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Reducing carbon impact of direct mail & print – from idea to reality

Chris Bottomley, MD of Gecko, a leading UK direct mail digital print company, had a lightbulb moment while chatting to CarbonQuota about their automated carbon footprint software. Learning more about their system which brings together science, analytics, and industry expertise to provide both a carbon and offsetting calculation, gave Chris an idea. Always looking for new ways of going that extra mile for Gecko’s clients, Chris wondered whether this software could be integrated into MIS print management software to provide accurate carbon footprint information to clients. Chris explains, “I asked CarbonQuota to calculate the footprint of two jobs we had just produced for a key client in the insurance sector. The results of that were a real eyeopener and led to the idea of adding the carbon footprint calculation to our quote letters, along with optional costs for offsetting it.”

Eager to take his idea further, Chris introduced CarbonQuota to Tharstern, Gecko’s MIS print management software supplier and they began to work on integrating the two systems. Gecko now uses the system to provide clients with accurate information about the carbon footprint of each print job, “We decided to offer our clients the opportunity to not only calculate the carbon footprint of their jobs, but to give them the chance to offset it too”, Chris stated.

CarbonQuota’s experts worked with the Gecko team to make an accurate assessment of the carbon footprint of its operation. The resulting data was fed into their database and algorithms to determine how much carbon was used in each individual process. Following this initial stage, the carbon specific data was uploaded into the Tharstern MIS software used by Gecko to enable CarbonQuota to apply unique ‘carbon emissions factors’ into every stage of the print process – including distribution and end of life wastage along with paper, consumables, and production processes. CarbonQuota also provided a lifecycle carbon impact assessment for every job calculated to the highest international standards, including GHG Protocol, PAS2056/60 and ISO14064.

“Carbon accounting is becoming as mainstream as cost accounting”, said Dominic Harris, Co-founder of CarbonQuota. “With many of the world’s organisations making pledges to be Net Zero, the need for scientific measurement and detailed reporting of print is often a pre-requisite for doing business with these organisations. So, print service providers who want to be included in these supply chains will have to be able to provide details of their own carbon footprint.”

Gecko’s clients can now make informed choices based on the carbon impact of all their print, mailings, direct mail, and print personalisation according to their own environmental policies or protocol, with alternatives to reduce or offset the carbon impact. Gecko currently contributes to three different offsetting projects:

·         Tropical Mix in Panama – reforesting land and restoring the forest ecosystem

·         Pacajai REDD Project in Brazil – Protecting the Amazon’s ecosystems from destruction

·         Wind Project in Gujarat, India – a wind energy project that reduces the emission of greenhouse gases

“We’re hearing more and more about the importance of reducing our carbon impact, and at Gecko, we wanted to do the right thing and be part of the solution” Chris added.

For more information about Gecko Direct, contact