Going Green

Myth: Electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print and paper.

Fact: Not necessarily. E-media also has environmental impacts. 

Communications of all forms have some environmental impact. The “Go Paperless,” “Go Green,” and “Save Trees” are common themes as corporations and governments encourage the switch to electronic transactions and communications. However, “Going Green” is not always so black-and-white. Research from Two Sides shows that “8 in 10 U.S. consumers believe that cost savings are the driving force behind the ‘go paperless’ marketing hype.” Many consumers are also suspicious that the ‘save tress’ or ‘protect the environment’ campaigns will not actually do as they promise. It’s important to understand how both print and non-print forms of communication effect the environment. Here is research, conducted by Two Sides, that illustrates how e-media also leaves an environmental footprint.

  • It is estimated that small network equipment is American’s homes consumed more than $1 billion worth of electricity in 2012, equivalent to the output of three large (500 MW) coal fired power plants. This resulted in 5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions or the annual tailpipe emissions of 1.1 million vehicles. (National Resources Defense Council, 2013)
  • Data centers are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the United States. In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed as estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over—and are on-track to reach 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020. (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014)
  • A study by Two Sides found that half the leading Fortune 500 telecommunications companies, banks and utilities were making unsubstantiated claims about the environmental benefits of electronic billing. In response, Two Sides initiated a campaign to educate senior executives on the sustainability of print and paper and to encourage them to abandon misleading environmental claims. To date, over 30 companies have removed their environmental claims and several more are working with Two Sides to develop language that does not contain misleading or factually incorrect environmental claims about the use of the online transactions and communications. (Two Sides, 2015)

 

Article source: twosidesna.org | http://www.twosidesna.org/E-media-Also-Has-Environmental-Impacts

 

Written by PRS Team — June 13, 2016

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