Right now, many businesses are working hard to develop environmental initiatives that will offset their carbon footprint and other environmental impacts. Many of these businesses are more inclined to make visible changes like working with socially responsible suppliers, investing in solar panels, donating to environmental charities, and encouraging employees to reduce plastic use. However, there is one important factor that is often overlooked – their digital carbon footprint.
According to World Economic Forum, digital technologies contribute around 1.4 percent to 5.9 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. To put this into digital usage context, in the digital world every 60 seconds; 200 million emails are exchanged, 4.5 million YouTube videos are watched, 3.8 million Google searches are performed, and $996,956 is spent online, all of which contribute to increased global energy consumption and as a result, higher carbon emissions, and a greater digital carbon footprint.
It’s time for businesses to seek low-carbon and smarter digital solutions to achieve their sustainability goals. Here are four simple and cost-effective strategies for businesses to reduce their digital carbon footprint.
Sending fewer emails and deleting old ones: Every year, the average individual adds 136kg of CO2 to their carbon footprint, simply by sending and receiving emails. Each email you send emits around 4g of carbon emissions, which is approximately the weight of a paperclip. Encourage your employees to adopt a habit of decluttering their email inboxes at the end of every week. Unsubscribing from unwanted emails, emptying their spam folder, or deleting emails with large attachments can help reduce your electric energy consumption and lower carbon impact.
Cloud space clean-up: Many businesses have switched to cloud data storage for storing information, reducing carbon footprint, and minimising e-waste. According to World Economic Forum, by 2025, 50 percent (One-hundred zettabytes) of the world’s data will be stored in the cloud. If you want to lower your digital carbon footprint, as a business you must reduce the amount of information stored online. To do this, begin by going through whatever cloud service your business uses and start deleting files that are no longer needed. Allow your team to clean out any shared folders that contain unwanted or outdated files. Store data locally on their device or transfer files they don’t use regularly to an external hard drive.
Switch to green website hosting: Did you know, that the average energy consumption of a web page is approximately 1.76G. According to Data Center Knowledge, the global amount of CO2 emitted by web hosts is similar to the aviation industry’s emissions. Green web hosting is becoming increasingly popular as a means to boost your business brand by demonstrating your dedication to sustainability. Choose a green web host that utilises renewable energy, or assess its carbon footprint to ensure that any carbon emitted by its data centre are offset. A sustainably designed website is not just better for the environment and your business; it’s also more user-friendly, faster to load, and provides a more accessible experience for users.
Optimise your website: Making your website more accessible and inclusive for all is also an important aspect of sustainability. That’s why it’s critical to evaluate your website’s accessibility. If you can’t invest in a green hosting website, try to adopt tools and tactics that help to improve your website’s performance, such as increasing traffic, generating conversions, optimising page speed, and views. Examples: adding alt text to photos, using a contrast checker to select easy-to-read colours, deleting content with low visits and high bounce rate, having a clear hierarchy of headers, and making links or buttons straightforward, so that users understand where the link will lead them.
Today, consumers are significantly more environmentally conscious than ever before, and they support brands and businesses that prioritise sustainability and smart solutions. Implementing the above steps will put you on the path to a greener, more sustainable business in the future.