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Which Countries Have the Greatest Carbon Footprint?

Which countries have the greatest carbon footprint? As of research conducted by Pitney Bowes, collecting the latest data from around the globe, the country with the greatest carbon footprint per capita — no surprise — is the United States, with 20.1 tons of CO2 per capita. But numbers two, three, and four may surprise you.

Per capita, they are . . .

  • Canada (18.4 tons)
  • Belgium (14.3 tons)
  • Finland (11.8 tons)

If you look at CO2 emissions by ratio to GDP, however, the numbers look quite different. Here’s how they stack up:

  • Bulgaria (3.35 kg CO2/$ GDP)
  • Russia (2.85 kg CO2/$ GDP)
  • China (2.4 kg CO2/$ GDP)
  • Canada (.59 kg CO2/$ GDP)

I guess it’s all in how you look at it. But one thing I take away from this list is that because the United States is number one in CO2 emissions per capita, that means that if each person were to make small, incremental changes, we can make a significant change in our global position on this issue.

For manufacturers and marketers, the call is even greater, because they are responsible for larger volumes of CO2-producing products. Any incremental changes in their design specs, their production processes, their corporate policies, is magnified across the volume of their production.

So make a small change. Maybe this time next year the United States will be number two or three on the list . . . instead of first. You could have a hand in it!

Like this post? See all my “Greening Print Marketing” posts.

Image courtesy of Pitney Bowes “The Environmental Impact of Direct Mail

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.

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  1. It is time that the United States, which ranks number one on the list, make the greatest effort to reduce its carbon footprint. It is in no way a valid position to say, “we won’t unless everyone else does” – it’s time for us to be a leader in this area and demonstrate to the rest of the world that the planet’s most powerful nation is also the most conscious!

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