(ReReRe) E-mail
(Impact) -30 KG CO2 P/Y
(Date) 28.01.2022
(Author) Loudi Langelaan
(Illustration) Laurens Franssen

We are reducing our digital footprint by limiting email traffic (and attachments).

We may not be aware of it, but our daily email traffic takes up a considerable amount of our total energy consumption. Every email is stored on a server somewhere and these running servers guzzle energy. We’ve calculated that if every Dutch person would send 1 less email per day (which emits about 4 grams of CO2), we would all save 124,100 tons of CO2. That is the equivalent of 107.445 air passengers from Amsterdam to Barcelona!

And a large part of emails aren’t even opened by recipients. The ability to cc and bcc others is great. But how often is that really necessary? Professionals ignore about 6.000 emails with attachments every year. And e-mails with files (an e-mail with a document as an attachment is assigned an average of 50 grams of CO2 emissions), photos and videos, have the most impact. In our sector, in which we send relatively large attachments back and forth, it is relevant to consider this.

To reduce our digital footprint, we limit our email traffic. We only use email for what it is originally intended for: as a means of communication. Addressed to the recipient. No unnecessary cc’s and bcc’s. And we limit file sharing by mail to a minimum.

We don’t just use email anymore for communication. Internally, and also with constant external teams, we use Slack for our continuous communication. We communicate about projects in our project management tool Asana. We no longer send files over 2mb. We only share larger files via WeTransfer, which deletes files after a week, so that they are only stored locally. Soon it will also be possible to share files directly from our file server (WIP). We try as much as possible to keep documents centrally located. And finally, we are considerate whether to add extra receivers in the cc and bcc, without excluding anyone.

In 2021 we want to save 1.500 MB of emails per employee. That means almost 6 emails of 1 MB (and 20 grams of CO2 emissions) less per working day. An individual CO2 saving of 30 kilos annually. As much as driving 625 kilometers in an average car; a ride from Amsterdam to Berlin!

#rerere is our action program to rethink, repurpose and redesign our social and ecological footprint for the better. you can find all our #rereres here. We hope that it inspires you to take action. Because the only way to create a future that includes you plus new generations to come is when we all take action. #timeisup