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Calculating the carbon footprint of an emailing/newsletter strategy: a case study with Mediapart


Mea culpa, the devil is in the orders of magnitude! While preparing a live report on this client casewe realized that an error had crept into the calculation of the emailing carbon footprint of Mediapart.
A stupid but nasty mistake ! The format of the cells in our spreadsheet jumped: we had entered values like 76%, but it was 76 that was taken into account. You see this kind of silly mistake but it hurts because it changes drastically the final result. We go from 244 tons of CO2e to 10.5 tons of CO2e. Nasty mistake.
The balls! They did not realize it!? Unfortunately not... This shows that even if we have our nose in it every day, the orders of magnitude of carbon emissions remain complicated to understand. We have updated the article below with the right values. We have checked this over and over again with Alexis. The methodology has been corrected, it is now more reliable. The conclusions of this article remain unchanged. That's the main thing!

During a emailing audit made for our client Mediapartwe have calculated the carbon footprint emitted by all newsletters and emailing sent on 2022. In total, Mediapart sent 144 million emails for a total of 10.5 tons of CO2e. Badsender and SAMI detail in this article how to calculate the carbon impact of an emailing activity.

Since 2021, we use the SAMI carbon platform to calculate the carbon footprint of Badsender (the latest one is here). In our report, we calculate the carbon impact of our modest emailing activity. It is quite anecdotal: in total in 2022, we sent 71,620 emails for a carbon impact of 5.32 kg of CO2e.

But what about a company that sends out several hundred million newsletters a year?

What criteria should be taken into account to calculate the carbon impact of an emailing activity?

For the calculation we need the following criteria:

  1. The number of emails delivered
  2. The location of the sending servers
  3. Cumulative opening rate
  4. The weight of the emails sent
  5. Time to read emails
  6. The distribution of the terminals used for reading: desktop, smartphone, tablet
  7. The distribution of consultation modes: 4G, WIFI
  8. Countries where readers are located and the distribution of readers by country

And if you go to the end of this article, you will see that there are other criteria to take into account to calculate the carbon impact of your climatic shade (a key concept for assessing the impact of your message content).

Concretely, how to get this information?

Let's take a concrete example with one of our clients Mediapart, in the independent press sector.

The number of emails delivered and the number of openings

That's easy! From the routing tool, it is possible to easily retrieve the following information:

Type of campaignsNumber of emails delivered% of cumulative openings
EDITORIAL120 402 44261%
MARKETING23 133 32155%
TRANSACTIONAL247 904144,00%
TRIGGER1 072 37375,24%
Grand total144 856 040

I can hear your questions 😉 The routing tool of the customer in question does not exclude openings from AMPP (Apple Mail Privacy Protection).

Location of servers


You will find it in your contract that links you to your routing tool. For Mediapart, it is Belgium.

The weight of emails

Approximately feasible.

So I need to get the weight of each campaign. Ideally I need the weight of the email once sent (so the weight of the html with the addition of the router's tracking links + the weight of the images). This information is not easily available in the statistical reports from routing tools (Hello routers! Upgrade your dashboards please!)

Here, we have uploaded (somewhat randomly) an email from each campaign typology.

Type of campaignsNumber of emails delivered% of cumulative openingsWeight of the email in MB
EDITORIAL120 402 44261%1,68
MARKETING23 133 32155%0,866
TRANSACTIONAL247 904144,00%0,0243
TRIGGER1 072 37375,24%0,0811
Grand total144 856 040

Time to read emails

By the ladle.

When we measure the email opening environments of our customers, we use the tool Litmus. On this tool, we also have the reading time of the emails. We did the test on a newsletter and it gave the following result:

Read : +9 seconds43,9%
Skim Read: 2-8 seconds24%
Glanced: -2 seconds32,1%

We started with 10 seconds (0.16 min).

Type of campaignsNumber of emails delivered% of cumulative openingsWeight of the email in MBReading time in min
EDITORIAL120 402 44261%1,680,16
MARKETING23 133 32155%0,8660,16
TRANSACTIONAL247 904144,00%0,02430,16
TRIGGER1 072 37375,24%0,08110,16
Grand total144 856 040

The distribution of the terminals used for reading: desktop, smartphone, tablet

(Almost) Easy. In the routing tool.

Now almost all routers have this information in their dashboards.

Type of campaignsNumber of emails delivered% of cumulative openingsWeight of the email in MBReading time% reading on smartphone% reading on desktop% reading on tablet
EDITORIAL120 402 44261%1,680,1617%76%2%
MARKETING23 133 32155%0,8660,1617%76%2%
TRANSACTIONAL247 904144,00%0,02430,1617%76%2%
TRIGGER1 072 37375,24%0,08110,1618%76%1%
Grand total144 856 040

Nevertheless, you will notice that the sum of the media: % of reading on smartphone + % of reading on desktop + % of reading on tablet, does not make 100%... The router certainly did not know how to break down the information into the 3 categories.

We therefore used the following breakdown:

Type of campaignsNumber of emails delivered% of cumulative openingsWeight of the email in MBReading time% reading on smartphone% reading on desktop% reading on tablet
EDITORIAL120 402 44261%1,680,1615%80%5%
MARKETING23 133 32155%0,8660,1615%80%5%
TRANSACTIONAL247 904144,00%0,02430,1615%80%5%
TRIGGER1 072 37375,24%0,08110,1615%80%5%
Grand total144 856 040

The distribution of consultation modes: 4G, WIFI

Um... now I don't have the info at all. And nobody will ever get it. We will ask SAMI to find a study on the standard distribution of consultations. (Hi Alexis and Guillaume!)

We therefore started with the hypotheses proposed by SAMI. Here, we have a BtoC base, so 50% in WIFI and 50% in 4G. (If we had a BtoB base, the distribution would have been quite different).

The location of the players

Easy if you know your targets.

Here we are on a 100% French readership.

Now, the result and conclusions

After a clever calculation by SAMI (see below) :

Type of campaignsData center emissionsNetwork emissionsTerminal emissionsAmortization of terminalsTotal emissions (kg CO2e)Emissions per email (g CO2e)
TOTAL2 96925453914649105540,07

Result: 10.55 tons of CO2e for 144,856,040 emails sent in 2022.

The first emission item is the share of terminal manufacturing. Hence the interest in raising awareness by pushing in emails the fact of keeping one's equipment as long as possible.

Example of awareness block in SAMI newsletters (BtoB target)
Example of awareness block in Badsender newsletters (BtoB target)

Sending this email is responsible for the emission of 0.08 grams of CO2.
Reducing the carbon footprint of digital technology means first and foremost extending the lifespan of your devices, repairing them, buying refurbished ones or opting for long-term rental.

Badsender's proposal to Mediapart

The "Data center + networks" component is 5.5 tons of CO2e. By excluding inactive people from their mailings, working on eco-design of their emails and on the editorial staffMediapart will reduce the number of emails sent, the weight of html and the reading time.
For your information, if we reduce the weight of the newsletters to 1Mb (vs 1.68Mb currently), the overall carbon impact of the emailing strategy goes from 10.5 tons to 8.5 tons. This alone would save us 2 tons!

SAMI's clever calculation

In the world of carbon accounting, we are used to dividing the emissions of digital consultations into 4 categories:

  • Data centers CO2e emissions: in this first category we find the CO2e emissions generated by the energy used to store the data. To measure these impacts, we use Cisco data, in this case 0.000057kWh/MB. Then, depending on the amount of data stored and the country of storage, we measure the impact of the emissions related to this first brick.
    The country of storage plays a decisive roleFor example, storing data in France allows you to take advantage of an energy that is 7 times less carbon intensive than in Germany (coal)! And 4 times less carbonized than in Belgium.
  • The networks To open these famous emails, you must be connected to an Internet network: wifi or 3,4,5G. Here again, it is the use of energy on these networks that interests us and you have also understood that the country in which these emails are opened plays a determining role in the carbon impact. Another point, the Wifi generates 6 times less data consumption than 4G. Less data transferred means less energy consumed, which means less CO2e emissions.
  • The use of terminals Email: Here again, when you open your emails, your computer, smartphone or tablet consumes electricity. The longer the email, the more time you will spend reading it and the more energy you will consume. Here too, the country of reading will influence the emissions. It should also be noted thata computer consumes almost 7 times more electricity than a smartphone per minute of reading.
  • Depreciation of terminals : it is the first item of emissions on the digital side when it is located in France and that a majority of the consultations take place in France. Here we find the emissions linked to the manufacture of the terminals: an iPhone generates about 70 kg of CO2e during its manufacture and a MacBook Pro about 185 kg CO2e according to Apple.

This last point is absolutely not insignificant. This is where we can do much better collectively and individually to reduce our emissions:

  • ensure a long product life
  • allow their repair
  • stop programmed obsolescence
  • eco-design the material
  • lengthen the life span of its current equipment
  • give priority to the reconditioned equipment or rent your equipment

As an example, the computer you may be reading this article on generates the equivalent of 0.000201 kg CO2e per minute of use. The lower the impact of the construction and the longer you use your equipment, the more this figure will tend to decrease.

Once all these calculations are done, we find the global CO2e emissions that can be related to the number of emails. This is a good way to become aware of the impact of its digital uses.

Going further by taking into account the climate shadow

At this point, there's something that really bothers me if we leave it at that.

144 million emails sent to promote cultural events or second hand goods have a minimal impact compared to a hundred million emails sent to promote a big SUV: the first one will alert and potentially engage in a reduction process, the second one will provoke sales and will therefore be indirectly responsible for the CO2e emissions that will follow.

It's all about measuring the consequences of an activity. This is the notion of "climate shadow".

Here are some additional criteria to consider when measuring the impact of your emails.

  • If the advertiser is in the service sector:
    • the turnover generated by email in €.
    • and the carbon intensity per euro of the advertiser's turnover (if the advertiser has not done its carbon assessment, we can take the carbon intensity of the sector).
  • If the advertiser is in the product sales business:
    • the number of conversions generated by email and by product type
    • and LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) by product

L'life cycle assessment (LCA) is an evaluation method that makes it possible to carry out an environmental assessment of a product over its entire life cycle. Its goal is to know and be able to compare the environmental impacts of a system throughout its life cycle, from the extraction of the raw materials necessary for its manufacture to its treatment at the end of its life (landfill, recycling...), through its phases of use, maintenance and transport.

Closing remarks

Is it really useful to calculate all this? It may seem a bit cumbersome but it is by measuring that you can realize what really impacts your strategy and act accordingly.

If we don't take into account the climate shadow, the conclusions are simple: send fewer emails, reduce the weight of emails and raise consumer awareness.

On the other hand, if we measure the climate shadow, we act on the consequences of our messages: favour products or services that have a low LCA. And therefore act on the company's business model.

The audio recording of the live session on emailing carbon footprint is now available.

Don't hesitate to subscribe to our podcast " Badsender, Email Agitators "on your favorite listening platform.

A replay of the live broadcast on emailing carbon footprint is now available.

Please watch in low definition!

Live text transcript

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Hello Alexis.

Alexis Lepage -
Hello Marion.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Hello everyone. Alexis, I'm delighted to be doing this live with you, especially as we've been working on a great project together over the last few months, which is to calculate the carbon footprint of an emailing strategy, in particular that of Mediapart. You're an expert carbon consultant at Sami. Sami is a platform that enables companies to calculate their carbon footprint, in the broadest sense. We did this project together, and it was a real blast. That's what we're going to share with you today during this live show. In my opinion, there's been far too much talk about email over the last 12 / 24 months on the web and in the press. Communications have multiplied. People have been urged to delete emails from their mailboxes. It was even presented as a useful eco-gesture for the environment. When you know the orders of magnitude, you quickly realize that this advice is fairly anecdotal. My first question, Alexis, is this: can you remind us of the orders of magnitude of the email channel? Maybe even those of digital marketing in the broadest sense?

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, completely. And perhaps to pick up on what you've just said, it was above all the Minister for the Environment, Agnès Pagnier Ruinacher, who mentioned avoiding sending funny e-mails to colleagues as an eco-gesture. So, all gestures are indeed good, but it's important, as you were saying, to have orders of magnitude in mind and to tell ourselves that on an individual scale, sending emails generates relatively few CO? emissions. That's because we don't send such huge quantities as some companies do. To put it in perspective, one email represents a few grams or micrograms of CO? so it's pretty small. It's still CO? so it's important to keep that in mind. It does generate emissions, but much less than other items. If we move away from the digital aspect a little, we can compare it to travel. For example, one kilometer traveled by car is 218 grams of CO? It's almost 218 grams of CO? emails, if you think that one email equals one gram. It depends on a lot of things, as we'll see next. Getting back to the digital theme, what's most important to compare is digital software versus hardware. And what we can see is that the hardware part, i.e. the screens and computers we all have in front of us today, are the ones that will generate a lot of emissions in France. A computer has 80% of emissions that depend on its materials extraction and manufacturing phase, which takes place mainly in Asia. And in fact, all the rest, the remaining 20%, is freight, waste reprocessing and use. But in the end, it's much smaller than the computer itself. So, the right eco gesture, especially when it comes to digital equipment, is to keep it as long as possible. And then, if you have to change, go for reconditioned equipment and try to limit these changes as much as possible.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
And in a pinch, if you want to keep your equipment for as long as possible - I'm thinking of your smartphone - you need to delete your mailbox because it's too heavy. Why not? But otherwise, it's pretty anecdotal, I guess. So, what the hell are they doing at Badsender? Why did they start calculating the carbon footprint of an emailing strategy? Isn't there a distinction to be made between the individual email that comes from the citizen and the emailing strategy of a company? What do you think of this?

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, exactly. There's a distinction to be made between the two, because the quantities of emails sent are not at all the same. Especially for you, for example Badsender, you can have millions of emails sent, and here we're talking about orders of magnitude that can be a little different. We could be talking about hundreds of kilograms or tons of CO? So we're already talking about orders of magnitude that are not at all the same as on an individual scale. And then, when it's at the heart of your business model, it's always interesting to calculate the impact, because until you calculate it, you can't know whether it's a very large or very small item. When it comes to carbon footprint, we tend to say that you can only reduce what you measure. So the idea here is to say that even if it's anecdotal, even if it represents relatively few emissions, it's still at the heart of your business. And if you have action levers that can help you reduce this impact, then you have to implement them. Because every ton counts, every kilogram of CO2 counts. So you have to keep that in mind.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Ok. I'll share the screen so we can see Mediapart's carbon footprint. To be transparent, we did a classic emailing audit for Mediapart, we audited their strategy in the broadest sense. We didn't see the carbon footprint alone in this audit. However, it was one of their requests to assess the impact of their strategy. Because I imagine that, as you said, it has an impact on their revenues. So knowing how to quantify and measure is important. For Mediapart, we can see that over the 2022 total, they sent 144 million emails per year. And we've taken into account all types of campaigns. As you can see from the table, editorial campaigns are the newsletters they send out. I say "they" because there are three girls at Mediapart. There's a marketing campaign section, and here we're talking about subscription offers. The transactional part, that's emails about forgotten passwords and customer accounts. And lastly, the Trigger Marketing section, which includes emails related to digital subscriptions. So, here we have the total number of emails delivered over 2022. This is what arrived in the recipients' mailboxes, whether in spam, inbox or promo box, but in any case, this is what arrived. So, in the routing tools, the indicator you need to use is the emails delivered. We then look at cumulative opens. The total number of opens on delivery of these emails, even if they were opened twice by the same person, we took the number of times the emails were opened. So not the separate opens, but the cumulative opens. We then took the weight in kilobytes of the emails. In other words, the weight of the HTML file + images + tracking links. Really the weight, once it's received in the recipient's mailbox. This was a little more complicated to compile, because the routing tools don't have an average weight for each type of campaign. So what we did was to take an example of an editorial newsletter, an example of email marketing, an example of transactional email and an example of email trigger. We calculated the weight of each. So here's an example of a newsletter for the whole year 2022, for example. We also took the average reading time. Obviously, we don't have this in our routing tools, so it was a bit complicated. We took a measurement of around 10 seconds of reading per email. This too is more of an assumption than anything else. We took the percentage of reading openings on tablets, mobiles and desktop. In this case, we were lucky enough to have it in the routing tool. Still, it wasn't 100 %. There must be a bug in the routing tool. Or they didn't know how to dispatch the total number of opens between these three media. Because sometimes, you can open your emails via a connected TV or something. I guess that's it. So, in reality, I had 76% on desktop, 5% on mobile and 1% or 2% on tablet. In short, I readjusted. And the criteria had to include the percentage of reading on Wifi and 4G. Again, impossible to get these statistics. So we settled on 50%-50%. Another criterion was server location. So that was easy. Just ask them. At Selligent, the servers are in Belgium. The final criterion was the location of the readers' servers. And here, we took France at 100% (although I imagine there must be Belgium and Switzerland). Can you remind us why these criteria are so important?

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, all these criteria will enable us to measure the impact of the campaign in four areas. The first is the data center, i.e. data storage. The second is networks, with the famous WiFi / 4G networks. The third is terminal usage. When I open the campaign, my computer is bound to consume energy, and that's what we're trying to achieve here. And then, the last axis is the amortization of terminals, the fact that my computer will generate a certain amount of CO? in its manufacture. For example, my computer generates 100kg of CO? in its manufacture. If I use 20% of my time for emailing, to consult and read the emails sent to me, in the end, these email campaigns will generate 20 kg of CO? All the information in the table enables us to classify emissions in these different categories. And in fact, what we're trying to find for the first three is quantities of energy. If we look at data centers, we can find quantities in kilowatt-hours. In other words, 0.00057 kilowatt-hours per megabyte. So, the heavier your campaign, the more storage you need. So inevitably, the greater the emissions associated with this phase. And the point that's also very important is knowing where it's stored. Storing emails on a Belgian server doesn't have the same impact as storing them on a French server, for example. Why would that be? Because Belgium uses a lot of gas to generate electricity. And gas is natural, so it's a fairly carbon-intensive energy. Much more so than in France, where the electricity mix is less carbon-intensive than in many European countries. So, the first lever for action is to think about how we can influence the weight of emails, and how we can ensure that they are located on servers in countries where the electricity mix is fairly low in carbon.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So we can imagine that for a marketer who wants to optimize this, he can say to himself "The next time I change my tool, I'll check where the servers are located". France is the country with the lowest carbon emissions.

Alexis Lepage -
One of the least carbonated, indeed. We have even better. We have the Nordic countries, in particular. Norway, where we use a lot of hydroelectricity. To give you a rough idea, a kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed in Norway is around ten grams of CO? In France, it's around 60 grams. In Germany, it's around 400 - 500 grams. So, as you can see, the differences are really different. If you go to China, you're looking at 800-900 grams per kilowatt-hour. Hence the real advantage of storing this data in a country with a low-carbon mix. And in France, we're lucky enough to have a lot of nuclear and renewable energy, which means we have a low-carbon mix.

Alexis Lepage -
And so, when it comes to the weight of emails, the marketer is completely capable of reducing it through eco-design. What about reading time? Does it really depend on the reader's country?

Alexis Lepage -
As far as reading time is concerned, we're going to use this more on the usage side. For example, when I want to open my e-mail, how long will it take me to read it? And according to this time, we'll allocate programs to the use part, to the reading part. If, for example, I'm located in France and it takes me one minute to read my e-mail, I'm going to consume electricity for one minute in France. That's what we'll link to the carbon footprint. The longer your reading time, the higher your emissions are likely to be. And also, if you're located in a high-carbon country, the more emissions you're going to have for this phase.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Okay. What about the mobile/tablet/desktop split?

Alexis Lepage -
This breakdown serves two purposes. Firstly, what we've just been talking about. My computer will consume much more electricity than my smartphone, for example, to check an e-mail, which is logical because the screen is simply bigger. And it's also going to be used for the amortization part of the terminals. Building a telephone requires much less material and is much smaller than building a computer, which means far fewer CO? emissions. So obviously, consulting an email on a phone will generate fewer emissions linked to the terminal depreciation phase, linked to the manufacture of this equipment.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
We have a question from Olivier who asks, "For networks, do you also take into account wired for deskop, fiber and Internet or little difference with WiFi?"

Alexis Lepage -
It's all about taking data that are as accurate as possible, based on what has been calculated by scientists. Because these calculations are carried out by scientists. So it's always complex to have data that can be very precise. And then, as you were saying just now, Marion, it's not so easy to get very reliable data. For example, for WiFi / 4G, we made an assumption of 50 - 50, because we didn't have any more precise figures than that. We could go even further and say, "Can we break down the 3G, 4G and 5G networks into WiFi, wireline, etc.? But as long as we don't have precise information, it's always rather risky, and we have to make do with the information we do have, to avoid making too many assumptions and then taking scenarios that would be a little complex to analyze.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So we went with 50/50. But on reflection, given that we had nearly 80% of openings on desktop and 15 / 20% on mobile, we could have taken the same split: 80% WiFi and 20% 4G.

Alexis Lepage -
That's just it. After that, we can play on that. But in any case, as we'll see from the results, it's not necessarily the biggest item. We're going to play on the network part a little, but we're going to have quite a lot of emissions associated with terminals and terminal amortization. And what's going to play a role is whether the e-mail is opened on a computer rather than a telephone. That's where emissions will be added.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So it's more or less easy to get the information. Sami's next step is to arrive at this table, which is the carbon footprint of Mediapart's emailing strategy. So, for 144 million emails sent over 2022, they emitted around 10 tonnes of CO?

Alexis Lepage -
That's it.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Can you explain the breakdown of data center, network, terminal and terminal depreciation emissions, even though you've already done a bit of this, but with what we have in front of us.

Alexis Lepage -
Completely. First of all, it's interesting to see that 145 million emails sent is just over 10 tonnes of CO? And 10 tons of CO? is the carbon budget of a French person over the course of a year. So it's not neutral. There's a real impact behind a strategy like this. After that, we can see that the first line is going to generate almost all the emissions, i.e. 9 tons out of 10, because we have a rather colossal number of emails sent. And what's more, in terms of weight, in kilobytes, these emails were much heavier than the others. And then, if we look at the breakdown of emissions in the table, we see that almost 3 tonnes of the 10 tonnes are linked to the data center. So the first step to decarbonizing this aspect is to stop hosting in Belgium, where the mix is much more carbon-intensive. And if, for example, these emails were hosted in France rather than in Belgium, we could divide these 3 tons of CO? by five or six. So that would have a real impact here too. The second point, as we said earlier, is to eco-design these emails so that the weight is as low as possible. Just after that, we have the network part, with around 25% of emissions. So here we have WiFi and 4G, which will generate CO? emissions, because of the people who will be consulting this in France. So we need to encourage people to use WiFi as much as possible, and to ensure that emails are as light as possible. It's important to remember that a 4G network, so consulting information in 4G, consumes around six times more energy than WiFi. Hence the interest in pushing WiFi. And then, as we were saying earlier, we need to increase the number of people who consult the site via a computer, because these people are more likely to use a WiFi network to connect. And then there are the last two points, terminal emissions. This is the electricity that computers, phones and tablets consume to consult email. So we're talking about 400 kg of CO? That's pretty low, even if it does represent emissions. Because we're in France. If, for example, we had 50% people consulting emails in Belgium, we'd have a lot more emissions because these people would be using Belgian energy to consult their emails. And last but not least, almost 50% of emissions: terminal amortization. That's what we were talking about at the beginning, the software versus the hardware. That's the manufacture of computers, tablets and telephones, which we calculate according to the reading time taken just beforehand.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So, if we average out the 10 tons divided by the 145 million emails. This means that one email sent in this configuration represents around 0.07 grams of CO2E.

Alexis Lepage -
That's right, that's right. That's right.

Alexis Lepage -
It's funny because in many of the articles you read, we sometimes talk about 1g of CO2E, sometimes about 10 grams of CO2 per email. So you can see all the criteria that make the difference between 1 and 10 grams of CO2. If we leave it at that, as a marketing manager, we can say to ourselves that the next step is to eco-design our emails, because we don't change our routing tool every four mornings. So the marketer's "power" is going to be to play on eco-design. And also, something that hasn't been said yet, but that needs to be said, is that the fewer emails we send, the fewer tons of CO? equivalent we emit. As a result, we can and must also play on the exclusion of inactive emails.

Alexis Lepage -
That's it.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
These are the two areas we decided to work on following the audit with Mediapart. There's one thing that bothers me though, and that's judging the tons of CO? that an emailing strategy emits. Because Mediapart can send out messages that are in line with the ecological emergency. But emailing is first and foremost a message we send out. And this message can encourage consumption or over-consumption. I'm a great believer in the influence of the message inside the email. As we wrote in the article, if we take the extreme case that everyone's talking about at the moment: Shein. If Shein sends emails, I can't stop at the number of tons of CO?E its mailing strategy produces. I have to talk about the products the company promotes inside its emails. When I mentioned this idea to you, Alexis, you were very quick to mention climate shadow. Can you explain what a climatic shadow is?

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, completely. The climate shadow can be explained with a simple example. Let's take two people. One is the marketing director of a major automotive brand that makes large combustion-powered SUVs. And this person, individually, doesn't fly a lot, doesn't eat a lot of meat and, let's just say, takes the metro to work every day. So their personal carbon footprint is going to be pretty low. On the other hand, their climate shadow, what this person will generate because they will create content on a daily basis that will encourage the purchase of very polluting SUVs, will be quite significant. And then there's a second person: a scientist who's going to raise awareness of climate issues, who's going to have to travel around the world several times to talk about the subject, to study certain territories. This person's personal carbon footprint is going to be very high, because he or she often flies. On the other hand, his or her climate impact will be quite positive, because this person will raise awareness among thousands, tens of thousands of people. He or she will help the entire scientific community and, more broadly, the whole world to gain in knowledge. And so, perhaps thanks to her work, she'll be able to avoid CO? emissions in a whole host of sectors. And so, even if her personal carbon footprint is very high, in the end, the emissions avoided will be much greater. And the climate shadow is exactly the same thing. So the calculation we've made, which you can see here, is a bit like what we can consider to be the direct impact. Think of it as an iceberg. We have the emissions linked to sending out the campaign versus the emissions that will be generated by the sale of the products. And as you said, it's not at all the same thing to do an email campaign for Shein versus an email campaign for Mediapart or WWF, for example, where you have an interest because you're going to make the general public aware of issues that are a little more important than clothes.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So, the climate shadow is the calculation of the consequences of your activity.

Alexis Lepage -
Exactly, that's exactly right.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
You tried to calculate the climate shadow of a fast fashion company, and that of a low fashion company.

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, we've used a small example to make it clear where the emissions are. Let's imagine tomorrow, you call Badsender and they say "There are two customers. The first is a fast fashion customer. It's an international brand. It doesn't really measure its CO? emissions. It's not a subject that really interests them. There's no real transparency there either. On the other hand, you also have a low-fashion brand that contacts you, which has been measuring its emissions for a number of years. They really put the climate aspect at the heart of their business. It also measures the environmental impact of each of its products, to try and make products that have as little carbon footprint as possible. It also has a very high level of transparency, so you can find out the carbon impact of the products you're going to promote in your emailing campaign, as well as the carbon impact of the company as a whole. So what are we going to say? We're going to say great, we've decided to work with both and we're going to try and compare the climate shadows of each. We've drawn up a little scenario in which our fast-fashion brand is at the forefront. A campaign is sent out and delivered to 15 million people. As you were saying earlier, Marion, in the end we'll be sending out far fewer emails on the low-fashion side. Maybe you can bounce back on that, it's more about trying to target those who are going to open the email to avoid sending a maximum number of emails.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes, in the initial hypothesis where we said that this low-fashion company was conscious. We thought we'd get them to send fewer emails. Quite simply because I think that low fashion currently requires less data collection. There are even fewer people in the base, and this company is going to be a little more careful about the pace of its mailings and its commercial pressure. In conventional mailboxes, we sometimes get two promotional e-mails a week. And even then, I can be kind, whereas in low fashion, we might be on one newsletter a month, for example. We're not at all on the same orders of magnitude in terms of the number of emails delivered. I'd just like to point out that we used one campaign, but in reality, we could have used 30 campaigns with 500,000 contacts. But it would have been the same.

Alexis Lepage -
First of all, we'll be able to play on this number of emails, which is half as large for this low-fashion brand. Secondly, we've assumed that both brands locate their servers in France. The third hypothesis is based on the average volume of each e-mail. And here we see that, as you were saying just now, they're aware of this, so they're going to eco-design their campaigns, which means that we have an average email at 0.3 megabytes versus 0.5 for the Fast Fashion brand. On the other hand, the cumulative open rate will be a little higher for the Low Fashion brand. And here, if you'd like to comment on that too.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
We assumed that, in general, low-fashion brands have an editorial line and an image. tone of voice which is much more striking, in any case. And anything that makes an impression is much more widely read and has a greater impact. So we assumed that the cumulative opening was higher in low-fashion campaigns and a little lower in fast-fashion campaigns. And in terms of average weight, just to come back to this, we've assumed that there are more images and less text in fast fashion, and perhaps more text than images in low fashion. In fast fashion, you can still see countdowns. So, we're going to say a more traditional email coding.

Alexis Lepage -
And so, following this, we made a few assumptions. This is what we showed you just before. The average consultation time is 10 seconds. Here we've assumed two-thirds open on 4G and one-third on WiFi. We've also taken 50 % of emails opened via computer, 45% via smartphone and then 5%son tablet. It's more or less the same thing we showed before. We're going to measure the emissions of all this, i.e. the energy consumed at each stage. Then we'll find the emissions linked to the data center and social networks. Data center emissions are fairly low, because the data is stored in France, compared with what we saw earlier about storage in Belgium. Network emissions are therefore 67 and 20 kg of CO? so quite moderate. On the other hand, what's interesting to note is that the average volume of mail was quite high for the second low-fashion brand, and the number of mails delivered was also lower. So we're going to have quite a big difference. We were at almost 100 kg of CO? for the first brand versus 30 for the second. So there's a threefold difference between the two. Hence the importance of implementing these practices. But if we're talking about much higher volumes, like 500 million, I don't know how much higher we can go, but inevitably, the gap widens and it's in our interest to eco-design and send as few as possible. And then, the last two bricks, terminal emissions, the electricity consumed by terminals and terminal amortization, accounting for manufacturing. These last two phases account for 88% of our campaign emissions. As you were saying earlier, we have several levers at our disposal, such as sending fewer e-mails, and sending eco-designed e-mails. And I'd like to mention a third, which is to make the general public aware of the benefits of keeping their computer equipment as long as possible. Today, this is the major issue surrounding digital technology. All the brands - iPhone, Samsung, etc. - are trying to encourage over-consumption of this equipment. We're seeing the development of refurbished equipment, but the renewal of these models is still fairly regular in France. What's really important is to raise awareness.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Um... when you talk about awareness in an email campaign, it's putting a little banner right up there in the header that says "This email generates a few grams of CO2E... Well, not even a few grams, in the case of Mediapart, it's 0.07 grams of CO? Sometimes it's a bit odd to say: keep your phone as long as possible, or switch to reconditioned or long-term rental. Then, right after that, we're going to talk about digital subscriptions or clothes. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it. It's a bit like classic advertising. You can have the banner "Alcohol consumption is dangerous, drink in moderation."

Alexis Lepage -
Then, in the end, if you see this message every time you send an email, maybe it will get into your brain and you'll say to yourself "OK, I'm not going to change my phone every year or two, but I'll do it every five or six years" because it's not necessarily necessary to change it as long as it's working very well.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
And so the climate shadow...

Alexis Lepage -
Exactly. That was the direct impact we saw just before. In terms of volume, we're at almost one tonne of CO? I think we were at just under a tonne. We're at 996, almost a tonne of CO? That's our first order of magnitude. One tonne is quite substantial. It's 50% of an individual's carbon budget in 2050. An individual's carbon budget over a year would be two tonnes, so it's already good to be able to play around with that figure, but it's really important, as we said at the start, to also manage to include this climate shadow that we presented just before and what we can consider to be the indirect impact of the campaign. To measure this, we have two possible approaches. We have either a sales approach, i.e. to find out what sales your campaign has generated. For our Fast Fashion brand, we've assumed that €50,000 in sales were generated. So the 15 million emails generated €50,000 in sales. These are just examples. It allows us to show a little how we can calculate this carbon shadow.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
And once again, just before you go any further, we're talking about criteria. This figure, the sales generated by email campaigns, is less and less easy to collect since the end of third-party cookies. It's still difficult to determine what an email campaign has actually generated. And then, it depends on your marketing attribution. Do you consider that it was email that generated your sales, while at the same time there were ads and other campaigns? Once again, we're talking about hypotheses that are more or less reliable. After all, marketers do have an idea of what their email campaigns generate. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing it. Although...that's just to make a point. We're never on the penny.

Alexis Lepage -
That's the idea. The idea is just to have a minimum of orders of magnitude. And then, as you've just said, in the end, if you're going to buy in a store, isn't it because you've received an email for three months that made you think of the brand and that, in the end, pushed you to buy it? It would be very difficult to determine the percentage of attribution for each channel. But to simplify things a little, let's consider that this campaign directly generated €50K for our Fast Fashion brand. So what we're going to do is multiply this €50K by the company's economic carbon intensity. So, what is carbon intensity? It's a company's carbon footprint divided by its sales. This gives us an intensity. In this case, what we said at the outset about the Fast Fashion brand was that it had never carried out a carbon assessment. They're not at all interested in this subject. So what do we do? You look for an average figure for your sector. So we went to a database we have on hand at SAMI, called Exiobase, for the textile sector. And we know that in this sector, to generate 1,000 euros in sales, you have to generate around 458 kg of CO? emissions.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
So, to generate 1,000 euros in sales, it costs 450 grams of CO? right?

Alexis Lepage -
458 kg of CO? That's exactly right. You have to link the two, to say that to generate 1,000 euros, you have to emit 458 kg of CO? So obviously, the more carbon-intensive your products, the more carbon-intensive your business, the more CO? you're going to generate per thousand euros of sales. Then, we simply multiply the campaign's sales by this figure, and we arrive at 23 tonnes of CO? So 23 tonnes of CO? is your climate shadow with this first approach.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
We were at 618 kg live, so to speak. And in fact, behind that, there's 23 tons.

Alexis Lepage -
Absolutely. That's why it's interesting to ask yourself the question, to say in the end that doing a campaign for Shein doesn't have the same impact as doing a campaign for another brand, even if from an emailing point of view, we have the same characteristics, a similar number of mails sent, similar server locations, etc. And so the second calculation you can make to compare the shadows is to say that low fashion, we generated sales on the 7.5 million mails of 40 million. And so the second calculation we can make to compare the shadows is to say that low fashion generated sales of 40,000 euros on the 7.5 million e-mails. So we multiply that sales figure by the company's specific carbon intensity. As we said, this low-fashion brand has been doing its carbon footprint for quite a few years now. It has calculated its intensity and we can see that it is half the average intensity of the textile industry. Why is this? Because, of course, it implements a whole host of processes that enable it to generate fewer emissions. We do the same calculation and come up with 8.8 tonnes of CO? So here again, 8.8 tonnes is still much higher than what we generated via the campaign, but it's still less than what we generated on the Fast Fashion side.

Alexis Lepage -
Okay. So this is a sales approach and you have another product approach?

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Exactly. The sales approach is interesting because it's global and, in the end, quite easy to calculate. If you can find your turnover behind it, you can do the calculation without any problem. There's another approach that's a little more comprehensive, and which is also extremely interesting. It's to say to yourself "You're €50k, it's not the same thing if you sell cabbages or carrots". So, in the end, you're going to try and take a look at what's inside. We've taken a first example with the Fast Fashion brand, we've got 1,400 T-shirts to be sold, and we know that the average carbon impact of a T-shirt - this is a figure that comes from ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency - is 5.2 kg of CO? You multiply one with the other and you come up with 7.4 kg of CO? the three tons of CO? Do the same for the pants, and you end up with a campaign weighing in at around 26 tonnes of CO? So you're pretty close to what you had in carbon intensity just before with sales, but you're a little more precise.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
And so here, it really helps us identify the impact of the products that were promoted during your campaign. Ok.

Alexis Lepage -
And so the conclusion to all this is to say to ourselves that, in relation to the product approach that goes a little further than sales, it's to say to ourselves "This type of product, if I have a trajectory that works on the source of manufacture, the methyl, the materials used, etc., I'm going to have my 23.2 kilos...". Imagine tomorrow, I'd rather make eco-designed pants, because that obviously works for clothes. The idea is to say, "I'm going to have... Maybe we'll divide it by two, so 10 kg of CO? The idea is to say "I need to promote my eco-designed pants more than the classic ones. That'll give us an ejector trajectory. What I mean is, we're still being marketers, but it allows us to bridge the gap with the company's business model.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Yes, that's right. That's what we use in the second example for low fashion, where we're at 12 kg instead of 23, because you've had eco-design. The best pants are always the ones we don't sell, because we don't have any associated emissions. Now, we have to realize that we'll probably always have clothing sales. At the same time, when you need a pair of pants, you need to buy one that's eco-designed. And so, inevitably, generate a much smaller impact. This is what we see with the low-fashion brand. We have both fewer sales and products that are also less carbon-intensive. So we're talking about 8 tonnes of CO? versus the 26 we have just above.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
We have a question from Lina. To obtain carbon intensity, we need to find out how many CO? emissions we need to generate sales in each sector of activity? It's like an emission factor.

Alexis Lepage -
It's like an emission factor. And these calculations have already been made. They can be found in various carbon databases. One of the most recent is the Exiobase. This one is not public. However, if you want to try to make the calculations, you can create an account on ADEME. There's a public carbon base available, and on this public carbon base, you'll find intensities by sector. This could enable you to look at the carbon intensity of the textile sector, the service sector, the construction sector and try to compare these average intensities with the intensities of your customers. That's where it gets interesting, because you can say to yourself, "It's better to work with a company that's more committed than with others whose intensities are very high.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Do you have a link to what you have in mind?

Alexis Lepage -
Yes, I could send you that. And for those who want to watch it at the same time, it's basic. Prints. Adem. Fr. You need to create an account to access the results, but it's free and then you have access to a whole range of information. It's public information, which is unfortunately a little dated. It dates from 2014, between 2014 and 2018, so some of it should be updated in the coming years. But it's already a good first point to have orders of magnitude.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
And here, on your last presentation slide, is a summary of the impact of the plus l'ombre climatique campaign on these two different brands, Fast Fashion and Low Fashion.

Alexis Lepage -
That's right. So on this slide, what's interesting to compare is that on the Fast Fashion side, everything is in red. We have a campaign that is more carbon-intensive because less eco-design was used, and more e-mails were sent. So there's a difference of 240 kg of CO? between the two. It's already important to say this, as we did at the beginning: every kilogram of CO? counts, every tonne of CO? avoided counts. So, if you can, as a marketing director or otherwise, generate fewer emissions in the creation of your campaign, you absolutely must do so. Even if we see here with the climate shadow that the orders of magnitude are really different. Because if you compare the two, you can see that for the fast fashion brand, it's going to be 17 tons higher than for the low fashion brand. So, in the end, you have a difference of 73 between these two figures. Which just goes to show you that you also have to gradually work with brands that are very committed. And that's what's so difficult about marketing today, when you have to ask yourself "Can you promote absolutely anything and everything? And in the end, it's bound to be a bit of a joke to set up all kinds of actions on the campaign as such to promote products that are extremely carbon-intensive, and where we'll have the lion's share of the carbon footprint.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Okay. That reminds me of a guide we wrote called "What is the CRM team's role in the ecological transition?" So, we can already see that the first level is to eco-design your emails. It's not revolutionary, but it's already a small step. I'm also thinking of a podcast we published where we interviewed a teacher-researcher in responsible communicationMathieu Jahnich. He says that it's also our role as marketers to bring this type of subject to the attention of the management committee, to try and change the business model in a more structural way. We always have the impression that marketing, advertising and communications are support functions. But in fact, they can be a driving force in raising awareness of the need for a downward trajectory. And it's our role, as marketing directors, to bring these issues to the attention of the management committee. Thank you very much Alexis.

Alexis Lepage -
Thank you Marion.

Marion Duchatelet - Badsender
Thank you for explaining all this to me. Thank you to everyone who followed this live. Good day to you all.

Alexis Lepage -
Thank you very much. Have a nice day.

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