How to Go Greener Online: A Guest Blog
This week, we’re delighted to feature a guest blog from Footprint Digital, a team of digital experts who offer technical expertise and carbon footprint audits for businesses looking to grow.
When we talk about being more sustainable, we often mean being sustainable in a physical sense, such as taking public transport, recycling, and buying locally grown in-season produce.
Although all of these actions help to keep our carbon footprint down, one thing that few of us think about is how our online presence also has a carbon footprint. When we wrote our Digital Marketing book in 2020, the internet was responsible for a similar level of global greenhouse gas emissions as the aviation industry, with both sectors being accountable for around 2% each. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically affected this figure, however, doubling the internet’s global greenhouse gas emissions to 4%.
The problem with the internet is that all of the information we exchange online requires electricity to physically travel between data centres, networking infrastructure, and end-user devices, all of which require a huge amount of energy to run. All of our digital actions, therefore, contribute to the internet’s overall carbon footprint, and our webpage views, Instagram likes, tweets and video streams soon add up. So, it’s everybody’s responsibility to try and make a difference online, as well as offline.
What can I do to be greener online?
Choose quality over quantity
By optimising your website for search engine rankings (SEO), improving site navigation and accessibility (UX), and creating good quality content, you are helping people find what they want quickly without having to spend hours searching for information. This means they’ll spend less time browsing the web and consume less energy overall.
Look into green hosting
If you have a website, make it more sustainable by switching to a green hosting provider that uses renewable energy. If you’re unsure of where to find one, visit The Green Web Foundation, which offers the largest Green Hosting Directory available online.
Understand the carbon footprint of your website
If you are a business with a website, you will have an online carbon footprint that you can take control of. Knowing the carbon footprint of your website is the first step towards understanding how you can reduce it. As a rule of thumb, however, the bigger the site, the more emissions it generates. Reducing the size of your site to a minimum will not only reduce its carbon footprint, but will also increase its page speed. If you want help to understand your website’s carbon footprint, take a look at our Digital Carbon Footprint Audit.
Make more conscious decisions when browsing
We’ve all heard of doomscrolling. How much time are you actually spending liking posts on social media or scrolling through endless TikTok videos? Social media is fine in moderation, but if you’re spending too much time on these sites it could be impacting your online carbon footprint as well as your mental health. Being more mindful of how long you spend online (on social media, apps, and traditional websites) has a huge range of benefits, and not just to the planet!
Ultimately, making the internet greener requires a collective effort. We all need to think about our own efforts to be digitally sustainable, and businesses need to ensure that this is built into their CSR efforts as well as their marketing and IT strategies. If you want to find out more about digital sustainability, please feel free to contact us at Footprint Digital.