How to reduce your digital carbon footprint and boost business growth

 

 

By Ruth Smith, Founder, Sustainable Results Lab

 

Did you know that if the internet was a country, it would be the seventh-largest polluter in the world? 

What is a digital carbon footprint?

 

Digital carbon footprints refer to the carbon released from making and using information and communications technology. Everything you do online relies on a vast, global and power-hungry infrastructure. From data servers and content distribution networks to your internet router and connected  devices – every part of the internet consumes energy to transfer data. 

 

And unfortunately, most of this energy doesn’t come from renewable electricity sources. 

 

Globally, fossil fuels still power 80% of the energy consumption. Depending on what you include, estimates for the global emissions made by digital technology vary from 1.4% to 5.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, research by The Royal Society found. Even among sustainable businesses, digital pollution and its impact on growth strategies is little understood. 

 

How to reduce it

 

But there are lots of easy-to-implement changes that reduce the environmental harm of your digital activity. What’s more, making these changes is good for your business. These changes improve the 

customer experience, enhance accessibility, and support sustainable revenue growth. Reducing digital pollution is a win-win approach that works for people, planet and profit. 

 

The first step is to check how your website impacts the planet 

There are lots of free tools available, including this one by Cambridge Cleantech member Greenpixie 

 

One of the best ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint is to switch to a green hosting provider. This could immediately reduce your CO2 emissions by around 9% a year. 

 You can use this free tool from the Green Web Foundation to find a more sustainable option. 

 

Images are a significant contributor to carbon emissions on most websites. Smaller images mean a lower carbon footprint. Reducing image size also makes your website faster because there is less data to load. This in turn improves the user experience. 

 

There are lots of other easy-to-implement changes you can make. To find out more, download this free guide by Oxfordshire Greentech member Sustainable Results Lab 

 

Sustainable Results Lab is a marketing and communications agency that supports environmental businesses to grow sustainably.