I’ve been thinking lots in the last 6 months about how we make a better impact on the world, and focus on our agency purpose. I want to move us to a position where we make an impact on the lives of the people we work with, with a light touch on the plant.
With this in mind I’ve been researching into the sustainability of the work that we do as a digital agency - I’m genuinely surprised by the negative impact of the work that we do.
15 years ago when I was a Project Manager at British Airways it was clear to see that the industry I was part of was having a substantial impact on the environment. Sat overlooking the runway at Heathrow, it wasn’t hard to see aircraft belching out tonnes of CO2.
Fast forward to today, and my expectation was that working in a digital world, that the environmental impact of my current industry was negligible. How wrong I was.
The Internet generates CO2 at an alarming rate, 1.7m tonnes per year to be exact. That’s 414kg of CO2 per user per year, or roughly a return flight from London to Madrid every year. That’s more than the entire CO2 emissions per year of the average person in the 15 least polluting countries per year.
But we can do something about it.
Marketing managers are often in the driving seat in buying decisions for digital projects, and you can make sustainable decisions. Require your agency to consider sustainable web development, by reducing data used by webpages, remove bloated frameworks, carefully use hosting technologies like CDNs to push content closer to physical location of your visitors, and spend more money on renewable hosting.
There’s lots more strategies for improving the sustainability of your website just a search away.
Please don’t think I’m suggesting that Carbon Six is perfect in this regard. Quite the contrary, I need to consider all these same points with our website. But the important thing is that I now know what we need to do, and can put plans in place to improve.
Over the coming months though, as we educate ourselves on this most important of subjects, we’ll aim to share some primers, and check sheets for marketers to help put you in control of the sustainability of your next major digital decision.