Today, April 22, 2018 is Earth Day. It is a day dedicated to environmental awareness and conservation. Considering this fact, we wanted to highlight a few ways that eCommerce merchants the world over are helping the earth – every day of the year!
So, Congratulations – your eCommerce store is helping the planet!
“But…How? What have I done already? Do my efforts still count even though I drive a gas-guzzling SUV?”
You will be happy to know that the answer to all the above is “yes” even if you drive a big old guzzling SUV! So, how exactly is eCommerce saving the earth?
The Short Answer Is…
The short answer: eCommerce doesn’t use paper! Why does this matter? Paper, naturally, is used for physical catalogs – you may recall receiving one from Sears or Macy’s many years back. Those catalogs were huge and contained hundreds or even thousands of unique products. But thanks to the internet, business have figured out that it’s quicker, easier, and cheaper to email shoppers a catalog than it is to physically mail them one.
Furthermore, paper production is toxic to the environment. Cutting down trees (deforestation) releases greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) and other chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, which contribute directly to acid rain. We all learned in elementary school that trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Therefore, it’s important to preserve as many of them as we can.
Just to Be Clear:
Now just to be clear, we are not in the business of shaming people who need to use paper as part of their business. Likewise, trees are an important part of the construction and furniture industry. But we do support sustainable practices. So, by not using paper to mail shoppers a physical catalog, eCommerce merchants are effectively reducing their carbon footprint and making the world a better place.
What Difference Does A Digital World Make?
It’s impossible to measure the impact every eCommerce merchant has on the environment. However, we can get a pretty good idea of the difference made by not using trees, by analyzing the theoretical paper needs of one specific company; Amazon. So, to get a better picture of the situation, let’s imagine that Amazon had to send a physical catalog to every single one of its unique visitors.
A typical catalog is 11.1 inches in length by 9 inches in width. The Amazon site has over 552 million products – each of which would need space on a page. Now, to be fair plenty of these items would be duplicated across dozens of different sellers, but the point still stands. That’s because it would be over 5.26 million pages long! So, it would take years to review before placing an order. But that is not all, this behemoth of a catalog would weigh over 29,000 pounds! It would need a tractor trailer, a forklift – and even a crane – just to complete the delivery!
All of that is before we consider the negative impact on the earth itself!
The Environmental Impact:
Such a behemoth of a catalog would have a massive environmental impact. Just how massive would it be? To start, it would take 36 trees just to print one catalog! But it gets worse because 3.93 billion trees would be needed to ensure every unique visitor could receive a catalog! In other words, 8.75 million acres worth of trees would be needed for the effort. That is equivalent to 13,671 square miles! The simple fact is that it would be totally unsustainable to do this.
But that’s not where the story ends. Because email truly makes all the difference in the world!
The Impact Of An Email!
Let’s imagine, for a moment, we live in a world where email just wasn’t a thing, and snail mail dominates the day despite the existence of the internet. Thus, every time a merchant wanted to contact a shopper, they would need to print and mail a physical letter. What would that look like in terms of paper consumption?
According to Conservatree, one tree produces 8,333 sheets of copy paper. That might appear to be more than you could use in a month. But imagine if you needed to print a single page every time you wanted to send one of the following as a letter:
- Cart Abandonment
- Search Recovery
- Post Purchase
- Welcome Series
How quickly do you think your business would use 8,333 sheets of paper? It would happen quicker than you think! Thankfully, in the digital age, you don’t need to do that – this saves the earth from a lot of stress! Therefore, it’s worth mentioning your businesses inadvertent environmental conservation efforts to shoppers. Because…
Consumers Care About the Earth!
According to a study conducted by Unilever, a third of consumers prefer sustainable, earth-friendly brands. What this really means is that many shoppers prefer to spend their money at businesses which promote their commitment to environmental sustainability. There are countless ways to go about doing that. But the simplest thing you can do for your business? Include the fact that emails save trees, right in your emails!
Seriously, a simple line such as:
“Save trees, send an email!”
A simple line, like that, included in an email footer, can have an enormous impact on how shoppers view your business! The best thing about this is that it goes well with every email your business sends shoppers!
At Datacrushers, we are committed to keeping the earth clean through sustainable business practices. In fact, 50% of the energy used to power our business comes from renewable sources! Within a few years, that figure will be 100%!
Aside from helping the environment by keeping our paper and electricity use as conservative as possible, we strive to help our clients do the same as well! In fact, our brand-new Email Marketing Automation Suite helps eCommerce merchants save time and energy through its streamlined integration with the rest of the Datacrushers Revenue Discovery Platform. You can learn more about how our Email Marketing Automation Suite can help your business practice sustainability while growing, by clicking here.