Send e-cards to save paper, business told

Businesses are being urged to send their season's greetings electronically in an effort to cut down on waste and energy consumption.

One of the designs of the Envirowise greeting cards

One of the designs of the Envirowise greeting cards

Government-supported business advice service Envirowise says that if the environmental arguments are not enough, companies should consider the financial cost and uncertainty over delivery times as incentives.

The organisation has also set up a free e-card service on its website, allowing businesses to choose from a range of designs from the traditional to the eco-themed, and 'post' them to up to 200 business contacts.

The Envirowise online e-Christmas card campaign is now in its third year - last year subscribers sent more than 54,800 e-cards, saving over a tonne of paper, not to mention the environmental costs of production and delivery.

The goal this year is for even more savings - for the environment as much as for business.

"If each of the 4.3 million private sector enterprises in the UK sends just one Christmas card to clients or customers this year, that represents expenditure of over £1 million on stamps alone," said programme director Dr Martin Gibson.

"What's more difficult to put a price on are the savings that will be made before and after - in the actual production of the card and what at the end of its life in January.

"Recycling is obviously a recognisable component of our environmentally aware culture, but why not cut out the middle man? By not sending printed cards, we won't have to deal with the consequences."

Christmas cards present a conflict of etiquette for businesses - while appearing to do the right thing environmentally is of growing import, it is also felt by many to be vital to acknowledge productive partners at this time of year.

John Holbrow, Environment chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses comments: "It is obviously important for companies to acknowledge their customers and suppliers at this time of year.

"But what we also need to acknowledge is the cost to business and the environment. With ever increasing costs for businesses, they should look to make savings where they can.

"Why not do both, sustaining profits and the environment. The Envirowise eChristmas card campaign is a good place to start for a sustainable Christmas."

Businesses can register online to use the free e-Christmas cards at

Sam Bond



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