Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Everything's Gone Green

There's nothing inherently wrong with green marketing - if your product or service helps the environment, why not talk about it.

Some things are a stretch, though, like this email I received from my fax-to-email provider:

Smartfax promotes a no-paper communications network. By lessening the use of paper in all offices, Smartfax helps in the preservation of one of the world’s most used resources – trees. Around 210 billion sheets of fax paper a year are used by companies in the USA alone. That makes our environment 17 million trees poorer each year.*

Aside from helping in the preservation of our trees, energy conservation is also an objective worth attaining. By sending/receiving faxes directly from your computer, Smartfax not only removes the paper requirement, but also saves electricity by leaving out the use of fax machines. Fax machines require constant power as they have to be powered-on all the time while waiting for fax transmissions.

We would like to send our gratitude to everybody who supports Smartfax. Just by choosing and using Smartfax as a paperless fax solution, you are contributing to the preservation of our natural resources.


And then there's information on a customer referral program.

Now, it's true that it's a good thing when faxes don't get printed on paper which is then often thrown out. I try to minimize the paper in my life - though that's more because I'd rather not have physical stuff floating around.

But as I read the email, I thought, "I wonder what a thorough analysis that takes into account the energy used by their server farm, the plastic and metal and toxic stuff from those machines that will end up in landfills, and so on would actually show."

Don't get me wrong; I think that fax-to-email is a great thing, making an antiquated service (fax) more useful in a digital age. But green benefits? I am skeptical.

I'm also really curious how many people actually choose to use fax-to-email to save the earth, rather than for the many other benefits it offers.

1 comment:

Cam Beck said...

"I'm also really curious how many people actually choose to use fax-to-email to save the earth, rather than for the many other benefits it offers."

Tying self-interest to going green is a positive (and perhaps necessary) step to increase adoption. I would love it if the incentives created by going green was indistinguishable from the economic benefits of doing so.

However, your point is a wise one. We just don't know what the comparative ecological impact of this service is.