint?
The Carbon Impact of Marketing
In today’s world, more of us are spending our time online, whether that’s working, browsing social media, or shopping on the web. Businesses are also moving the bulk of their marketing online as it’s more cost-effective and one of the best ways to directly reach and engage with their target audience.
A common misconception businesses have is that their digital activities don’t physically impact the climate, unlike more traditional forms of marketing such as flyers.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Carbon Contributors of Your Marketing
The internet needs a substantial and ever-growing physical infrastructure to support it. This includes the millions of kilometres of undersea cables that connect cities across the world, the large servers that process and store data for some of our favourite websites and the water cooling systems that are required to keep servers cool.
That physical infrastructure is often forgotten about but actually has a huge impact on our environment.
The internet was responsible for around 3.7% of global carbon emissions as of 2019, which massively increased during the pandemic due to more people working from home and being unable to shop in person.
Not only do the facilities that house servers to fuel our digital habits effect the environment, but the devices we use to access the internet do too.
These devices need large cabling networks to support them and, the materials our devices are made, usually rare minerals and metals, have to be mined and processed. All of which negatively impact our planet. Not to mention the amount of toxic and radioactive waste that is produced when those devices are no longer needed.
As you can see, although you might not think your marketing has an impact on the environment, it is a huge carbon polluter.
On top of this, everything you are doing with your marketing requires electricity, and even if your office is running on clean energy, are the social media networks you use, your website, and email hosted on green-powered servers?
Tracking a Campaigns Impact
If you’re looking to reduce the carbon impact your marketing has on the environment, you first need to understand what your carbon footprint is as a business.
But how do you do this for digital campaigns?
A brilliant tool for calculating your digital carbon footprint is ‘The AdGreen Carbon Calculator’.
The easy-to-use tool allows you to paint a picture of the carbon created from digital graphics, audio projects, videos and so on.
You will quickly be able to see which of your digital campaigns and marketing activities are producing the most carbon and make the necessary changes to reduce your carbon footprint going forward.
How To Offset Your Carbon
Reading about the impact your marketing can have on the environment has probably shocked you, it did for me.
But what can you do about it?
In today’s world, your business needs a digital presence to survive so it’s necessary for you to continue your digital marketing activities, but there are a few ways for your business to offset its carbon. This includes:
- Being selective about the tech providers you work with. Look at their environmental policies and the action they take around sustainability.
- Switch to 100% renewable energy.
- Be mindful of the number of newsletters you send. Think quality rather than quantity - don't be afraid to purge stale leads from your list!
- Partner with organisations such as 1% For The Planet, and donate a portion of your profits to environmental charities/campaigns.
- Streamline your website. Remove any unnecessary pages, plug-ins and large integrations to reduce load speed and bandwidth usage (this will also help with you're SEO).
- Work with carbon offsetting and tree planting initiatives to balance out the carbon you're releasing. We love to use Ecologi!
- Outsource your marketing to companies that help you achieve this... such as ourselves 😉
What Greener Marketing Means for Your Brand and the Planet
Today’s consumers are much more environmentally aware and want to work with brand who are too.
By making a conscious effort to make your marketing greener, you could be attracting a wider audience who want to work with climate positive brands like you.
Having strong sustainability policies would be what sets you apart from your competitors too, again boosting sales.
It also shows you’re going above and beyond to positively impact our planet vs greenwashing, something many companies are guilty of.
Not only can it have an impact on your sales and audience, but you’ll also be doing your part for the planet, helping reduce the substantial amount of carbon that is created each year from digital activities.