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POLL: Eco-Sigs: Signature Files Going Green?

Are eco-signature files proper -- or even effective?

Have you received an email with a pro-environment statement in the email’s signature file? One of my site visitors emailed about this trend, stating:

I’m getting more and more emails where at the bottom I’m shamed into not printing the email to save trees. I don’t appreciate preachy greenies telling me what to do. What’s the best way to respond?
BEE Site Visitor

No response is necessary. Just ignore it.

He went on to ask if it is proper to add such comments or possibly bad email etiquette to include “greenie sigs” in business emails. Finally, he inquired how I felt about company-wide signature file statements “going green.”

Company Branding & Cultures

Heck, you have to be living under a rock to not know about “green” nowadays, right? And it is not uncommon for brands to signal their position on this as well as other topics. Of course, that’s their choice to make.

Signature files do not impact what I do or don’t do. So, for example, on the rare occasion where I need to print an email, that signature file will not prevent me from doing so.

Just as with anything that has to do with business email, what you add to your signature file is a statement that may or may not resonate with readers. And reflect on your brand.

Business Emails = Branding

The same can be said about adding political or religious statements or commentary. But, again, you risk that those you email may disagree with you.

As everyone jumps on these bandwagons, many purely for appearances, be careful before you join in. While you may think you appear “with it” and responsible, your customers like the gentleman who emailed me, and contacts may not appreciate being lectured.

Are you confident that most of those you email will agree with your position or comments directed at them on how they need to think? Miscalculate that, and your business could suffer.

Eco-sig examples:

  • “Please consider the environment before printing this email”
  • “Please think & act ‘sustainable’ — print only if required.”
  • “How many trees must be lost so you can print your email? Print responsibly.”

That last one is a bit condescending, isn’t it?

Is lecturing contacts and customers wise?

The above statements make the sender feel all warm and fuzzy, as though they are actually making a difference in the world by simply adding a sentence to their signature file. Unless you are an energy company or in some way related to serious green efforts, know the only difference you may make is may not be a positive one.

Another take to consider, as one reader emailed,

… to assume that I do not observe eco-friendly practices in my office is just ignorant. Who isn’t at least partially green nowadays?

BEE Site Visitor

Since every inquirer asked how I feel, I don’t give those sigs much thought. I view them for what they are — virtue signaling.

But to dig deeper, I don’t appreciate being lectured to as though I need to be told how to do things correctly by someone who doesn’t know what I do or don’t do on any given topic. If I need to print, I will.

For me, it is more about them than me. And, this applies to any issue that has nothing to do with the business at hand that is evangelized in a business email signature file.

To Print or Not To Print

I don’t print emails. But if I feel the need to, that statement isn’t going to stop me.

What do you think about eco-sigs in business emails? Have you been on the receiving end of an eco-sig? Let me know what you think below.

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