How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact with Digital Publishing

By Stuart CookeAugust 2, 2022Tips

Person scanning content on a tablet. Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.

Digital publishing has become a hugely popular way to share and consume content over the last decade. As with so many aspects of our daily lives, how we consume news, stories, entertainment, and advertising has gradually moved over to the online space, with most of us now consuming content almost exclusively online or through our devices.

This has had a number of benefits for consumers, publishers, writers, and businesses as a whole, with one of the biggest being the reduction of paper waste and lowering our carbon footprint. 

As we know, environmental impact is a very hot topic, with many people all over the world becoming increasingly concerned about the damage we as humans have done to our planet. This has led many businesses to look for ways in which they can be greener and reduce their carbon footprint. 

So, if you’re in the business of publishing any paper materials, be that newspapers, entertainment, educational leaflets, onboarding documents, or trade magazines, you might be wondering how you can make a difference. 

The digital revolution holds the key to saving our planet (though it is not without its faults), and we want to teach you how you can reduce your environmental impact with digital publishing on Issuu.  

Facts about Paper Waste and Traditional Publishing 

In order to understand the sheer scale of paper usage and waste, we’re going to look at the facts. The numbers show exactly why so many businesses are pledging to go paperless and why so many media outlets are turning to digital publishing to save the planet. Did you know:

Of course, these statistics are just scratching the surface, yet even these figures alone are enough to show that more needs to be done to reduce paper waste.

Going Paperless

To address the enormous global production of paper, the most logical step is to lessen printing on paper as much as possible. Electronic newspapers and magazines, for example, are a flexible and low-cost way that publications can share information with their readers — and with Issuu, digital publications have the same satisfying feeling of flipping a physically printed page. 

But it’s not just about traditional publications like this. It is also essential that businesses cut down on leaflets, brochures, advertising materials, and any other printed materials that could otherwise be created and distributed digitally. 

So, in the case of many businesses, this means relying more on online advertising, moving towards targeted social media campaigns or Google Ads, and relying less on traditional, printed forms. 

This will also mean sharing information with customers or readers via the internet using tools like blogs, websites, e-books, emails, and even SMS. By doing this, you will already see a drastic reduction in paper usage, but more than this, you might also see an uptake in readership and those engaging with your content. 

With Issuu’s statistics feature, a digital publication will allow you to easily track and analyze your content and readership. On top of being paper-free, you’ll be able to see who is engaging with your business and for how long, which lends helpful insights to make your content even better next time. 

Being careful with marketing materials 

There may be times when digital publication just doesn’t work - and that’s OK! As long as it’s a minority of the time. For example, if you are attending an industry event, we’d recommend scannable QR codes that take your audience straight to your digital publication, but maybe you’re in a rush, and it’s easier to settle with handing out a printed version. 

In these instances, it’s best to be careful with what you’re printing. Before submitting your order, ask yourself: 

  • Do we really need to print this?

  • Could it be made smaller?

  • Could we send fewer materials and simply point them in the direction of a much more detailed website, brochure, or online publication?

Once you’ve decided what you do and don’t need to print, you should consider other important factors, like shipping any leaflets or magazines together in one container to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible.

Also, be sure that any materials used absolutely can be recycled! And even add a little note to your publications or materials encouraging readers to recycle them once they have finished with them. However, If you want your materials to live forever and not be read once and then recycled, offering a digital version is your best bet.

So Digital Publishing is Good for the Planet, Right? 

Well, strictly speaking, digital publishing does still come with some environmental issues, though it is far better than the alternative of destroying the forests. The biggest challenge is the carbon footprint from charging devices and online activity, which currently accounts for 3.7% of global emissions and is predicted to double by 2025. 

But don’t worry; there are ways you can continue to reduce your footprint that comes with publishing digitally. We’ll now discuss these below. 

Craft Careful and Concise Emails 

Every email you send will have a carbon cost, so by sending emails less frequently and making them more concise; you can reduce your environmental impact. It might seem crazy, and it might only seem like you’re making the tiniest little dent, but every little change adds up to something much bigger! 

So, don’t spam your readers every day; make sure every email you send is carefully thought out and has a real purpose. 

Be Smart about Your Content 

Finally, as we’ve touched upon, an increase in screen time and the need to continually charge devices is having an impact on the planet. Therefore, even when publishing content digitally, it’s a good idea to always be conscious about how you can make this as environmentally friendly as possible. 

One way to do this is by reducing the time needed to read and engage with your publications and content. 

Bitesize news alerts will not only help save the planet, but today’s busy readers might actually prefer them. After all, we spend hours each day consuming online content, so you want short, sharp messages that are going to get through. 

This applies to anything you choose to publish online rather than on paper. So it’s best to avoid any fluff or filler content and always get straight to the point. 

Whether you’re going digital to be a friend to the environment or because you want to reap all the benefits it will bring your business, digital publishing is the answer for you. And, it’s never been easier.

Reduce your carbon footprint and paper waste by signing up for Issuu’s digital publishing platform today.