Eco digital marketing is the practice of sustainability within digital marketing agencies. Going eco digital means that you are committed to an environmentally conscious way of working and are actively going towards goals that will help the fight against climate change, such as reducing your company’s carbon footprint. We aim to address why digital marketers should take responsibility for their carbon footprint and how they can go about turning their sustainability goals into actions.
The Impact Of Digital Marketing On Climate Change
When it comes to sustainability in digital industries, including marketing, isn’t digital already more sustainable than traditional models? For example, in digital marketing, moving away from offline marketing strategies such as posting pamphlets (and yes, through the letterbox) reduces the materials used and eventually wasted. However, digital still makes use of vital and often non-renewable resources.
One study found that the internet uses around 10% of the world’s electricity consumption in 2020, a figure that could rise to 20% within five years. In addition to the energy generated to maintain the internet and store and send data, the manufacturing of devices and technology needed for the infrastructure has a massive carbon impact.
Consider the constant upgrading of products and software and the energy wasted when these products quickly become redundant in the ever-changing digital environment. Furthermore, there are also the emissions that people create every day by simply travelling to work, leaving the lights on in the office, or making use of standard but often single-use office supplies such as pens.
How Marketers Can Be More Eco Digital
So, with digital industries impacting significantly on climate change, what can you do to increase sustainability? Firstly, it is essential to remember that sustainability does not mean the halting of progress but the innovation to progress in a way that does not negatively impact the environment. Digital marketers should aim to analyse where there is room for increased sustainability in their company to begin the process of being eco digital.
Some obvious actions to help reduce your company’s environmental impact would be to switch to recycled paper and eco-friendly office supplies or offer a cycle to work scheme for employees to help cut transportation emissions. Other solutions range from partnering with green service providers such as the search engine Ecosia who use advertising profits to plant trees, and sourcing technology through environmentally conscious companies who use sustainable materials or even refurbish unwanted equipment.
More significant steps include using outside companies such as Ecology to help companies offset their predicted carbon footprint. Ecology offers services such as planting company forests to negate the impact that employees’ professional and personal carbon footprints will have generated. By aligning your digital agency with the core values of environmentalism, even small changes will soon make a big difference.
Targets vs Action
There has been much criticism over companies who claim to be sustainable to improve their brand image and without working towards the goals they have set or even actively working against them. Consumers’ increased desire for ethical and sustainable brands means that this so-called “greenwashing” is unacceptable and can harm a brands reputation. However, long term goals can often seem unattainable, and with decades-long targets, it can often be unclear on whom the responsibility for reaching their lies.
When creating a sustainable environment within agencies, actions need to have as much consideration as targets. Whilst there is no doubt that setting sustainability and carbon-neutral targets are important, it is also vital to have a clear action plan that can be implemented immediately. Taking action means that reaching targets is distributed and that brands can be transparent when it comes to representing their sustainability endeavours. Showing consumers what you are doing right now to achieve carbon neutrality is a powerful way to improve trust and brand value.
Why Brands Should Consider Going Eco Digital
The eco digital ethos can benefit all digital marketing agencies, from boosting brand value to attracting like-minded eco-conscious employees. Whilst it may seem that many brands have already crowded the sustainability market, this is the market that will eventually become the norm. It can still help your company to reach a wider audience. Companies that show awareness for the future are usually those that last the longest, not in the least, because, whilst sustainability can be a challenge, it often leads to progress and innovation.
Written and researched by Paige Elford, Digital Marketing Graduate