Carbon Zero Campaigns: Measuring an Email Campaign’s Impact on the Environment

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We (obviously) love email. Email not only was the most popular online activity of 2012, but it also has higher click-through rates, conversion rates and ROI than other channels. As a result, email marketing has become an important initiative of many companies and freelancers.

With the help of our email testing and analytics tools, our customers are able to unleash the power of this successful medium. Our unique perspective gives us a view of the engagement that our and our customers’ campaigns are generating: we literally see hundreds of millions of users reached each month.

While email generates a high ROI due to its inexpensive nature, its easy accessibility and affordability has also resulted in productivity loss and an impact on the environment. Email and other modern communications may be less polluting than their offline alternative—ie. direct mail campaigns—but the gap is not as wide as we may think.

As a result of this phenomena, I began my Hack Week project, Carbon Zero Campaigns, which measures an email campaign’s carbon emission.



Carbon Zero Campaigns leverages Email Analytics data and assigns each subscriber’s action a CO2e score. For instance, reading a rich email costs 50g and printing it 4.2g. The total is expressed in carbon dioxide tonnes, which doesn’t communicate the sense of the used energy very well. For this reason, Carbon Zero Campaigns shows some alternative usage facts, such as the number of shoes or miles driven with an average car, these figures equate to.


Carbon Zero Campaigns also suggests the amount of trees that should be planted to balance the carbon emissions from a campaign.


Here are two examples of Carbon Zero Campaigns pulled from our Email Analytics archives: