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What You Don’t Know About Digital Sustainability

The internet is rated the 4th most polluting 'country' after the USA, China, and India. (Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash)

Last updated on October 3, 2021

The topic of sustainable digitality is relatively new: many aren’t aware of its existence, or have overheard mentionings of the case and only know surface-level information. People don’t understand that internet usage generates around 3.7% of Co2 every year, equivalent to the airline industry’s yearly Co2 production. It doesn’t seem remarkable when glancing at the sole number, but comparing the two sectors that accumulate identical quantities of Co2 is frightening. Digital sustainability concentrates on continuing with day-to-day technological activities while positively impacting, rather than harming, the environment. 

As Aisley Lawrence explains in The Rebellion Research, “It is about exploring how the tools of our digital age can be designed, adapted, and directed toward addressing local and global sustainability targets.” As researched by The Digital Transformational People, ‘greening’ digital touchpoints could decrease 20% of carbon emissions by 2030 if done now. Some companies, but not many, have created more sustainable websites, resulting in a 50% decrease in Co2 emissions. Additionally, more networks are being arranged to raise awareness and share thoughts on how to battle the predicament.

But what exactly does it mean to have a carbon-neutral network? Let’s take a look at Volkswagen. With the launch of their new fully electric car ID4, Volkswagen offers the customer the option of browsing for information on a standard or carbon-neutral website to learn about the company’s mission. Not only does this help the company decrease its Co2 emissions levels, but it also provides the customer a new and exciting experience of a world that we will hopefully see more of. 

The website is very minimalistic, which is quite popular today. Only black and white colors are present throughout the website; the text is thorough and straightforward, and, if looked at closely is designed by ASCII text to create the outline of the photograph. This saves energy generated by images. The average business web page emits approximately 200.00 kg of Co2 yearly with roughly 10,000 views. On the other hand, Volkswagen generates 80.00 kg yearly with a comparable level of views. 

However, not all carbon neutral websites are similar to Volkswagen’s. It is possible to preserve a colorful and attractive website; Volkswagen naturally went for the extreme to embody the company’s new FULLY sustainable electrical vehicle. 

Since Volkswagen is one of the most successful car manufacturers in the market, it is shocking to hear that news of the project didn’t reach audiences effectively. A study revealed that over 45% of people are unaware of new sustainable implementations adopted by businesses. The lack of communication to customers reduces the conversion of potential to loyal customers. 

In the long run, it discourages ROI, generating lower yearly profits. Consumers and other companies need to be exposed to sustainable projects and be informed but. Most importantly, communication can inspire others to follow in the same footsteps, as Volkswagen prompted a considerable step for digital sustainability. 

Sustainable digitality, being a reasonably new concept, brings a tremendous competitive advantage. In a study conducted by Smart Energy, 81% of participants said they would prioritize purchasing from sustainable vendors, as 90% of people believe it’s essential for society to become more energy conscious. Secondly, in July 2021, Google stated that it would implement a new algorithm by 2023, benefitting those who partake in sustainable internet trafficking. 

Google will automatically improve visibility for those practicing solutions, placing them at the top of the organic search list (non-paid advertising). This permits businesses to reallocate advertising budgets to other departments such as sustainability. This new algorithm will measure the level of Co2 emissions generated by the website and formulate a score to signify the energy efficiency of the website compared to the benchmark. 

The idea is to drive firms to follow a sustainable model. Such implementations are also exceptional marketing tools. Most significantly they, aid the environment in maintaining its natural course of action.

To analyze a website’s carbon levels, countless tools can be used. They can calculate and consult for improvements of websites. Such programs will give detailed reports on yearly Co2 emission levels, energy wastage, and the type of energy utilized. In conclusion, the concept of digital sustainability is moderately new. Slowly but surely, it will reach the public audience and educate individuals on what to look for as a consumer and how to behave on the internet. As for businesses, they will be shown how to work efficiently without harming the environment. 

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