An estimated worldwide total of 62 trillion spam emails were sent in 2008. Globally, annual spam energy use totals 33 billion kilo-watt-hours (KWh), or 33terawatt hours (TWh). That's equivalent to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes in the United States, with the same GHG emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using two billion United States gallons of gasoline.
(In case you were interested, an average spam message is associated with 0.3 grams of CO2, while a “legitimate email” is associated with almost 4 grams of CO2.)
So what’s the lesson for employees? Don’t spam.
While those chain emails might spread inspiration or a dose of humor (“how many sustainability consultants does it take to change a lightbulb?”), they have a negative impact on the environment. And many (if not most) of your co-workers hate them. So save your amusing anecdotes for the water cooler. Or better yet, the eco-friendly kitchen-faucet.