There is a kind of backwards idea that has developed that has lead people to believe that email is more “green” than print. What these people fail to consider are the massive amounts of energy are consumed by each facility to cool and run their computers and servers. 62 trillion spam emails are sent each year, which produces the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as using 2 billion gallons of gas. Despite this, businesses continue to move all of their business online as if it is synonymous with “green.”
In reality, printing advertisements can often be far “greener” than emailing them. Over the past 25 years energy consumption from the United States’ pulp and paper industry has decreased by 42%, despite an increase in demand. The energy used by an average data center could power 25,000 households, and online newspapers produce 20% more CO2 than their printed counterparts. Responsible forest management has made huge strides over the decades, and many experts believe it to be one of the best and least expensive ways to fight climate change. Additionally, the pulp and paper industry has been aware of its environmental impact for far longer than email has even existed, which now accounts for 63% of all paper waste being recycled. US mills generate two-thirds of their energy on site from renewable biomass, leading to 77% of the nation’s biomass being generated by the paper industry. This means that the renewable energy created by the paper industry is greater than that of all of America’s solar and wind generators combined.
Besides the environmental advantages, direct mail campaigns are downright more effective than email or online marketing. Advertisers in the U.S. spend approximately $167 a person in direct mail, which yields them $2,095 in revenue (about 13 dollars made for every dollar spent). Print ad inserts are so effective that they cause 52% of readers to visit the company’s website. This is an incredibly high number, especially when compared against the number of emails that go directly to spam folders, and those that don’t are frequently deleted without ever being opened, meanwhile 8 out of 10 houses read or scan the mail sent to their home. Due to this, responses to email marketing have dropped 57%, while direct mail responses have increased by 14%.
Commercial printing companies should have some of these facts and statistics close at hand for the next time a client only wants a few copies of something because, “The majority of the campaign will be done online.” By laying out the very practical benefits of print marketing, it should be easy for printing companies to sway their clients into purchasing larger orders. Even family friendly companies that do not like up-selling should be able to comfortably talk to their clients when what they are offering will truly be of benefit to the client’s business.
Forestry is viewed by experts as the most sustainable of all the primary industries that supply America’s energy and materials. For many years chopping down trees was viewed as bad for the environment, but the high level of sustainability means that more wood should be chopped, not less, in order to truly affect climate change.