Sustainable Mails

Sending an email requires about as much CO2 as the production of a plastic bag. We can’t change that – but we can change our behaviour.

How to make your email inbox more sustainable 

No less than 848 billion emails were sent in Germany in 2018. Each email causes between 0.3 and 27 g of CO2 emissions. If we assume the maximum case (27 g), that corresponds to just under 23 million tonnes of CO2 that were released into the atmosphere by emails in 2018. But why are these numbers so high? Spoiler: Electricity is the culprit.
An email travels thousands of kilometres before it appears on your screen. Along the way, it passes through data centres, servers and hubs, all of which consume energy. Yet by far not all emails are important. One study estimates that unnecessary emails produce around 16,000 tonnes of CO2 every year in the UK alone.
How can you do better?

7 tips for a sustainable inbox

  1. Clean up your inbox – Your email provider gives you free storage – but every email you save uses energy. Take some time regularly to delete unimportant emails – many of which you only look at once anyway.
  2. Avoid unnecessary e-mails – Some e-mails are of the “Thank you, you too” or “Will do” type. These answers are cute, but rarely bring real added value. So before sending any email, ask yourself if it is really necessary or if you are just writing to write.
  3. Shrink attachments – Whether or not an email has an attachment has a significant impact on its carbon footprint. If you send pictures, you should compress them beforehand (e.g. from JPG to WebP) or at least put them in a compressed folder (e.g. ZIP files).
  4. Select recipients carefully – Every additional recipient in CC means higher CO2 emissions. Does an email really have to go to ten people if it is only really interesting for five? If you send a newsletter, you can regularly clean up the recipient list and remove contacts who don’t open your emails anyway.
  5. No image in the signature – Having a logo in your signature is pretty cool. It’s just not really necessary. Let’s face it: people see your logo in plenty of other places, so ban it from your signature and save a little CO2 with every future email.
  6. Check your subscriptions – You see something exciting and sign up for a newsletter which you then regularly ignore and delete unread. Sounds familiar? Find out which newsletters you really read and which you can easily unsubscribe from without missing out on anything.
  7. Use a sustainable electricity provider – Here’s some simple logic: When you send an email at home, you do it with your smartphone or computer. Which run on electricity! When you charge these devices with green electricity, you reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. That’s why we strongly recommend switching to a green electricity provider.


Keep Exploring