These messages are usually added to the bottom of emails as part of the email signature. They are intended to encourage the recipients to conserve paper and avoid printing out the emails or documents. However, these messages may have some negative effects, such as:
- They are ineffective and unnecessary. Most people do not print emails or documents unless they have a good reason to do so. Therefore, these messages are unlikely to change their behaviour or reduce their paper consumption. Moreover, these messages may be redundant, as many email clients and printers already have settings or features that allow users to save paper or ink.
- They are annoying and patronising. Many people find these messages irritating or condescending, as they imply that the recipients are not aware of or concerned about the environmental impact of printing. They may also feel that the senders are trying to impose their values or opinions on them, or that they are being lectured or guilt-tripped.
- They are counterproductive and hypocritical. These messages may actually increase the environmental impact of emails, as they add extra text and bytes to the email content. This means that more energy and resources are required to send, store, and display the emails. Furthermore, these messages may contradict the actions or policies of the senders, who may not be following environmentally friendly practices themselves.
Therefore, “please consider the environment messages” in emails are bad because they do not achieve their intended purpose, but rather annoy the recipients and harm the environment. A better way to promote environmental awareness and responsibility is to lead by example and adopt sustainable practices in your personal and professional life.
email signature legal disclaimers are bad for the environment for several reasons, such as:
- They increase the carbon footprint of emails. Email signature legal disclaimers add extra text and bytes to the email content. This means that more energy and resources are required to send, store, and display the emails. According to a study by McAfee1, an average email has a carbon footprint of 4 grams of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), but this can increase by up to 50% if it has a long and complex signature. The study estimates that the global annual footprint of spam emails is equivalent to 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gasoline1.
- They encourage paper consumption and waste. Email signature legal disclaimers may have the opposite effect of what they intend to achieve. Some disclaimers include messages that ask the recipients to consider the environment before printing the emails or documents. However, these messages may actually increase paper consumption and waste, as they may trigger a psychological phenomenon called reactance2. Reactance is a negative emotional response to perceived threats to one’s freedom or autonomy. When people see these messages, they may feel that their freedom to print is being challenged or restricted, and they may react by printing more than they would otherwise2. Moreover, these messages may also increase paper waste, as they add extra pages to the printed documents.
- They create a false sense of environmental responsibility. Email signature legal disclaimers may create a false sense of environmental responsibility among the senders and recipients. They may make them feel that they are doing something good for the environment by adding or reading these disclaimers, while ignoring other more effective and meaningful actions that they could take. For example, they may not consider reducing their email frequency or volume, using renewable energy sources, recycling paper and ink cartridges, or supporting environmental causes or organisations.
Therefore, email signature legal disclaimers are bad for the environment because they do not reduce their environmental impact, but rather increase it. They may also have negative psychological and behavioural effects on the senders and recipients. A better way to promote environmental awareness and responsibility is to lead by example and adopt sustainable practices in your personal and professional life.
Power consumption hurts the environment. Extra text in every email is being stored on servers around the world. By making your email signature longer than it needs to be, you are in fact doing harm to the environment. As we can see in this article in 2014 by Jeff Bennion: ‘Please Consider the Environment Before Printing’ Email Signatures Are Hurting the Environment
A disclaimer creates a .3 kb file size difference. Now, if every business email had that at the bottom, that would be 27,000,000,000 kb a day of data, or 27,000 gb of useless data being added every day to internet storage servers.