What kind of footprint does the media leave in its environment?

According to a study published by the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the media and media technology industries represent approximately three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The ICT sector makes up 1.3% of this figure while the media sector contributes the remaining 1.7%. The study focused on the global IT infrastructure including, for example, server rooms, networks and the terminal devices used for consuming media content. The largest climate effect of the media sector was attributed to television operations and printed media.

Tracing the carbon footprint of printed products

VTT Technical Research Centre has studied the environmental effects of printed products. VTT estimates that these effects have been reduced significantly over the past decades. Their results indicate that the end products of publishing and printing operations represent 0.54% of the daily climate impact caused by a Finnish consumer.

The carbon footprint of a typical Finnish newspaper, covering the entire lifecycle of the printed product from the forest through papermaking and printing to distribution to households, disposal and recycling, is 150–190 g CO2e (Equivalent Carbon Dioxide, describes the entire climatic impact of a product converted into carbon dioxide). The climatic load of a Finnish newspaper is thereby roughly the same as that of a one-kilometre car drive. (VTT 2009.)

Alma Media has partnered with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden to carry out a study in 2011 to determine the ecological footprint of several of Alma Media’s media products.

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