E-media also has environmental impacts
These sorts of messages give the impression that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than traditional, paper-based communication. But it is very difficult to make such statements without considering the full lifetime of those different mediums.
The Australian pulp and paper sector is committed to environmental sustainability initiatives. Over the past three years, the industry has been focused on reducing its impact with direct greenhouse gas emissions being reduced to the energy equivalent of removing 29,192 cars off the road and energy intensity fell to be equal to the energy required to power 122,252 houses. 100% of all Australian pulp manufactured is independently certified and about 70% of all paper is recycled – this is leading global best practice.
National Pulp & Paper Sustainability, 2018
The environmental impacts of our ever-increasing digital world cannot be ignored. The ICT industry accounts for around 2.5-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040
Businesses and individuals are increasingly using ‘cloud’ services. These mega data-centres store almost everything we do online; including our web searches, our social media posts and our online statements.
When it comes to communication, whether it’s electronic or traditional mediums, consumers must be informed about the environmental impacts of those activities. Two Sides advises businesses to be transparent about the carbon footprint of all their services.
To date, over 500 of the world’s largest organisations have been found to be using greenwash statements in their communications. Of those, around 70% have removed their misleading statements as a direct result of being challenged by Two Sides. It is important to mention that not all greenwashing is due to purposely misleading customers. Often it is down to genuine and common misconceptions about paper and print. Two Sides is committed to educating consumers and businesses in this regard.
By 2040, the ICT carbon footprint could account for as much as 14% of the total worldwide footprint at the 2016 level, and hence exceed the current relative footprint of the Agriculture sector (9%), and almost half of the current total footprint of the industrial sector (29%) in the United States. The electronic waste problem is colossal, and it’s growing. In 2016 alone, 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste was generated globally, of which 435,000 tonnes were mobile phones, representing more than the mass of the Empire State Building.