From Steve Falk, President and CEO of Prime Data:
I commissioned this study by Luke Battcock after hearing about his work calculating the GHG emissions for a town’s operations in Nova Scotia. I asked him to focus on the core work Prime Data does, which is a fairly simple letter into an envelope with a reply envelope, often used by charitable organizations to fundraise. We produce millions of these each year and I thought that many of these organizations would be curious about the outcomes of the study as well.
Our research is not the final word but an opening of the conversation, offering perspective into the various sources of greenhouse gases in the direct mail business.
We hope to inspire dialogue on this subject and enhance our collective understanding of these issues.
One year after the UN Climate Conference of 2021, we’ll be reporting back on what reductions we’ve been able to make. Stay tuned for our progress report.
Let’s create a greener future together!
Prime Data’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Footprint
It was discovered that a typical piece of mail sent by Prime Data, weighing an average of 20 grams, generates a greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of ~205 grams. This estimate includes the emissions from throughout the entire lifespan of the mail piece, including forestry, paper production, employee commute, printing, distribution, and end-of-life processing.
For comparison, 205g is the equivalent of driving about 830m in an average passenger vehicle or charging your smartphone 25 times. It takes approximately 4,880 letters to emit 1 tonne of GHG, the equivalent stored by 1.2 acres of forest in a year.
Here are some immediate actions that Prime Data is exploring to reduce their carbon footprint:
Increasing recycled paper usage strongly reduces emissions.
Promoting energy efficiency in the warehouse addresses one of the largest sources of GHG emissions at Prime Data’s facilities by reducing gas burned.
Working online has significantly reduced emissions from employee commutes, and a hybrid work model going forward can help maintain this reduction.
In addition to reduction efforts, Prime Data is exploring offset options for their operational emissions and those induced by their mailing activities.
Coming Soon – Other related articles
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- How much GHG emission does it take to raise a dollar for a charity?
A comparative approach to understanding email and printed mail GHG emissions in the context of non-profit fundraising.
- What steps can be taken to reduce the GHG emissions of direct mail?
A practical approach to assessing your choices when choosing paper, print and the use cases of direct mail.
- What could we do in a year to lower the GHG emissions of our work?
Prime Data takes on the challenge of lowering in-plant emissions and providing lower emissions options to its’ clients and assesses the impact after 12 months.
Our partners in sustainability
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Since 2015, Prime Data has been a certified printer by The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is the leading catalyst and defining force for improved forest management and market transformation, shifting the global forest trend toward sustainable use, conservation, restoration, and respect for all. Prime Data works with FSC, taking the time to understand their requirements and applying them to our practices whenever possible.
National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU)
NAMMU (Nat’l Assn. of Major Mail Users) is a collaboration between mail producers, paper companies and Canada Post to improve the effectiveness of mail as a communication channel. Our CEO, Steve Falk, is one of its directors. Learn more about them here.
Canada Post is building a sustainable future by reducing its environmental impact and contributing to energy conservation efforts aimed at benefiting consumers and the planet. As an Expert Partner, Prime Data is joining Canada Post on its mission. Learn more about their commitment to sustainability here.
The Sustainable Mail Group (SMG)
Over the past year, a group of mail industry leaders have come together to promote large scale sustainable change within the mail value chain. The Sustainable Mail Group (SMG) is their vehicle for implementing this change. Their mission is to be stewards of the environment, working within the direct mail industry to offer continuous thought leadership and sustainable solutions that meet consumer demand for responsible mail.
Prime Data CEO Steve Falk is the chair of the Communications committee of SMG.
Learn more here.
Sustainability tips for consumers
As an end-user, there are several ways to contribute to eco printing and sustainable mailing. Here are some practical tips to help lessen your impact on the environment according to Canada Post.
Recycle your mail
Recycling can significantly reduce the amount of material deposited in landfills. Many municipalities have expanded the types of items being accepted for recycling, including windowed envelopes, magazines, glossy flyer paper and catalogues. Confidential documents can be shredded then recycled.
Include a return address
Get the mail you send out returned to you if the receiving address is incorrect and avoid having to create and send a new copy.
Address change when you move
Use Mail Forwarding when you move or temporarily relocate to a new address. Rest assured that you’re not missing infrequent mailings such as tax slips, licenses or health card renewals and avoid unnecessarily printing duplicate mail.