Question: What do digital marketers and pilots have in common?

Published on November 2, 2021 by Alex Eade

This isn’t  a trick question –

It’s actually our carbon emissions.

You might be shocked to discover that the internet is responsible for approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That is a similar share to the entire aviation industry. With the ever-increasing number of internet-connected devices, this percentage continues to grow every year and as digital marketers we are at the forefront of this output.

All the information that we exchange online requires electricity to travel between data centres, networking infrastructure, and end-user devices. The problem is that about 80% of electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, all of our digital actions contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. Every video we watch, every song or podcast we listen to, every article we read, every search, every ‘like’, every tweet… all of this has a carbon footprint.

As an agency, we find it hard to reconcile our desire to do better for the environment, with this constant output of carbon. Whilst none of us are perfect in our practices, we all have a sense of duty to protect our planet.

We have made the switch to Green Hosting, supported the charity Building Malawi to plant thousands of trees, and try to do our bit in daily life to reduce waste. We have even launched a new service – our Digital Carbon Footprint Audit – to help clients understand the carbon emissions of their website and how to reduce it. However, that didn’t feel like enough when we knew how much of an impact the internet has.

We were left scratching our heads, desperate to do more whilst steering clear of greenwashing. Then we heard about 1% for the Planet.

What is 1% for the Planet?

Yvon Chouinard, founder of sustainable fashion brand, Patagonia, and Craig Matthews, founder of fly fishing shop Blue Ribbon Ties, have two things in common. Successful businesses and a love of the great outdoors.

They combined forces to donate 1% of all their revenue (crucially, not their profit!) to the environment and since then have encouraged other companies to do the same.

The reasoning behind 1% for the planet –

‘because companies profit from the resources they take from the earth, they should protect those resources’

Connecting ‘dollars’ with ‘doers’

The mission of 1% for the Planet is to  ‘connect dollars and doers to accelerate smart environmental giving’. Any company can sign up and make a commitment to give 1% of their revenue to sustainable and environmental causes. These charities and causes can also sign up to 1% for the planet in order to receive donations from companies meaning  that companies are able to give to the causes that resonate with them and their values the most.

Why 1% of annual sales?

One percent of sales (not profits) is a substantial commitment for any business. Currently, only 3% of philanthropic giving actually goes to the environment, and this needs to change. By joining 1% for the Planet, we’ve made the commitment to give no less that 1% of what we make every year.

We’ll keep you updated with our 1% for the Planet giving activities, but in the meantime you can find out more about becoming a giver yourself here.