How Marketing Agencies Can Lower Their Carbon Footprint

7 Jul 2023

As a marketing agency, you might be surprised to know that your carbon footprint includes the work you produce for your clients. That’s because practically all of our digital activity generates carbon.

With some simple steps, you can reduce your carbon footprint and achieve cleaner marketing campaigns. 

A recent survey by Ecologi found that 76% of SMEs believe having an environmental strategy is good for business.

If that wasn’t already a win for your agency - many of these tips can actually help your clients too. 

Here are just some of the ways your marketing agency can cut it's CO2 emissions today.

Brief Projects Effectively 

Every project you take on requires a brief. Not only does this involve lots of communication with your clients, but within your wider team too. 

Having a clear brief structure is for the benefit of everyone on your team as well as the climate. 

On a basic level, that’s because a clear brief means everyone knows what needs to happen to meet your client’s objectives. But in terms of the climate, fewer meetings and messages also means fewer carbon emissions. 

300 billion emails are sent every year. Each email we send can generate up to 26g of CO2

Zoom calls are also a huge carbon emitter. One study found that holding an hour-long meeting over Zoom can generate up to 2.8 kg of CO2.

Now consider every time a brief needs more clarification. Or more rounds of drafts or revisions. For every message, image upload or video meeting - more carbon is generated. 

Therefore, starting off your projects in the right way (such as asking all the right questions upfront) will benefit your clients and the climate in one easy move. 

Calculate Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

Now you know your business has a digital carbon footprint, it’s probably a good idea to find out your total carbon footprint. This will allow you to make changes elsewhere in the business that will also reduce your emissions.

Every marketing agency will generate carbon differently and in varying amounts.

Some of the top things that can influence your CO2 footprint include consumption (i.e. the goods you purchase), energy, transportation and food. 

But if you also shoot campaigns on location or engage in similar tasks to create content - your agency could also be generating CO2 here too.

Check out the EcoSend Email Carbon Footprint Calculator

Compress Digital Images 

Images require energy to store, upload and share. 

These days, even the photos we take on our iPhones are super HD. 

A study found that ‘unwanted pics’ alone generate 355,000 tonnes of CO2 every year in the UK. IET equated this to every person in Chelmsford flying to Australia and back.

But as well as taking fewer pictures (especially of our dinner from 9 different angles), reducing the file sizes of jpeg images will create fewer emissions.

As a marketing agency, you may use images on your client’s websites as well as on social media campaigns. Some agencies will also create physical work such as banners and billboards. 

We already know that smaller image sizes create faster loading times on websites which is better for SEO. But resizing your images or compressing the file wherever possible will also reduce the CO2 generated from those images. 

Consider The Lifespan Of Any Physical Marketing Assets 

Every time you print time-sensitive information such as a date onto a marketing asset, it limits its lifespan. 

If we are to lower marketing-related emissions in the future, we need to think about the energy and resources required to make creative assets. 

Some greener advertising alternatives in the future could include solar-panelled billboards.

But for any printed assets, think about whether a greener alternative exists in terms of the design, materials and overall format. 

Educate Your Team 

If today was the first time you learned your emails have a carbon footprint, the rest of your agency team is also likely unaware too. 

The best practices start from the top. So the more you learn about how to cut your CO2 emissions as a marketing agency, this information also needs to be shared with your wider team too.

That way everything you strive to improve can actually take shape since many of our digital interactions generate CO2 without most people even realising it. 

Go Paperless

Are you still printing your employee handbooks? (Actually, do they even still make these? It’s been a while).

What about drawing out website navigation on 100 sheets of A4 until you get it right?

You know where we are going with this. In short, any opportunity to reduce the amount of paper you use through everyday printing or scribbling will also lower your CO2 emissions. 

If you must still use paper within the business, then using recycled paper and also having a paper recycling facility is preferred.

Hold Sustainable Events

Organisations such as isla have opened up the events industry to the idea of sustainability.

Exhibition World did a study and found that one popular event generated 275.4 tonnes of CO2 per participant per day. Some of the aspects which made up this figure included transport to the event, transport of the event equipment along with catering.

While it’s definitely still possible to exhibit as a marketing agency, or even attend events with your team - some simple awareness can lower your CO2 emissions.

Retrofit Your Building Or Home Office 

Whether your marketing agency runs from your kitchen table or a purpose-built building - it’s likely improvements can be made to reduce your energy consumption.

These days, lots of retrofitting steps can be taken to insulate buildings so that they retain more heat in winter and remain cooler in the summer months. Likewise, switching to a green energy provider or installing solar panels can also create less CO2. 

If you’re not sure how green your building is, you can have an energy efficiency survey performed. This will show you where your home or office is losing energy, along with where improvements can be made. 

Discover: 11 Green Construction & Home Renovation Trends For 2023

Segment Your Campaigns

Most marketing agencies provide email marketing services for their clients.

Segmentation in email marketing means carefully selecting your recipients, rather than sending email blasts to everyone. Not only is segmentation more effective in driving sales, it also lowers your CO2 emissions generated by email.

Why segmentation works is it allows you to send personalised and tailored messaging. By doing so, your emails feel more relevant to your recipients.

So by quitting over engaging or sending irrelevant messaging, both your business and the climate will benefit. 

Support Remote Working Wherever Possible 

Remote working isn’t fully supported in every business and we get that - especially where it’s just not practical.

But where it can work, not commuting into the office also means less CO2 generated by your marketing agency. 

Even a hybrid compromise is better than x10 journeys to and from the office per employee per week. 

Marketing agencies that allow remote working can also select from the widest talent pools since most tasks such as designing or copywriting can be completed from anywhere, so long as there's internet.

Read more: How a four-day week could solve the climate crisis

Switch To A Sustainable Email Marketing Platform

Using a sustainable email marketing platform such as EcoSend is yet another way to lower your CO2 emissions. 

EcoSend is the world’s first climate-conscious email platform. Our systems run on renewable energy sources, and we’ll plant trees on behalf of your business just for using us. 

Don’t worry - you’ll still get all of the tools and features you need to send amazing email marketing campaigns for your business or your clients. But by using EcoSend, there will be a reduced impact on the planet. 

Turn Off Autoplay Video Function 

Websites with autoplaying videos can generate 10.08g of CO2 per page view according to Wired. This is compared to just 0.24g for a website with a light design.

Digital sustainability innovator Jean-Philippe Ehret has even created a Change.org petition, asking YouTube to disable video autoplaying. He states YouTube provides 1 billion hours of content every day, generating 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. 

As a marketing agency, you don’t have to wait for video platforms to take action. That’s because you can ensure that videos on your website, or any websites your design for your clients don’t have videos that autoplay.

Use Green Web Hosting 

You’ve probably lost count of the websites you’ve either built or worked on as a marketing agency.

But did you know it’s possible to use green web hosting providers that run on renewable energy sources?

What’s great about green web hosting, is it’s one of those simple changes you can make as a marketing agency which can have an instant impact. Plus, we’re sure your clients will also be impressed that you’re also lowering their CO2 emissions as a result. 

Read more: How To Get A Zero Carbon Website

Use SEO Responsibly 

We all want to target those big money keywords.

But what any SEO professional also knows is that good SEO gets people on a page, but only great SEO keeps them there. 

Keeping your pages relevant and considering the user experience means visitors don’t have to leave your page and load up another website instead. This also means fewer CO2 emissions are generated.

Leaving clickbait and keyword stuffing behind helps your business just as it does the planet. 

EcoSend - You’re Only Clicks Away From Cleaner Email Campaigns ✉️ 🌎

Does your business do any kind of email marketing? 

If so, then one easy change you can make today to lower your CO2 emissions is to switch your email marketing over to EcoSend.

Pick your EcoSend plan to get started and see what we’re all about. We’ll even plant a tree on behalf of your business just for signing up! 

You can also learn more about EcoSend over on our blog, podcast or YouTube channel. We’re also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter if you want to give us a follow! 

About the author

Rachael O'Flaherty

Content Writer

The email marketing platform for better business

Win new customers, send better email, and make the planet better with every campaign.

  • Free Email Templates

  • Smart Segmentation

  • Lead Forms

  • Automated Campaigns

  • Automatic Offsetting

  • Team Sharing

  • HTML Email Editor

  • Multi-channel Campaigns

  • Drip Campaigns

  • MailChimp Import

  • Zapier Integration

  • Powerful API

The email marketing platform for better business

Win new customers, send better email, and make the planet better with every campaign.

  • Free Email Templates

  • Smart Segmentation

  • Lead Forms

  • Automated Campaigns

  • Automatic Offsetting

  • Team Sharing

  • HTML Email Editor

  • Multi-channel Campaigns

  • Drip Campaigns

  • MailChimp Import

  • Zapier Integration

  • Powerful API