At the SaaSCon, I ended up sharing a coffee with a woman who worked in PR (alas - lost her business card). During the conversation, she mentioned that she was trying to find "Green" PR slants for the software companies she represents, i.e., pledging to go carbon neutral much like salesforce.com did, or emphasizing an environment-friendly aspect to the business.
I found this interesting because just the other day I received a nice email from Joe Steuter of JonesPR. In his email, he brought to my attention some stats LiveOffice has published on the environmental benefits of keeping electronic archives instead of making paper copies, and also a video LiveOffice posted on YouTube. I don't know for sure, but I'm going to take a wild guess that Joe is doing PR for LiveOffice.
It is getting pretty clear that the Green PR route is going to be a common occurrence. It will be interesting to see how this route plays out. Will there be more people leveraging a positive externality the company inherently has which helps the environment (as is the case for LiveOffice - I bet their growth driver is less concern for the environment and more concern for compliance) or is there going to be more examples of companies going out of their way to help the environment (Walmart or Salesforce)? [Of course, with the latter example you might argue that the intention is just to benefit from the good PR... but let's not be that cynical. ;) And even if it is true, the means justify the end in that case, I think.]
On the other hand, there is a real disconnect between just having the former without the latter. I don't think companies should espouse the environmental benefits of their products without walking the walk. Do you?
Here are LiveOffice's stats and video:
View (and link to) the LiveOffice Earth Day video:
Here are some stats you might find interesting:
- The Radicati Group (www.radicati.com) estimates that approximately 541 million workers worldwide rely on email communications to conduct business, and each worker sends and receives, on average, 133 messages per day.
- According to calculations by LiveOffice, if each of these 541 million workers prints and stores as few as 5 emails per day – it would consume more than 6,000 trees a day. That adds up to more than 2 million trees every year.
- According to LiveOffice, some companies use 20-foot shipping containers to store hard copy documents; each of these containers can hold 3.5 million printed emails stored in cardboard boxes. But that means more than 300 trees were used in printing all those emails.
- According to the National Academy of Science, every year 20 million hectares of rainforest — an area the size of the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey combined — are cut down, releasing millions of tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. At this rate, most of the world’s tropical forests will be lost by this century’s end, as will important species, natural resources, local livelihoods and the opportunity to slow climate change.
- The good news is that tree conservation, through methods such as digital email archiving, can have a significant and positive impact on the environment as a whole. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion.”