search-small user-small hamburger-menu close scroll-down star2 blog linkedin facebook twitter instagram plus Icon/lost-search/ic_lost-search_24

‘Think Before You Thank’: If every Brit sent one less thank you email a day, we would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year - the same as 81,152 flights to Madrid

  • Over 64 millionunnecessary emails sent by Brits every single day
  • Unactionable one or two word pleasantries such as ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ top the list of the most regularly sent unnecessary emails
  • Each UK adult sending one less ‘thank you’ email a day, would save over 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year - the same as 81,1522 flights to Madrid or taking 3,3343 diesel cars off the road
  • OVO Energy is calling upon the UK to ‘Think Before You Thank’ - sending fewer emails won’t solve the climate crisis, but it does prove the point that by cutting down on junk we can all improve our lives as we reduce carbon

26 NOVEMBER 2019 – Research released today reveals the UK could reduce its carbon output by over 16,433 tonnes, simply by each adult sending one less ‘thank you’ email a day.

The research commissioned by OVO Energy, the UK’s leading independent energy provider, highlights that almost three quarters of the UK (72%) are completely unaware of the carbon footprint attached to their inbox. With over 64 million unnecessary emails sent every day, this lack of knowledge is resulting in excessive unnecessary emailing from Brits, and contributing 23,475 tonnes of carbon a year4 to the UK’s footprint. 

Whilst emails are an integral form of communication in today’s modern world, it would appear they’re not always worth the resulting carbon emissions. 49% of Brits confess to sending unnecessary emails to a colleague or friend within talking distance every single day, contributing to the UK population’s carbon footprint. 

Unactionable one or two word pleasantries such as ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ top the list of the most regularly sent unnecessary emails.

Top 10 most 'unnecessary' emails sent:
1. Thank you 6. Have a good evening
2. Thanks 7. Did you get/see this?
3. Have a good weekend 8. Cheers
4. Received 9. You too
5. Appreciated

10. LOL

 

With this revelation in mind, OVO Energy is calling upon the UK to ‘Think Before You Thank’, having identified that each UK adult sending just 1 less email a day would reduce our carbon output by over 16,433 tonnes a year5 - the equivalent of 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.

Despite stereotypical British politeness being the cause of many a ‘thank you’ email, the new research also uncovered that 71% of Brits wouldn’t mind not receiving a ‘thank you’ email if they knew it was for the benefit of the environment and helping to combat the climate crisis. Better yet, 87% of the UK would be happy to reduce their email traffic to help support the same cause.

Mike Berners-Lee, researcher and author of ‘How Bad are Bananas’ and “There is no Planet B”, comments: “Whilst the carbon footprint of an email isn’t huge, it’s a great illustration of the broader principle that cutting the waste out of our lives is good for our wellbeing and good for the environment. Every time we take a small step towards changing our behaviour, be that sending fewer emails or carrying a reusable coffee cup, we need to treat it as a reminder to ourselves and others that we care even more about the really big carbon decisions.”

Katie Russell, OVO Head of Data and Analytics, adds: 
“At OVO Energy we believe we can fight the climate crisis together, making everyday changes that cut carbon - whilst making life better. We want to show people how every action has a carbon impact, even a simple email. We need to change our behaviour at every level, and help people make a start with the easy first steps.” 

To help combat the issue, OVO Energy has created the world’s first carbon reducing Chrome Extension - Carbon Capper. When downloaded, the extension identifies when the user has hit send on a potentially unnecessary email, sending a prompt to ensure more thoughtful email traffic. The Extension tracks word count, flagging emails under four words, and allows users to keep a close eye on their individual email carbon footprint. 

The extension will be available to download from the Chrome Web Store (here) after 26th November - just search ‘Carbon Capper’. 

Ends
For more information:
E: media@ovoenergy.com 


Notes to Editors:
 
About OVO Energy
Founded in 2009, OVO Energy is the leading independent energy retail company in the UK and OVO Group’s flagship energy brand, offering an unparalleled scope of digital energy services, solutions and technologies to its pay-monthly customers. OVO Energy redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. Today OVO Energy and its Retail partners serve 1.5m customers, all striving to deliver more abundant clean energy for everyone.

About Mike Berners Lee
Mike Berners-Lee is a professor at Lancaster University, where his main research areas are carbon metrics and sustainable food systems. His books include ‘There is No Planet B’ and  ‘How Bad are Bananas - The Carbon Footprint of Everything’ . He is the founding director of Small World Consulting a sustainability consultancy focussed on supply chain carbon.

About the research
Research conducted by expert survey consultants, Censuswide. Using a sample of 3,000 nationally representative British adults (16+), the research was conducted between 14.11.19 - 17.11.19.
 
Censuswide complies with the MRS Code of Conduct (2010), which is based upon the ESOMAR principles (for more information visit www.esomar.org) 

Additional workings

‘Over 64 million unnecessary emails sent by Brits every single day’

  • UK population of 52,351,213 adults (18 and over. Source: ONS)
  • 87% of adults use the internet daily and 86% of all adults use email (Source: ONS)
  • 86% of 52,351,213 = 45,022,043
  • According to Censuswide research, Brits send an average of 11.29 unnecessary, unactionable emails in an average week. Rounding this to 10, we can calculate the following:
  • 10 emails each per week x 45,022,043 email-using population = 450,220,430 unnecessary emails sent by Brits every week
  • Divided by 7 = 64,317,204 unnecessary emails sent by Brits every day

‘81,152 flights to Madrid’

  • Distance to madrid one way = 1,250km (Webflyer.com - Heathrow to Madrid)
  • Carbon per km average short haul flight = 0.162kg CO2e/km (BEIS emissions factors for average short haul flights - aircraft emissions + high altitude factors only)
  • 0.162kg CO2e/km x 1,250km = 202.5kg CO2e per one way flight to Madrid
  • = 0.2025 tonnes CO2e per one way flight to Madrid
  •  (0.2025 tonnes CO2e / 16,433.23) x 1000 = 81,151.90
  • Number of one way average class passenger flights to Madrid saved = 81,152

‘3,334 diesel cars off the road’ 

  • Estimated annual mileage per diesel car in England in 2018 = 9,400 miles. (Source: National Travel Survey NTS0901)
  • Carbon per mile for average diesel car (exhaust pipe + fuel supply chains + embodied carbon in the car) = 0.5243kg CO2e/mile
  • 9,400 miles x 0.5243kg CO2e/mile = 4928.42kg CO2e carbon per car per year
  • Carbon per car per year = 4928.42kg CO2e
  • Carbon per car per year = 4.92842 tonnes CO2e
  • Carbon saved per year by population each reducing email traffic by 1 emails per day = 16,433 tonnes
  • 16,433 tonnes / 4.92842 tonnes CO2e = 3,334.33
  • Diesel cars off the road per year = 3,334

4 ‘64 million unnecessary emails sent every day is contributing 23,475 tonnes of carbon a year’

  • 64,317,204 unnecessary emails sent by Brits every day
  • x1 email = 1g carbon = 0.000001 tonnes CO2e per email (Source: Mike Berners-Lee)
  • 64,317,204 x 0.000001 = 64.317 tonnes CO2e per day
  • 64.317 x 365 = 23,475.779
  • = 23,476 tonnes CO2e per year

5 ‘Brits sending 1 less email a day would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year’

  • x1 email = 1g carbon = 0.000001 tonnes CO2e per email (Source: Mike Berners-Lee)
  • 365 days per year / 12 months = 30.417 emails per mon
  • 0.000001 tonnes of CO2e x 30.417 emails per month x 12 months per year = 0.000365004 tonnes CO2e saved per person, per year 
  • UK population of 52,351,213 adults (18 and over. Source: ONS)
  • 87% of adults use the internet daily and 86% of all adults use email (Source: ONS)
  • 86% of 52,351,213 = 45,022,043
  • 45,022,043 adults x 0.000365004 tonnes of carbon saved per person per year = 16,433 tonnes of carbon saved per year by total UK population
Like most websites OVO Energy uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this site. Accept and Close