We wanted to highlight that, even in a virtual world, we all have a digital carbon footprint. Our aim was to raise awareness and encourage behaviour change in employees’ work and personal lives. In the weeks leading to Earth Day 2021, we encouraged employees to ‘cut back on carbon’ by ditching unnecessary emails. We wanted to highlight the impact of excessive/unnecessary digital platform use and messaging – at work and at home – providing our employees with the knowledge and tools to make small adjustments to their digital behaviour.
We tracked emails sent during this period and rewarded employees who reduced their email usage the most with tickets to the Eden Project.
Throughout the campaign, we shared thought-provoking facts and figures to make people rethink how they work online and offered tips and tricks around reducing their digital carbon footprint. We did this by blending a fun creative campaign with hard-hitting facts. Specifically, we used a playful visual tone, meme-like style, and attention-grabbing headlines to make the topic easier to digest and understand.
The project raised awareness and provoked internal discussion around a subject that is often seen as controversial. Our ‘Cut Back on Carbon’ panel discussion on Earth Day was open to internal and external audiences (100+ attendees) and provided pointers on reducing carbon off and online. Following the campaign, we have continued to provide weekly tips to encourage people to cut their digital carbon footprint.
Throughout the campaign, we shared posts on our internal channels and agency social media accounts to highlight surprising contributors to digital carbon (unnecessary emails with GIFS or images, video chats, and streaming), directing people to our website to explore carbon-reduction advice.
This campaign is just one part of a much larger employee sustainability engagement initiative. We have a responsibility to inspire and lead change and have many more ideas in the pipeline.
Before: Find the hook. The hook for this initiative was an article stating, 'Every email you send uses the same energy as a lightbulb left on for 24 hours.’ This ignited our creative team to research other strong stats for hooking our audience.
During: Our main challenge was how to communicate the content of our message without sending emails, which would have been counterintuitive to what we were trying to achieve. We used existing outlets, such as emails, team huddles, or Microsoft Teams to get the message across without sending too many extra emails.
Looking back: We have been unable to quantify the impact of this campaign fully. If we ran something like this again, the main focus would be measuring carbon impact to create a more compelling story.
Ultimately, we inspired change in employees’ online behaviour at work and at home while delivering thought-provoking external content through our social media channels.