Sendinblue CEO and VP of Corporate Development, Steffen Schebesta, shared his thoughts with me about the company’s new email campaign carbon calculator and the impacts of email marketing on our planet. To be fair, I’ve never even thought about the carbon impact of sending an email and it’s something to think about. We take so much for granted in our day-to-day lives and although sending an email impacts the planet less than sending paper mail, everything we do large or small does have some type of impact on the world around us. For me, this interview was enlightening.
A Little Bit Of Background
Sendinblue specializes in digital marketing, and recently shared an analysis where it found that one email produces 0.174 grams of carbon dioxide. In comparison, a letter sent by mail produces an average of 19.5 grams of carbon dioxide. Although this is much larger, Sendinblue wanted to determine the environmental impact of email campaigns in order to help companies measure their own environmental impact while also increasing the reduction of their footprint.
Steffen told me that Sendinblue serves hundreds of thousands of customers globally providing tools for small and medium businesses to grow their business and foster customer relationships through email, SMS, and other various forms of digital marketing.
Sendinblue, he explained, wanted to take a further step in helping their customers with their carbon footprint and sustainability. I asked him what inspired Sendinblue to conduct the analysis.
“It’s important to discuss even topics that are outside of our product or regular work scope. We discuss topics like our environmental impact and sustainability. It’s basically really a project that is born out of Sendinblue’s employee movement.”
“We started looking into this topic more last year and we decided to conduct the study and join the Leaders for Climate Action in Germany to put actions to our words as well and to really understand the impact that Sendinblue has on the environment.”
The Sendinblue Study
The Sendinblue analysis, which can be found here, analyzed and compared the carbon emissions of email with other communication channels both online and offline. Video, for example, represents two-thirds of mobile traffic and is a fast-growing segment. Email is light and drives less than 1% of digital emissions. Sendinblue also launched a campaign carbon calculator so you can determine the impact of your own campaign.
“It all adds up. If you think about all of the YouTube videos or TikToks that we watch every day, it’s pretty crazy. Considering data, email is pretty lightweight and it’s much better than other forms of marketing you can do. Compared to a classic letter, I think it emits a hundred times less carbon. With 30-second YouTube or TV commercials, it’s still a big difference.
“It’s interesting to see especially sending out a lot of emails — literally hundreds of millions of emails every day — it definitely has an impact that we’re trying to offset and reduce our carbon footprint this way.”
How Sendinblue Is Offsetting Its Carbon
I asked Steffen what Sendinblue is doing to offset its carbon impact. He explained that there are a couple of different ways.
“We started implementing some changes on the product. For example, we offer a lot of different templates for our customers and one way to send emails is to embed images or the way the template is coded it might be bigger or smaller and can really make a difference in how much payload you’re sending out. How big the email is and how many images you have embedded, whereas it’s just linking them, for example. If you link them, they’re only loaded once someone opens the email, which reduces the carbon footprint.
“At the same time, most of our data centers are completely green. They’re typically powered by some kind of renewable energy which is also great and something we’ve been looking into more and more. And then more on the corporate level where we started basically four big initiatives on our side to create awareness and also to reduce our carbon footprint overall.
“These four areas are educating our employees and creating awareness about what creates carbon emissions and how our employees can reduce that. A second one is to develop our CSR purchasing policy. Whenever we purchase anything, we make that as one of the criteria to selection. We developed features on the platform, and last but not least, we support local and environmental initiatives that back our mission as well. And we support and identify them and we can help in cutting some of the carbon emissions as well.”
Advice For Other Companies & Individuals
I asked Steffan if he had advice for other companies that would be interested in reducing their email and digital carbon impact.
“It’s not super easy because a lot of times it’s not very transparent how much carbon is emitted by using any kind of service. A lot of times your end-user, even if you are a business customer to a platform, it’s usually not disclosed. So it’s very hard to find out even how much the carbon footprint you’re generating. So that’s the first step — raising awareness.”
“This is why we created a carbon footprint calculator and on there you can go through all types of countries and calculate more or of less how much carbon emissions your emailing or e-blast would generate. So I think that’s great in understanding in what drives the carbon emissions and in our case it’s mostly the size of the email. You can send attachments, and if you have images for example. There are workarounds for that.
“For example, you can just link to a file and only the people who open the email and click the link will download it and consume energy and create carbon dioxide. There are ways around it, and generally speaking it’s not easy for other tools and this is exactly why I think the first step is to bring awareness to it and the second one is to think about what you can do. I think that every one of us has a responsibility to act and so we’re trying to provide tools that individuals can better manage this.”
The Main Message Steffen Wanted To Get Across
The core message that Steffen wanted to get across was the importance of acting now and taking steps to help our planet.
“I think if you take one thing away, it’s at Sendinblue we truly believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to act now. And this is why we created this website and why conducted the study and why we joined the Leaders for Climate Action. We want to take that responsibility on us and the solution can’t be to stop everything that you’re doing — obviously. You can’t stop growing your business and sending your emails or doing other online marketing activities. But it’s really to take steps to improve things and for us, it’s better features and using data centers that are completely running on renewable energy and creating awareness and supporting local initiatives.
“I think that’s the one thing we’re trying to help the planet and to reduce our carbon footprint. That’s the main message that we wanted to explain.”
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