How to Cut Carbon Footprint via Printing Globally?

Article • November 2, 2020 • 7 min read

Transportation accounts for the majority part of all carbon emissions — around 30% of CO2 pollution is created by the transport industry. With the worldwide rise of e-commerce

How to Cut Carbon Footprint via Printing Globally

Transportation accounts for the major part of all carbon emissions — around 30% of CO2 pollution is induced by the transport industry. With the worldwide rise of e-commerce purchases during the Covid19 pandemic, the global CO2 footprint induced by delivery has grown dramatically. Learn how to reduce your CO2 emissions by at least 95% via shifting to global printing.


What Is the Environmental Impact of Printing Across Borders?


The trend for many years has been to bundle all print volumes to a limited number of print service providers in order to benefit from the economies of scale. However, this comes with a serious price for the global environment, driving unnecessary carbon emissions.


Next to that, it doesn't fit anymore in the Amazonation of the end customers' perceptions. They want their product delivered quickly at a low shipping cost.


Let’s have a closer look at CO2 emissions caused by sourcing to a central location on a continent and shipping the printed products to other countries. If your end customer lives in Amsterdam and orders 3 books with a total weight of 2 kg from an online store that prints products in Barcelona, the package delivery will emit:

  • 0.23 kg (0.5 lbs) of CO2 if delivered by truck*
  • 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of CO2 if delivered by airplane*


The above example shows that even small print orders add up to the global carbon footprint. However, you can cut it by up to 99.5%* via printing as local as possible with Cloudprinter.

Let's imagine that instead of printing your books in Barcelona and having them delivered to Amsterdam, our smart algorithm picks for you a local print house in Utrecht (NL) and cuts the delivery distance by 35 times!

Eventually, your order will emit:

  • 0.01 kg (0.02 lbs) of CO2 when delivered by truck*

Compared to delivery from Barcelona by truck, you'll cut carbon footprint by 95.6%*.
Compared to delivery from Barcelona by airplane, you'll cut carbon footprint by 99.5%*.

*DHL CO2 emissions calculator

How to Cut Carbon Footprint via Printing Locally? 


What Is the Impact of CO2 Emissions?


We have already lost half of the Antarctic ice throughout the last 40 years due to excessive CO2 emissions. If our carbon footprint remains the same, the ice will disappear in only 25 years or even sooner in case the amount of emissions increases.


So how much Arctic ice do we melt in numbers?


  • 1 ton of emitted CO2 leads to 3 m2 (32,3 ft2) of Arctic ice melted
  • 1 ton of CO2 ultimately melts about  0,65 ton of Antarctic ice.


What does it mean in practice? Let's look at an example:

An e-commerce player ships on average 5000 packages (low estimation) a month on an average distance of 1500 km (932 mi) throughout the world. This will emit 48 tons of CO2 a month or 578 tons a year — the same amount as 173 people emit a year.


These amounts of carbon emissions will melt 1735 m2 (18,7K ft2) of Arctic ice, which equals the area of approximately 1,5 Olympic-size pools!

578 tons CO2 per year → 1735 m2 (18,7K ft2) of melted Arctic ice.


The numbers are dramatic, but there's a way you can reduce your global carbon footprint by at least 95% based on the calculations provided earlier. If we compare this to the example above, it means saving at least 1648 m2 (17.7K ft2) of Arctic ice per year via shifting from centralized to global printing.


Instead of printing your products with the help of one print service provider, and then transporting them around the world, you can now print globally with, which is the most efficient and eco-friendly way of printing.


Cloudprinter has 170+ print partners all over the world, allowing our clients to order print products as near as possible to their final delivery address.


Our way of local printing:


  1. Overcomes cultural and language barriers
  2. Eliminates potential customs issues
  3. Lowers delivery distance, time, and cost
  4. Immensely reduces carbon footprint.


Why Print Globally with helps businesses and individuals print all around the world no matter what your print order volume — be it 10 books or 1000 brochures, we'll find the most efficient way to print your order as local as possible.


Benefits of printing with Cloudprinter:


Request a demo to start printing globally and cut your carbon footprint straight away.